1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mülhausen

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MÜLHAUSEN (Fr. Mulhouse), a town of Germany, in Upper Alsace, on the Ill, an affluent of the Rhine, and the Rhine-Rhone canal, about 56 m. S. of Strassburg and 21 m. N.W. of Basel by rail. The old town, surrounded by arms of the Ill, has narrow and irregular streets, while to the south, on the canal, lie the handsome villas and promenades of the new town. Most of the older buildings have made way for factories, so that the town-hall, dating from 1551, is an almost solitary witness to the town's medieval prosperity. The most important interest of Mülhausen centres in the making of cotton goods. This industry was introduced in 1746, and has since prospered in the hands of several wealthy families which are closely connected by intermarriage, and lend each other support. A large proportion of the inhabitants of the town and the neighbourhood is engaged in woollen and other textile manufactures, the products of which are exported to all parts of the world. The manufactures of machinery, especially locomotives and railway plant, chemicals, and hardware are also important. A noteworthy feature is the attention paid by the manufacturers to the well-being of their workpeople. In 1853, Johann Heinrich Dollfus (1800-1887), mayor of the town, founded the “artisans town” (cité ouvriére) to the north-east of the old town, consisting of about IZOO model dwellings with public bath-, wash- and bake houses, and library. The houses were let on a system by which the occupant became the owner after the payment of a certain number of instalments. Of recent years, however, the operatives have moved into the suburbs, leaving the model houses of the “artisans' town” to small tradesmen. A “société industrielle” for the encouragement of original discovery and invention among the workmen has existed since 1825, and there are various benevolent societies. Mülhausen carries on an active trade in grain, wine, colonial produce and timber, which is facilitated by its river harbour. After the annexation of Alsace to Germany in 1871 the French sympathies of the inhabitants were shown by the extraordinary decrease in their number. The population has since increased, amounting in 1905 94,514 of whom about two-thirds are Roman Catholics.

Mentioned as early as 717, Mülhausen was raised to the rank of a free town of the empire in 1198, and received very extensive privileges from Rudolph of Hapsburg in 1273. It suffered considerably in the various wars of the middle ages, but generally managed to maintain its independence. In 1466 it formed an alliance with the Swiss, and this became a permanent union in 1515. By the peace of Westphalia (1648) it was recognized as an independent ally of the Swiss League. In 1797 it sought incorporation with France from motives of commercial policy, and in 1871 it passed to Germany.

See A. Metzger, La République de Mulhause 717-1798 (Basel, 1884); Schall, Das Arbeitefquartier von Mülhausen (Berlin, 1877); Herkner, Die ober-elsdssische Baumwollindustrie und ihre Arbeiter (Strassbur, 1887); and E. Tourmer, Mülhausen im 16. Jahrhundert (Illyach, 1895.