Canton of Zurich, Time of Mediation, 20 Batzen 1813

In 1805 Hans Kaspar Escher of Zurich began to build his own spinning machines. This was the start of industrialization in Zurich: in the following decades, railroads and plants were built, and banks founded.

Industrialization not only brought progress, however, but also extreme poverty. Very few factory workers ever got hold of a 20-batzen coin such as this. It had a value of about 50 schillings, the normal coin of account in Zurich.

For this sum, a Aussersihl housewife could have cooked a real feast for her family. Instead of the usual potatoes, which cost about 2 schillings per kilogram, she could have fed them with bread (6 schillings per kg), beef (5 schillings per pound), milk (1 schilling per liter) and maybe even some butter (12 schillings per pound) ...