Economic Encyclopedia

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The complete works in the Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences
Title page of the 18th volume of the Economic Encyclopedia : “Economic Encyclopedia or general system of the State-City-House-u. Agriculture, in alphabetical order; by D. Johann Georg Krünitz, […] Eighteenth Part from Get to Glaze. Berlin 1779, by Joachim Pauli, bookseller. "

The Economic Encyclopedia is a German-language encyclopedia created between 1773 and 1858, largely by Johann Georg Krünitz . It is considered to be an important source of business and technology from the period between the Enlightenment and industrialization .


Double page 638f from Volume 50 (1790)

The entire work, structured in lexical and alphabetical order, comprises around 169,400 pages in 242 volumes, the individual volumes have between around 600 and more than 900 pages.

In the announcement of his work (1772), Krünitz notes the structure:

“The form of a lexicon, or the alphabetical order chosen by you, is, however, the most convenient for a detailed and cumbersome lesson, and the most reliable for the light of economic science, by one according to the various needs, and among people in general, and the economists in particular, to spread distribution proportioned to such unequal powers of the mind. It does not scare off readers who are afraid of the coherent and uninterrupted in learning and diligence, it entertains and satisfies the instant curiosity, and leads to the principles and the chain which connects all useful truths in common with one another. "

He writes about the procedure for processing:

“But since I am concerned with such diverse and different subjects as the statistic, urban, domestic and rural economy, about large and small, extensive works, where I soon turn to philosophy about legislation, cameral finance - and police establishments, soon have to let down to the slightest practical advantages and manipulations in factories and manufactures, in housekeeping and kitchen, in agriculture and cattle breeding, impossible to know everything myself, so my work consists actually in the fact that what I find out partly through verbal or written messages, partly in other printed sources, which I always faithfully and conscientiously report, find useful for my purpose, and bring it into an appropriate extract and context , and in the end I use all my powers of judgment. "

The articles are not structured uniformly: Their scope ranges from simple references to articles that extend over more than one volume “Administration (police)” (volumes 221 and 222) - other volumes, on the other hand, deal with up to 1,855 lemmas (volume 8 , Cha-Davier ). The complete work contains 9,398 illustrations on copperplate engravings, which, however, for reasons of cost, were included in the later volumes more sparsely than in the earlier ones.

The typeface of the first volume may be called “chaotic” because attempts were made to separate lemmas in French, Latin, German and other languages ​​by switching between Fraktur and Antiqua typefaces , as well as highlighting by switching between recte and italic and / or (in the absence of by changing the font size or by introducing an additional Gothic font. With the changed concept of a completely redesigned encyclopedia, this typographical “variety” was restricted from the third volume, “Eye - Farmer Wool”.

The Economic Encyclopedia is an important source for the economy and technology of the time between the Enlightenment and industrialization, although the last author, Hoffmann, was already aware that the work could no longer be up to date when it was completed.

History of the work

The first 72 volumes

In 1773 the first two volumes of the encyclopedia, which Krünitz was to create on behalf of the Berlin bookseller and publisher Joachim Pauli , appeared.

Initially, this Oeconomic Encyclopedia, or general system of rural, domestic and state economy, was planned in alphabetical order as a translation and summary of two French-language works, namely the Dictionnaire raisonné universel d'histoire naturelle , 1764, and the Encyclopédie Oeconomique ou Système général d'Oeconomie rustique, domestique et politique , 1771/72.

From the first volume of "Krünitz", however, a work that far surpassed the original was announced. Diderot and d'Alembert had already had a similar experience, whose 28-volume encyclopédie (with 17 text and 11 table volumes), completed in 1772, was initially intended as a translation of the English originally two-volume Cyclopaedia (first 1728, two-volume, last, 1786, five-volume).

From the fifth volume on, Krünitz's encyclopedia was continued on the basis of lemmas that he had derived from the first German encyclopedia, the 64-volume work by Johann Heinrich Zedler , which was published between 1732 and 1754 , the Great Complete Universal Lexicon of All Sciences and Arts . The later authors of the Encyclopedia hardly seem to have gone beyond the list of keywords ascribed to Krünitz.

Changes to the range of topics and titles

The title of the work was adapted several times to the concept that changed during the development - with the exception of the last one, these changes were made by Krünitz.

  1. The original title, Oeconomische Encyclopädie, or general system of country, house and state economy in alphabetical order was changed from Volume 33, 1785, to
  2. Economic-technological encyclopedia, or general system of state, city, house and agriculture and art history ... - new focuses in the field of art history and technology, the additional topic of urban economy and the emphasis on state economy are expressed in the new title . With volume 74, 1798, the work was then called
  3. Economic-technological encyclopedia, or general system of the state, town, house and agriculture, as well as the description of the earth, art and natural history ... - now the work should also cover geography (description of the earth) and natural history.
  4. Volume 77, 1799, was already "renamed" to the second title - probably in reflection of what is feasible, the topics of geography and natural history were removed again: the economic-technological encyclopedia, or the general system of state, town, house and agriculture and art history. ..

