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The history of the University of Applied Sciences Schmalkalden dates back to the year 1902 when, on 1 July, the “Royal Technical College for Iron and Steel Industry Schmalkalden" was established.
For centuries, the people in the region around Schmalkalden had been making their living from the manufacture of all kinds of ironware goods such as awls, files, curry combs, drills, pliers, spoons, nails, buckles, and so on, which even today are known as “Schmalkalden goods”. However, these goods, manufactured in small businesses, now faced industrial competition from Rhineland-Westphalian factories and from overseas which they weren’t able to withstand.
If an improvement to the economic situation was to be achieved, the production process had to be modernised and the workers better trained. In 1893, the Schmalkalden Administrative Officer, Dr. Hagen, suggested to the Prussian Minister for Commerce and Trade to establish a Technical College similar to the one in Remscheid.
Right from the beginning the college did not only regard itself as a training centre for craftsmen, but also offered businesses of the region a large variety of training programmes and its teachers were available for technical, technological and commercial consultancy.
Each teacher worked several weeks per year in one of the leading German businesses in order to familiarise himself with modern plants, machines, facilities and procedures. All of this helped to guarantee a training conform to the standards of that time.
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