Teufen. Foto/Photo: TES

Teufen and the Textile Industrie

Teufen was first mentioned in 1272 as “Tiuffen”. The hamlet was a district of the abbey of St Gallen. In 1377, several villages of Appenzell (Urnäsch, Teufen and Gais) joined the Schwäbischen Städtebund (‘Swabian League of Cities)  or the Bund der Bodenseestädte with the permission of the abbot of the abbey. From 1429, Teufen was a Rhode in the independent land of Appenzell, an ally or Zugewandter Ort of the Swiss Confederation.

During the Reformation, Teufen adopted the new religion along with the other äusseren Rhoden. After the Landsgemeinde decree in the year 1525, each municipality could decide whether to stick with the old faith or adopt the new one. The religious differences eventually led to the division of the country in 1597. Since then, Teufen has belonged to the canton of Appenzell Ausserhoden.

Teufen’s economic boom was due to linen weaving and, later, cotton textiles. The municipality, still a poor Rhode in 1597, was one of the wealthiest municipalities in the canton in the 19th century.

The basis for its growth and prosperity was the textile industry (weaving and embroidery) that emerged from the 17th century onwards. Teufen developed into a textile manufacturing village with many villas and merchant houses.

In the 1890s, however, the textile industry went through a severe crisis, from which it briefly recovered before finally collapsing for good after the First World War. However, the stately merchant houses and the many embroidery houses along the streets are reminders of this era.

(Source and further information: Gemeinde Teufen; Kulturpfad Teufen)