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Journeymen, Commercial Travellers and Masters.

In Georgian and Victorian times there was always a good supply of construction work needing skilled craftsmen. To become a craftsman a young man would be apprenticed to a Master Craftsman, usually for seven years. They would travel around the country from contract to contract, it being the Master's remit to find and negotiate the contracts. 

After completing his apprenticeship, our craftsman would sit whatever test was required by his Guild or Trade Association to prove that he was able to do the job to the required standard. Providing that he passed, he was then qualified to practice his trade as a journeyman carpenter or bricklayer or whatever his trade was.  A journeyman had to work for a Master Craftsman who supervised his work and negotiated the contracts, he could not be self employed negotiating his own contracts.  Whilst he was supervised by the Master he would largely work on his own or with other Journeyman and apprentices. A successful Master would have more than one contract on the go at any one time, so he made frequent visits to each site to supervise the work and to use his superior skills on the difficult bits.

After a number of years working as a journeyman our craftsman may wish to become a Master Craftsman himself. To do this he would need his Master's recommendation and he would have to submit samples of his work to his Guild or Craft Association. Normally, these would be complicated, difficult pieces of work that would display his skills, his so called "Masterpieces" there would also be an examination of some sort.

If he satisfied the examiners that he was up to the required standard he was awarded the title of Master Craftsman and could then set up in his own right, find his own work, negotiate his own contracts and most important, keep the profits !  Every few years every Master Craftsman would have to submit Masterpieces to his Guild to demonstrate that he was keeping his skills up to standard.

A Commercial Traveller was quite different. He was a travelling salesman and would go from town to town with bags & boxes full of samples of whatever he sold. It would not then have been practicable to travel with large quantities of stock, so he would demonstrate the goods with the samples that he carried with him, then take orders that he would send back to wherever his home base was. Once the goods were available the Traveller would deliver them if they were small items, larger things being sent via the newly built railways. A traveller was said to Travel in whatever it was he sold. So he might travel in household hardware or bed linen.  Hence the old joke of travelling in Ladies underwear.

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