Thematic work 2019: “Children’s Games“
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Max Oscar Arnold

With the "Max-Oscar-Arnold-Award", the town of Neustadt remembers one of its honoured citizens, the entrepreneur and politician Max Oscar Arnold. At the beginning of the 20th century, he was one of the most important figures in the region of Coburg.

Max Oscar Arnold was born in Neustadt on 29 March 1854 as the son of the master dressmaker Karl Arnold and his wife Bertha. He learnt the dressmaker's trade in his parents' business, at the same time he received training in drawing and modelling in the industrial and vocational school in Neustadt.

Just after he married his wife Emilie Dorn in December 1878, Max Oscar Arnold founded his own business which initially made dolls clothes, then from 1884 dolls as well and which rapidly expanded. The high quality products were primarily exported to the USA. In the two decades before World War II, his company, with its 1,000 employees, was among the most important employers in Neustadt.

During the war, his company produced armaments. As the doll industry had few markets left after the war was lost, Mr Arnold converted the factory to produce furniture and technical porcelain. Heavy losses and a large fire forced him to close his company in 1928.

From 1884, Max Oscar was a liberal "Freisinniger" in the Coburg regional parliament, of which he became the president in 1904. Between 1914 and 1918, he represented the Duchy of Coburg in the German Reichstag. In 1919, he was among the strongest advocates in favour of the Free State of Coburg joining Bavaria. He was a member of the Bavarian regional parliament from 1920 until 1924.

Outstanding achievements of Max Oscar Arnold's time as a politician were the construction of the Steinach valley railway and the district hospital in Coburg. He was also among those who initiated the restoration of the Veste Coburg. His home town of Neustadt awarded him the status of honorary citizen in 1909.

Max Oscar Arnold and his wife had seven sons and two daughters, among them, Karl Arnold, illustrator of the satirical newspaper "Simplicissmus". Max Oscar Arnold died on 27 January 1938.

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