History of Gustav Katzke‘s blacksmith shop

The blacksmiths of Klaipėda were already known in the 16th century. Blacksmiths, later on also locksmiths, supplied local builders with forged nails, binding for doors and windows, weather-cocks, street lanterns, hand-rails, doors and binding for ovens. 
The handicrafts in the Klaipėda region, including blacksmithing, not only reflected the traditions of the area but in the 16th–18th centuries and especially in the 19th century handicrafts were strictly regulated by the laws of the Prussian authorities. 
In the middle of the 19th century the blacksmiths of the Klaipėda region commenced casting and making metal crosses and fences for graves all over the country. 
The main manufacturers of cemetery monuments and fences at the end of the 19thcentury were Klaipėda blacksmith forges. The addresses of the forges included Kepėjų St. 10, Puodžių St. 14, Šaltkalvių St. 1 (G. Katzke forge-shop). 
G. Katzke, the famous blacksmith in Klaipėda and the Klaipėda region, and his apprentices founded his workshop in a house in Šaltkalvių Street at the end of the 19thcentury in 1895. The blacksmiths were busy making farming tools and equipment and ornamental elements for the houses of the Old Town. G. Katzke won his popularity first of all by making artistic cemetery crosses, fences and gates. In 1978 a monument of an original form with the stamp "H. G. Katzke Landw. Maschinen. Memel" was discovered in Vilkyčiai Cemetery in the Šilutė District. The activities of G. Katzke are also demonstrated by his advertisements published in 1911 to 1914. 

G. Katzke's relatives with founder of the Museum D. Varkalis G. Katzke's relatives with founder of the Museum D. Varkalis

G. Katzke was the only blacksmith in Klaipėda region to be awarded an international silver medal for artistic blacksmithing. His forge existed up to 1944  when the war front approached Klaipėda, G. Katzke left for Germany.