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The Hohenauers' Name

The word Hohenau originates from the Middle High German words hôch (high) und nâwe (vessel; possibly the same root as the latin word navis).

In the Middle Ages, when more and more urban settlements appeared, the supply of goods became more and more important. Transporting goods overland was exhausting, so water routes (rivers, lakes, sea) were used wherever possible. With the appearance of the (cheaper and less risky) railway in the 19th century, river navigation lost its importance and disappeared.

On the upper Danube, particularly cereals (from Hungary) an wine (from Lower Austria) were transported, among salt and other goods. Until the second half of the 14th century, these goods were transported on small boats, pulled by human power (!) against the current. Later on, caravans of ships, pulled by up to 60 horses were used.

A caravan of ships in these times looked as follows:

The first ships were two or three of the so-called Einstellplatten (or: Furkel-, Buesenzillen) where the pull ropes (Buesen) were attached. They also served to ferry the horses to the other shore if necessary.

The Einstellplatten were followed by cargo ships, attached to the caravan. The first and biggest cargo ship was always a so-called Kelheimer (named after its place of origin, Kelheim). The Kelheimer was also called Hohenau. It was about 115 to 128 shoes (36.3 to 40.4 m) long and about 20 shoes (6.3 m) wide. The pointed bow was called Gransel und the stern Stoir. The Hohenau had two helmstands to control the two rudders (Reiben, Saureiben, Timon) on each side. Since the late 18th century, the Hohenaus were equipped with helms and steering wheels.

The Hohenau was followed by other cargo ships, the so-called Gamsen (or: Nebenbei, Schwemmer). The cargo ships were accompanied by other, smaller vessels (lifeboats etc.).

Hohenau means the first ship of a caravan described before or the entire caravan or the travel against the current.

People of such a caravan of ships were called the Hohenauers.