The history of the carpentry guilds in Poland dates back to the end of the fourteenth century, when the first carpentry guild was established in Krakow. The limited sources of the history and carpentry of Radomsko confirm that since the seventeenth century, there has been a large combined guild in Radomsko, bringing together a dozen or so professions.
Since 1800, there has existed an independent carpentry guild, which in 1816 was named The Carpentry Guild of the City of Radomsko and District. Since 1833, the source materials relating to Radomsko carpenters’ guild have included the names: The Carpenters’ Assembly, the Assembly of the Carpentry Profession or the Carpentry Craft Assembly.
During the years 1827 – 1921, a large number of people are known to have been actively working as carpenters and associated with the guild.
Along with the passage of time and the advancement of technology, as well as following the introduction into service of the Warsaw – Vienna Railway line in the city, next to the individual carpentry workshops, the first factories began to appear, including furniture factories. In 1881 in Radomsko (then Noworadomsk) a Vienna bentwood furniture factory „Thonet Brothers”, already well-known in Europe, began operations, producing first the industrially produced cheap serial furniture. It was quickly followed by the development of the Radomsko factory and soon it became one of the biggest bentwood furniture factories in Europe. The „Thonet Brothers” factory had a significant impact not only on the development and life of the city, but also the surrounding countryside. It gave employment to many residents, allowed the emergence and development of numerous craft workshops.
In 1884, Karol Kohn acting on behalf of the company „Jakub i Józef Kohn” bought the property in Radomsko, within which a small furniture factory began operating. An event of great importance for the company was the founding in 1895 of a joint stock company and the adoption of the name „Towarzystwo Akcyjne Fabryki Mebli Wiedeńskich Jakub i Józef Kohn” [„Joint Stock Company of Vienna Furniture Factory Jacob and Joseph Kohn”]. This resulted in an increase in production and gaining a better position in the market which in turn contributed to the economic development of the whole Radomsko region.
At the beginning of the last century (1910), another plant was established in Radomsko, producing furniture under the name Zakład Produkcji Mebli Giętych „Ksawery Wünsche i Spółka” [Bentwood Furniture Production Plant „Ksawery Wünsche and Company”]. The main output of the plant was theatre and cinema chairs and armchairs. The company collapsed in the mid-1930s. Before 1914 in the city there also operated the American Furniture company and the Upholstered Furniture Factory of Morys Lewkowicz and the furniture factory „Mazovia” of Krone and Kofin.
After the war finished and Poland regained its independence in 1918, the furniture factories had largely been destroyed: „Thonet Brothers”, „Ksawery Wunsche and Company”, „Mazovia” and a few craft shops reopened in Radomsko.
In 1923, difficult financial conditions forced the „Thonet Brothers” factory to give away a part of the factory in Radomsko to a rival company „Mundus”. Thus, a new furniture company with international capital under the name „Thonet – Mundus” began operations. Other manufacturing facilities related to the furniture business emerged in Radomsko, including the building and joinery materials store of the brothers W. and R. Rozenbaum opened in 1929, „Józef Müntz i Spółka” Fabryka Mebli Giętych was established in 1931 and Wytwórnia Mebli Giętych „Eden” in 1936.
The interwar period saw the development of private carpentry workshops belonging to the Radomsko masters of carpentry associated with the Christian Guild of Carpenters and Woodworking Crafts, and their number grew constantly. Radomsko’s share in the national production of all bentwood furniture factories in the country during this time was around 60%, which certainly indicated a very strong and stable position of the town in the furniture industry.
During World War II, Radomsko was under German occupation in the territory of the General Government. The Germans first requisitioned the furniture which had accumulated in the warehouses of the „Thonet – Mundus” factory and then launched production for the German army. The factory „Mazovia” was closed completely The „Thonet – Mundus” and „Ksawery Wünsche i Spółka” plants continued to work actively until the end of World War II. In 1945, both factories were nationalized and operated as independent companies under the names Bentwood Furniture Factory No. 1 (former „Thonet – Mundus”) and Bentwood Furniture Factory No. 2 (former „Ksawery Wünsche i Spółka”).
A landmark event for the craftsmen living in Radomsko after the end of World War II was the establishment, on November 5, 1947, of the National School of Technology and Industry, which included: the State Mechanical Gymnasium and State Carpentry Gymnasium. The opening ceremony of the school, now renamed The State Secondary School of the Wood Industry” took place on 1 September 1948. The facility educated young people in the profession of carpenter, contributing to the spread and dissemination of expertise in this important area. Today, the tradition of transferring theoretical and practical knowledge to the younger generation of carpentry students is continued by the Complex of Wood Industry and Environment Protection Schools in close cooperation with Radomsko’s master carpenters.
On 1 January 1951, there was a merger of both of these factories into one company under the name Radomszczańskie Zakłady Przemysłu Drzewnego [Radomsko Wood Industry Plant].\ In 1959, the factory name was changed to Zakłady Mebli Giętych „Fameg” [Bentwood Furniture Plant „Fameg”].
In Radomsko, as well as across the country, after 1945, there was a liquidation of the independently operating industry guilds. In1953, one common Various Crafts Guild was appointed, uniting artisans of different professions, including of course the carpenters.
In 2004, the Radomsko guild, anticipating the economic transformations, greatly expanded its activities, bringing together not only craftsmen, but also entrepreneurs and adopted the name of the Guild of Craftsmen and Entrepreneurs in Radomsko.
Currently, in the city of Radomsko, there are many thriving carpentry workshops of different sizes, many of which were created and developed its business in the late 1980s and 1990s. Many of these companies are highly successful and receive prestigious awards in national industry contests. This reflects the fact that the furniture industry in Radomsko continuously, systematically develops, maintains and continues the best traditions of centuries-old native carpentry.