History of Brno
1848 - 1918
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last century was a period of important economic changes for Brno.
The successful growth of the city necessitated political changes.
In close proximity to the independent royal city of Brno, 28 independent administrative authorities had been created during the period of industrialization.
These districts were all under the control of various noble families.
The Revolution of 1848 resulted in the abolition of the anachronistic remnants of the feudal order, which had hindered further development.
As a consequence, these 28 aforementioned administrative units were attached to Brno.
The area of the city thus grew from 349.3 to 4,485.5 acres (7.01
In 1859, guilds were abolished and there was then nothing else to prevent the further growth of industry.
Manufacturing in Brno was quickly adopting the techniques of mass production.
In 1849, there were 42 factories in Brno: 24 cloth manufacturers, five spinning mills, one linen mill, one hat manufacturer, three metal works, three tanneries and three manufacturers of food products.
Their number was quickly growing.
Textiles, particularly the wool industry, were the most important.
Opportune contacts were made by representatives of the textile industry in Brno at the London world exhibition of the textile industry in 1851.
Products of Brno attracted the attention of businessmen from all corners of the world.
This was also true of other world exhibitions held in London and Paris.
The 1850s were the most successful period in cloth production for Brno. New mills were constructed in suburban Brno, along millraces of the Svratka and Svitava Rivers.
Records show that in 1865 , there were 21 major wool mills in Brno, as well as 22 smaller ones, ten spinning mills and seven cloth shearers.
Although there was a low degree of specialization in the factories of Brno, by the 1860s, the production of yarn in Brno's spinning mills was fully mechanized.
The production of cloth in Brno was continuously being improved.
During the 1860s, textile mills in Brno were granted 27 patents for various inventions and improvements.
Manual labor was prevalent in weaving mills despite the fact that the number of modern mechanical looms was growing.
In the late 1860s, specifically between 1867 and 1868, the production of wool in Brno reached its peak.
A range of products made from carded fine wool fabrics were without equal in the domestic market and were successfully marketed in North and South America, in the Danube Basin, in Germany, in Switzerland, in Holland, in England and in Russia.
Wool production in Brno went through a period of considerable difficulty during the last third of the nineteenth century.
Nevertheless, it maintained its dominant position within industrial production in Brno and an important place within the textile production of
the Czech Lands and, indeed, within the entire Austrian monarchy.
In the late nineteenth century it reached its zenith and then
began to decline.
process of the Industrial Revolution, which began in the Czech
Lands in the first half of the nineteenth century, brought about
a considerable need for labor and machinery.
This was a stimulus
for the fast development of machine manufacturing and metal working.
Works in Brno also increased their production.
A portent of future economic crises forced C. F. Luz and T. Bracegirdle to merge their factories, resulting in the establishment of the First Brno Engineering Works.
Its successful strategy of production was based on the manufacture of high-speed steam engines, high performance boilers and pumps, which were exported to all parts of the world.
In 1896, they were awarded a gold medal at the world exhibition in Paris for the invention of Lentz's valve-controlled steam engine.
In 1902, on the basis of a partial license, the Works were allowed to produce Parson's turbines for Austria-Hungary and the Balkans and thus became one of the first propagators of steam turbines on the European continent.
At the turn of the century, the engineering works formerly belonging to Bedrich Wanieck and founded in 1864, were absorbed by the First Brno Engineering Works.
Wanieck's works had been the first in the world to start the production of diffusers used in the extraction of sugar squash from sugar beets.
In 1902, the First Brno Engineering Works employed 1,010 workers, in 1910, between 1,800 and 2,000 and by 1915, 3,000.
The firms Brand and Lhullier also developed into important industrial factories as did the foundry originally owned by Ignac Stork established in 1861.
It was in this factory that Professor Viktor Kaplan constructed his famous water turbine in 1912.
Another important factory, which was located in Brno was Lederer and Porges, founded in September 1889.
This factory was also known as Kralovopolska and by 1907 had 1,850 employees and was a successful producer of medium - and high-pressure steam boilers, railway storage tank cars, wood-working machines, cleaning machines, deep freezers, steam engines, railway and road bridges, and steam rollers.
Beginning with the 1880s, the development of industrial production was influenced by the introduction of electric power.
Electrification became one of the main characteristics of the second industrial revolution.
The growing number of electric power stations increased the need for electric machines and as a result, an independent electro-technical industry was formed.
This branch of industry was also represented
In 1887, the second electro-technical works in the Czech
Lands (and the first in Moravia), known as Bartelmus-Donat, was
founded in Brno.
