Tag Archives: Munich

Oscar Ameringer and the Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.

We seem to be going through a phase of extreme cynicism about politics and politicians, so I’d like to introduce a delightful author and, by all accounts, a very nice man.

Oscar Ameringer was born in a small town in Bavaria in 1870, and brought up in a conservative Lutheran household.  He had a talent for painting and music.  His father was a master craftsman, and young Oscar learned furniture making from him, but in the 1880s, industrial production was taking over traditional craftsmanship.

One after the other, guild masters gave up the ghost [and] were sucked into factories… I never minded learning the furniture trade… There is something fascinatingly creative about helping a dead piece of wood evolve into a thing of beauty and service to man.  But young as I was, I foresaw the end of the golden age of handicraft.

Oscar left for America 8 months before his 16th birthday – to seek his fortune, but also to avoid call up for military service. Continue reading