BLUMENTHAL 1914 "Bremer Woll-Kämmerei" 1 Mark w/o Series (1st issue) Early WWI Notgeld Germany Bremen

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This is the first issue, without a series number, dated Aug. 5, 1914, making it the earliest date as well, only just over a week into World War I.

The Bremer Woll-Kämmerei firm has been the largest wool processing company in the world for a very long time. Here's a bit of the history behind the company from the city of Blumenthal's website:

... an area of 500,000 square kilometers between the Aue and the River Weser in the district town of Blumenthal, which was formerly a part of the Prussian province of Hanover and after 1939 of Bremen, was decided upon as the main company site. The location had, thanks to its size, traffic connections, and abundant clean water supplies (the property had its own deep wells), proven viable and profitable until the year 2008.

On September 11th, 1884, production commenced with a workforce of 150 labourers. In 1896, there were already 200 workers employed, among them many Poles, Silesians, East and West Prussians, Saxons and people from the Rhineland. In 1897, the site was connected by Farge-Vegesack Rail to the railway network. By the year 1930, the number of employees had increased to 3700, which persuaded the BWK to build living quarters for them. This was also supported by the former district judge Paul Berthold. As the first industrial business in the small town, the BWK changed the structure of the place in a fundamental way. Apart from the population increase, housing construction and rail connection, the BWK influenced and contributed to the building of schools, churches, the regional hospital, street lighting, as well as to the general power supply.

The Notgeld era began almost as soon as World War I started. That's because Germany went off of the gold standard at the very same time, and overnight silver and gold coinage disappeared from circulation. Immediately the need arose for "emergency money" to take the place of the missing coins - in other words, Notgeld. 1914 saw the birth of the original, classic Notgeld, which really was emergency money in the original sense of the word. Cities and companies didn't have time to wait for a solution; they had to respond just as quickly. And so Notgeld began to spring up overnight, independently in every local area, and the simple, utilitarian design is a testament to the haste with which it was ushered into existence. By 1921, when the series note craze was in full swing, the original 1914 Notgeld was already highly sought-after and commanding very high prices for the rarest pieces.

Tags: 1914 Blumenthal Bremen wool