In spite of the fact that it was a Czech firm
and as such was out of favor with the German city administration
and industrial lobby, it was successful elsewhere in Moravia,
in Bohemia and even abroad.
Its greatest success was the production
of an arc lamp which improved upon the patent of Doubrava-Donat.
This firm was commissioned to create the lighting for the Emperor's
Later, other electro-technical factories were
founded in Brno.
The lack of capital to purchase machinery for Brno's tanneries
resulted in a twenty year loss of competitiveness with modern
German, Belgian and, later, American tanneries.
in 1870, the tanning industry in Brno entered a new phase, successfully
competing with foreign producers of modern leather used in shoe
soles, beginning even to export abroad.
1902, in Brno, there were 3,926 factories with more than fifty
Of this number, 159 factories, employing 12,609 workers,
The 293 tanning and industrial factories employed
There were also 2,355 garment mills, with 6,151
The 241 construction firms gave work to as many as
4,488 workers and the 362 factories involved in food production
employed 2,686 workers.
necessity of finding new outlets for the products of Brno's industrial
factories, resulted in an occasional revival of the idea of holding
regular trade fairs in Moravia.
This idea had, of course, been
conceived of in an earlier era.
Because of the high costs involved,
this idea had never been put into practice.
It was only in the
year 1888, that the Moravian Industrial Museum, in cooperation
with the Moravian Trade Association, organized an exhibition.
This exhibition displayed the success of Moravia over the last
development of industry and trade was limited by the growth of
the network of rail links.
After completion of the line from Brno
to Ceska Trebova in 1851, a line between Brno and Strelice, with
a station and warehouse, was completed in 1856.
At the same time,
a customs office was built on the tract of land in front of what
is now the Grand Hotel.
Freight trains were directed to the Lower
Station, also called Rosice.
Passenger trains from Strelice continued
from the railway station in Horni Herspice along the northern
track to the Upper Station.
In 1870, a second railroad line between
Brno and Vienna was completed.
This track went from Strelice via
Moravsky Krumlov and Hrusovany - Sanov.
In order to make rail
service faster, a new, double track junction for freight trains
going to Prague was constructed by the National Railway Society
between the Lower and Upper Stations.
The track which was later
called the Vlara River Gorge Track, was connected in 1888, with
the Lower-Rosice Station, which had been the passenger station
on this track.
Later, passenger trains which used the Vlara track,
went via the double track junction to the Upper Station.
to relieve the burden on the Lower Station, which had been overloaded,
trains coming from the Vlara defile had to use a double terminus
at the junction of the freight track between Brno and Ceska Trebova,
that is to say from the station at Cernovice, via the stop at
Zidenice to the Upper Station.
a consequence of there being two companies, Northern Rail and
the National Railway Society involved in the construction of the
railway network which primarily followed their own interests and
operational needs and not those of the public or the city, large
problems were created.
Two freight stations, which had unsuitable
connections with each other, were constructed.
A common railway
station for passenger trains of both companies had been created
This station was also used by trains coming from Tisnov.
The local, private track from Brno to Lisen, which was the last
in a series of tracks constructed during this period, had its
own station in the suburb of Cernovice and was linked with the
Vlara track only via a switching track.
the years 1903 and 1907, the first major attempt to rebuild the
passenger station was carried out.
The aim of this reconstruction
was to build a direct connection for trains from Okrisky and Hrusovany
- Sanov to the passenger station, so that the inadequate connection
between the two Brno stations could be eliminated.
After the nationalization
of both railway companies in 1907 and 1908, the drawbacks in the
organization of the railway crossing in Brno, both from the point
of view of railway operation and the needs of the city, became
The disorganized development of the railway system around
Brno created some hazardous spots and dangerous traffic control,
which were only eliminated after a long period of time.
problem for every city is that of public transportation.
public transportation system in Brno was horse-drawn trams, which
was begun in 1869 by the "Brünner Tramway Gesellschaft für
Personen und Frachtenverkehr."
In 1884, the horse-drawn trams
were replaced by steam-driven ones.
At the beginning, the total
length of the local steam trams network was 6.5 miles (10.4 km).
Seven junctions to various industrial enterprises, used for freight
transportation of containerized shipments, were made part of this
In 1886, the steam-run local transportation system was
bought by the Moravian Society of Local Railways, but within three
years, it had been bought by the city.
The city resold it in 1896
to the Österreichische Union-Elektrizitats-Gesellschaft",
which committed itself to replacing the steam engines with electric.
