The first guilds in Basel were founded in the 13th century and were at that time trade or craft associations, e.g. blacksmiths, shoemakers, bread bakers, tailors, furriers, tanners, etc. In the past, tanners and shoemakers appeared together as a so-called double guild. However, there were so many disputes that both guilds were finally separated. Basel leather was a much sought-after export article and the tanners’ guild experienced its heyday in the
16th and 17th century. The resourceful tanners bought their raw material in bulk and built their own tanneries for the guild members. Around the middle of the 17th century, the tanners also settled in Kleinbasel, in the area of Ochsengasse, Utengasse and Rheingasse. They watered their skins in the middle part of the Riehenteich, letting the waste flow into the Rhine. Later, the tanners suffered from import and export restrictions and their numbers declined sharply. The craft of the tanners in Basel became extinct in 1910.