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Presentation tableau with Scharnsteiner scythes and sickles about 1920
Company premises
In the middle the main work and the sickle work. In the background the Gasthof Hofmühle, behind it (hidden) the Geyerhammer, about 1920
The Sichelwerk was opened in 1897 and already employed 106 workers in 1903, when this photo was taken.
From the working world of sickle smiths
World War I: In August 1914 over 130 scythe and sickle workers from Scharnstein were called up for military service

Founding and development of the Redtenbacher scythe factory

Sensenmuseum Geyerhammer
Scharnstein, Austria

The Scythe export company “Simon Redtenbacher seel Wwe & Sons” in Kirchdorf an der Krems existed since 1661 and was represented at the most important transshipment points Kiev, Moscow, Kraków, Warsaw, Königsberg and Stettin. In the seventies of the 19th century, the Upper Austrian scythe production faced a crisis. That’s when Simon Redtenbacher entered scythe production and bought the Geyerhammer in 1881. With that, there was a profound change from the old workshops to a modern scythe and sickle industry. While many small works in Austria were not up to these new developments, the largest scythe company of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy developed in Scharnstein and sold its products worldwide. The activity of the Redtenbacher company was almost entirely concentrated on the scythe business and ranged from the generation, through wholesale in Austria to distribution to dealers who supplied the end users, especially in Russia and the Balkans. In order to counteract the dependence on only one product, the scythe, and one main customer, Russia, the company tried to extend the product range by various small hardware such as sickles, scissors or pocket files, cutlery and knives at the beginning of the 20th century. Until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 the company expanded quickly. After that most of the former trading partners were in hostile countries. Numerous debts to the Russian trading partners caused significant financial strains. As a result of the demolition of the traditional trade relations the production was severely restricted. From 1915 the scythe work received orders from the army administration for the manufacture of pioneer sabres and dagger knives. Although right at the beginning of the war 98 scythe workers and 41 sickle workers were called up, 124 more workers had to be laid off.