Electric trams began to run in Brno on June 21, 1900.
transportation system only provided passenger service. Freight
service continued to be provided by steam locomotives until 1908.
The running of the transportation network was taken over by a
stock-holding company, in which all the shares were eventually
bought by a Berlin based company.
In 1914, the city succeeded
in buying back all the shares and in 1915, it was leased to the
Austrian Society for Electric Supply in Vienna.
By 1906, the total
length of the network had risen to 14 miles (22.5 km).
the entire development of Brno, the city transportation system
suffered from nationalistic conflicts.
The municipality of Brno
hindered the extension of tracks into the growing Czech suburbs.
Only after eight years, in 1914, was a slight extension built
from Tivoli to Tabor.
Further development was completely halted
for the following ten years as a result of the World War I.
the destruction of the city walls, the city faced the task of
creating a modern housing policy.
The zoning plan agreed to in
1847, could not be put into practice.
In 1863, a new zoning plan,
which only dealt with area formerly occupied by the city wall,
was put forth.
The comparatively high standards of this zoning
plan were not equaled by the zoning conception for the city center.
As a result, in 1901, a competition for a city-wide general zoning
plan was announced.
However, this competition was only for German
The competition was won by the Viennese architect
The implementation of the plan would have given
Brno a completely different appearance.
It is fortunate, however,
that this plan was to a large extent not implemented.
structures influenced by late historicism and art nouveau (Viennese
Secession) disturbed the original concept of highlighting the
city's dominant structures.
In the last decade of the nineteenth
century, neighborhoods consisting of villas began to be constructed
Their architecture shows a combination of late historicism
with Romantic and Secession elements.
The latter finally prevailed
and had a great impact on the architecture of residential and
Examples of important architectonic structures
include the neo-Renaissance Klein Place on Liberty Square built
between 1847 and 1848, the public pavilion in Luzanky Park from
1855 (both designed by L. Furster), the "Municipal Court", a Romantic-
neo-Renaissance structure finished in 1855 and originally a residence,
but later used as an administrative building (L. Frulich), the
secondary school at 8 Commenius Square, built in 1862 by van der
Molle and Siccardsburg (the designer of the Vienna Opera House).
An admirer of the strict classicism of the High Renaissance, Teofil
Hansen was the designer of the hospital on Pekarska Street, built
between 1865 and 1868, the Social House (Besedni dum) and Prazak
Palace, built between 1871 and 1873.
And finally, the new building
of the Provincial Assembly on Jost Avenue was built according
the design of R. Raschka.
a result of the industrialization of Brno, the municipality began
to apply the newly developing technological achievements in the
Two years after the foundation of the gas works in 1849,
gas illumination was introduced, which remained in use long after
electric illumination had been introduced.
This is difficult to
understand, bearing in mind that there was awareness of the advantages
of electric light, which was first seen in the lighting system
of the new Municipal Theater.
At its opening, on November 14,
1882, it was lit by Edison lamps.
After the founding of the city
electric power station in 1898, the theater was hooked up to the
city's electric grid.
In January 1901, modern Liberty Square was
lit by six electric lamps.
The area in front of the railway station
was lit by three arc lamps and in 1905, six lights were installed
in the pedestrian tunnel under the station.
It was only in 1913
that the city was hooked up to the high-capacity power station
in Oslavany and as a result the streets of Vinohradska and Radnicka
and the Radnicni Trail were given electric lights.
streets continued to be lit by gas lamps.
In 1872, a new water
treatment plant in Pisarky was put into operation and in 1913,
the first branch of Brezova water supply system was opened.
a result of the growing economic importance of the city, its population
increased from 47,359 to 125,737 and continued to grow.
government was basing its policies on a provisional municipal
constitution from March 1849, which had introduced a system of
On July 6, 1850, the emperor granted Brno an extraordinary
statute under the title, The Provisional Statue for the Royal
Capital of Brno".
At the beginning of the 1860s, a municipal constitution
was drawn up.
The city government was, at that period, in the
hands of wealthy German citizens.
The extremely unfair election
laws and forced Germanization prevented the Czechs, whose number
was ever growing, from participating in the administration of
This was mainly reflected in the city government's strong
resistance to the establishing of Czech schools, the use of Czech
as an official language and to the incorporation of other villages
in the vicinity, which were predominately Czech.
attitude of the city government at that time is documented in
many archival sources.
from the ecclesiastical school system, the beginnings of university
education in Brno date back to 1778, when the university and the
Academy of the Noble Estates in Olomouc were transferred to Brno.
