In the German Swabian Mountains, the majority of the people had been farmers for centuries already. But when the ground became increasingly infertile around 1850, and the famers and their families started starving, the government distributed hand knitting machines to the poor farmers so that they could earn their money with knitting. The circular knitting machines used were invented in 1798 and in 1836 they were introduced to the Swabian Jura. They produced cotton products which were much more comfortable than the linen underwear common at the time – German knitwear was born! Since these days, garment production is a tradition in this part of Germany. Balthasar Merz founded his clothing manufactory “Merz b. Schwanen” in 1911, with the profession being carried through several generations of his family until the company was closed eventually. The descendants of Balthasar Merz allowed P. Plotnicki to use the brand name in order to carry on the family’s tradition and history.