Editor after Krünitz

Commentary on Krünitz's passing

Using his extensive private library of around 15,000 volumes, his profound language skills, his wide-ranging specialist knowledge and immense diligence, Krünitz had completed the first 72 volumes and, according to him, worked 12 to 16 hours a day. He had announced two volumes a year, but mostly three had appeared, sometimes four. As noted in the foreword to Volume 73, for example, he died while working on the article Corpse of Volume 73 on December 20, 1796.

His work had several post-editors (mostly one after the other) and was not completed until 1858 - with the 242nd volume:

In 1796 the theologian and lawyer Friedrich Jakob Floerken (1758–1799) took over the edition and completed volumes 73 to 77. From 1800 to 1813 his brother, the theologian and biologist Heinrich Gustav Flörke, created volumes 78 to 123. From 1813 onwards Johann Wilhelm worked David Korth (1783–1861) with, which led to a falling out between Flörke and the publisher, the widow Pauli. Korth published the volumes 124 to 225 under the publisher Litfaß until 1855 , alternately supported by the co-authors Ludwig Koßarski and Carl Otto Hoffmann (1812-1860). From 1855 to 1858 Hoffmann edited volumes 226 to 242 alone.


Five entrepreneurs acted as publishers: Joachim Pauli from 1773 to 1812, then his widow Louise until 1823 , then her third husband CH Mowinkel . Around 1830 Leopold Wilhelm Krause took over the publishing house, which passed on to his stepson Ernst Litfaß (1816–1874) when he died in 1846 . Litfass brought the project to a close in 1858.

Reprint, excerpts, pirated printing

From 1782 onwards, Krünitz initiated a second edition of the early volumes. Volumes 1–97 were reprinted almost unchanged ( Lit. Cziesla ). Only individual pages and parts of preliminary remarks have been re-set.

There are also a large number of separately published excerpts from the encyclopedia of various sizes. Some of them were published by Joachim Pauli, some were edited by Krünitz himself. The 34-volume excerpt from the part of the complete work available at the time, edited by several authors, published by Pauli 1786–1830, should be emphasized. The project was abandoned according to Volume 34.

The famous pirated print , which the Brno printer and publisher JG Traßler published with imperial permission and with the support of the disgruntled former editor Flörke, is known as the Brno reprint , appeared 1787–1823, comprises volumes 1 to 129 and was banned in Prussia . Volumes 125–129 (1818–1823) are titled Flörkesche Encyclopedia .

Modern facsimiles and microfiche editions exist to a modest extent or in modest quality. The digitized and classified full text has been published online as the Economic Encyclopedia since 2001 .

See also


  • Christine Cziesla: Krünitz 'Enzyklopädie (1773 ff.) And Adelungs dictionaries (1774 ff.). The connection between subject and language lexicography. Master's thesis TU Braunschweig 1988, digital edition of the University Library Trier 2004.
  • Annette Fröhner: Technology and encyclopedia in the transition from the 18th to the 19th century: Johann Georg Krünitz (1728 - 1796) and his economic-technological encyclopedia (= Mannheim historical research. 5). Palatium-Verlag im J - & - J-Verlag, Mannheim 1994, ISBN 3-920671-12-0 .
There are also reviews by Ulrike Haß-Zumkehr in: Lexicographica 11 (1995), ISSN  0175-6206 , p. 284 and by Otmar Seemann at the Library Service Center (BSZ) .
  • Hans-Ulrich Seifert: Dewey meets Kruenitz: Semi-Automized Classification in Historical Encyclopaedias. In: Paul Michel, Madeleine Herren (Ed.): General knowledge and society. Files of the international congress on knowledge transfer and encyclopedic classification systems, from September 18 to 21, 2003 in Prangins. 2005 ( PDF; 1.13 MB).

Web links

Wikisource: Economic Encyclopedia  - Sources and full texts
The project "Economic Encyclopedia online"

As part of a digitization project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 2001 to 2006 and carried out by the University Library of Trier , a digital version of "the Krünitz" was created with a lot of background information. The lemmas of this free online edition are classified according to the international standard Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC). The most important bibliographical information cited in abbreviated form is resolved. All internal references in the text are linked hypertextually and the work can be searched using sophisticated search functions.

Individual evidence

  1. Economic encyclopedia, or general system of state, town, house and agriculture in alphabetical order; by D. Johann Georg Kruenitz