Industrial Pioneering: The Tannery Schneider
Tannery Schneider in Itajaí.
The Tannery Schneider (Curtume Schneider) was one of the first major companies in Itajaí. It was located next to the creek in the “Saco da Fazenda” (Bag Farm in english, a district of city), just over the bridge from the road that followed the beach called Cabeçudas. The tannery has its origins in the initiative of two brothers of German origin, coming from Saxony, who emigrated to Santa Catarina and settled in this town. Oswaldo (Ernst Oswald) and Ernesto (Ernst Julius Schneider) were sons of Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Schneider and Christina Johanna Friese. They were born in, 1861 and 1863 respectively, in the small town of Frauenstein. They lost their parents at a young age and raised by relatives. Once they become teenagers, they found that the land that was owned by their parents, most no longer belonged to them but to other people. They worked as leather tanners in early adulthood, the tanneries of the neighboring towns, so they can get their own support.
Oswald emigrated to Brazil in 1883, leaving Germany through Hamburg and arriving here at the port of Sao Francisco do Sul Intended for the colony Sao Bento do Sul, and even, he received grant for this purpose. But he settling in Itajai, motivated to know, soon after his arrival, that colony had many tanneries. He found in the city of Itajai, the ideal conditions to carry out their activity, tanner, and initially worked alone. Later, he wrote a letter to his brother to follow the same path. Thus, three years later, the same port and interestingly, by the same ship Valparaiso, emigrated Ernst Julius.
The Schneider brothers in 1887, they began indeed to the activities of the tannery, now in the form of a company. Initially all the work was done by hand, requiring skill and creativity, which they acquired previously. The leather was treated chemically in wooden barrels, and lingered for four to six months to get ready. The cowhide was taken one “cow leather” and “ox hide”, was made soles for shoes. The after tanned cowhide on top was crafted rustic wood planks and with the aid of machetes. Finally, after drying, the dye was applied. They continued working together until the year 1891. This year, Oswald married in Brusque with Barbara Korb, born and resident in that colony, daughter of one of the pioneers immigrant of the place, Jacob Korb. That same year, he went with his wife to Porto Belo, where he established residence in the place called Perequê. There, Oswald had a small mill near his property, where it processed the peel of cupiúva, used as dye for leather and leather prepared in the same way that the premises of the tannery in Itajai.
The leather tanned in Porto Belo was sent by boat to Itajai, through their own boats, with which they themselves did this transport of leather between the two locations. Along the river banks in Saco da Fazenda, at the premises of the tannery, there was a small harbor for small boats, with walkway access and props made of wood. From there, the leather was taken and embedded in German sailboats docked in the city. However, most of the production was shipped on ships on their way to the Rio de Janeiro and mostly for the Saints. The main products were initially manufactured in tanning the leather for shoe soles and leather treated blunt, products highly appreciated by shoe manufacturers in the center of the country.
The first name of the company, in 1894, was called “Curtume Ernesto Schneider & Co.”, a company established by form of society between the brothers. Later, at the same year, Oswald died tragically, drowned during a storm, when he across the river great Perequê. From there, all activity was centered in Itajaí. The following year, Ernesto married with Antoinette Müller, daughter of builder Wilhelm Müller.
The business continued progression in the following years and in 1907, Ernesto traveled to Germany, taking his wife and their son, Ernesto Junior. The objectives of this trip were the import of equipment for the tannery and the registration of the child in a trade school. At return, Ernesto was unable to continue the trip to Brazil, due to the requirement of the German military arms. It was with gold coins that adorned a belt from his wife, who managed the immigration agents in Hamburg and thus they boarded ship at ship “Ruggia” bound to Brazil. This was the last time Ernesto traveled to their country of origin.With the advent of the First World War, were gradually decreasing the exports of leather to Germany. Restrictions by England in relation to trade with Germany meant that the company was related to a blacklist of the British government, where were the names of all traders and companies in Brazil that kept business with the Germans. By 1917, all sales of tannery were directed to the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo markets.
Ernst Julius Schneider
In the immediate period after the conflict, Ernesto Junior was responsible for the introduction of machines to replace the craft work done at the tannery. Soon after, he headed to Sao Paulo and there was initially dedicated to achievements new customers for the company. He also opened a resale of imported products, including, machinery for leather processing, situated in the district Santa Efighenia, in that city. He signed a contract with the State of São Paulo, shoe aimed at the state penitentiary units. In 1923, opened in society, the affiliate “Ernesto Schneider & Company”, dedicated to trade leather changing the location of the Company for Florencio de Abreu Street.In this period, the tannery began manufacturing belts for engines, initially to replace those damaged in their own machines imported. The transmission belts for machines made by the tannery had great prestige in the industry of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, having great demand. Even today, this type of material is used as the external jacket belts.
Along with Samuel Heusi, and the sugar mill belonging to Adelaide Konder family, Ernesto Schneider was one of the first members of the Business Association of Itajaí, whose foundation happened in 1929. Ernesto died in 1935 and from this time his son Maximilian Fritz Schneider took the direction of the tannery. Fritz Schneider was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Bank of Industry and Commerce of Santa Catarina (INCO), and he was also founding member of the Rotary Club of Itajaí.When the company turned 50, all children of Ernesto and Antoinette were directly involved in the production and trade of leather goods in the state of São Paulo, and, with the exception of Fritz Maximiliano, which remained residing in Itajai. In the early '60s, Fritz Maximiliano ended the activities of the tannery. He teamed up with entrepreneurs in the business of fishing and used the old premises of the farm for that purpose. The new venture did not work and after his death occurred in São Paulo in 1965, his widow, Mrs. Colita Schneider, sold the existing properties in the city, thus ending a history of over 60 years this company.
With the demolition of the building of the tannery and the former home of Ernest Schneider, for the construction of the headquarters of the Athletic Association of the Bank of Brazil (A.A.B.B.), it disappeared completely, the last evidence of the tannery activity. Only the names of the road to Cabeçudas beach as "Alameda Ernesto Schneider" and a near street as "Rua Fritz Schneider", (Street named in 1968, during the tenure of Mayor Carlos Seara de Paula) are the only remembrance that keeps, to the memory of the Schneider family in Itajai.
Translated text, extracted in part, from original article: Müller, Carlos Henrique. Pioneirismo industrial, o Curtume Schneider, in Anuário de Itajaí 2012, FGML.
Ernst Julius Schneider and Antoinette Müller
Antoinette and Ernst Schneider
They had the following children, all born in Itajaí:
Gerda Schneider wedding, 1930, Itajaí.
Ernst Oswald Schneider and Barbara Korb*
They had the following children, all born in Porto Belo:
Roland Göpfert, 1949.
*Barbara Korb died in Porto Belo at March 7, 1903.