However, in 1782, they were transferred back to Olomouc.
the academy was again transferred from Olomouc back to Brno and
then in 1849, replaced by the first modern institution of higher
education, the Technical College of Brno.
According to a resolution
of the Estates, all lectures at the Technical College in Brno
should have been given in both Czech and German.
German nationalists in Brno saw to it, that by 1873, the Technical
College had become a purely German-speaking institution.
to this, Czechs began to try and establish Czech-speaking schools.
The first attempt, which was to establish a Czech agricultural
college in Brno, failed.
Following strong pressure from the Czech
part of the population, a Czech technical college was established
in Brno in 1899.
Attempts to establish a Czech university in Brno
only met success after the founding of the independent Czechoslovak
first state-supported elementary school in which Czech was the
language of instruction, was founded in Brno in 1881 and was only
established at the order of the provincial school board.
Czech schools which followed were only established after tough
battles with the city council.
In 1911, there were eight Czech
elementary schools in Brno.
In contrast, there were 46 German
While the first German secondary school was
founded in Brno as early as 1778, the first Czech secondary school
was only founded in 1869.
Other Czech schools founded in Brno
were: the Men's Teacher Training College ( 1871), the Women's
Teacher Training College (1872) and a non-academic secondary school
( Realschule) in 1880.
period, which was one of the most important in the history of
Brno, was marked by significant achievements in science, arts,
music and literature.
Gregor Mendel, abbot of the Augustinian
monastery in Old Brno and a natural scientist, was the founder
of modern genetics and became world famous as a result of his
He carried out his genetic experiments in the garden
of his monastery.
He was also active in the fields of meteorology
His memorial bust by Teodor Charlemont can be
found in the garden of the Old Brno monastery.
did not have many possibilities to practice their art.
made decorative ornaments for houses, tombstones and memorials.
Sculptors working in Brno at this time included Josef and Antonin
Brenek, Jan Tomola and Vojtech Saff.
Most commissioned sculpture
went to sculptors in Vienna.
One of the notable painters in Brno,
Josef Svanda died prematurely.
An important personality in the
arts was a native of Brno, Josef Axmann, the foremost engraver
of reproductions, illustrator and the inventor of some intaglio
The growth of the arts in Brno was stimulated
by an association which was established in January 1900, with
the name "The Friends of Art Club". Members of this club were
such personalities as Emil Filla, Otakar Kubin, Antonin Prochazka,
and beginning in 1910, Jaroslav Kral, who eventually, in 1916,
settled in Brno and became, along with Antonin Prochazka, one
of the most noted creative artists in Brno.
theater developed along two separate lines, the German and the
The theater has a long tradition in Brno. Originally, performances
were held in the Reduta Theater, belonging to the German nobility.
The first Czech performance at the Reduta Theater was presented
on stage in 1815.
In 1843, however, Czech performances ceased
to be presented at the Reduta, in part as a result of increasing
national tensions at that time.
The German Reduta Theater burned
down in 1870.
During the period of reconstruction, German performances
were held in the Cafe Bellevue.
Between the years 1881 and 1882,
a new theater was built according to plans by the architects Fellner
The sculptural decoration of this new theater was
commissioned to the Viennese sculptor Friedl.
Czech theater associations,
which had been banned from the Reduta, used to hold performances
in such public houses as "At the Mondsajns" on Kopecna Street,
"At the White Cross", on Pekarska Street, "At Rudis's Carpentry"
in Old Brno, "At the Mexican Emperor's" on Prague Street and in
Later, Czech theater was performed in the newly
built Social House.
When Czech theater was eventually banned from
this place as well, the Czech National Theater Cooperative bought
the public house belonging to the Marovsky family on a corner
of Veveri Street and converted it into a theater.
was opened on December 6, 1884.
life in Brno was influenced by Leos Janacek, who was a disciple
of his teacher Pavel Krizkovsky.
Janacek coordinated the activities
of the Brno choir "Beseda Brnenska" (the Brno chapter of a patriotic
club), of the organ school, of which he became head, and stimulated
and organized concerts.
At the same time he composed his works.
Janacek was an important influence on musical life in Brno until
the World War I.
in the 1880s, literary life in Brno was influenced by a new generation
of men of letters, who associated in the group "Young Moravia".
In 1905, a literary section the Friends of Art Club was established.
Active in this section were Josef Merhaut, the Mrstik Brothers,
Stanislav K. Neuman, Josef Holy, Karel Elgart Sokol and others.
In 1912, writers founded their own new organization, the "Moravian
Writers' Circle", which was better able to meet their needs than
had the previous association.
- Královopolská strojírna Lederer & Porges