03 The grandfather
After some generations of farmers, the first Gaudí coppersmith appeared. He was called Francesc Gaudí Salvany (1773-1828), the paternal grandfather of Antoni Gaudí. The house-workshop was situated in the current Riudoms museum.
There is no doubt that his choice for the trade was influenced by the fact that the grandfather of Francesc, Simeó Salvany Solsona, native of Vilafranca del Penedès, already came from this profession.
The coppersmiths dedicated themselves to the manufacture and the repair of boilers, pots and other chattels of copper; in particular dedicating an important part to the production of alembics, instruments that are used for the production of immatured brandy, a product that had increasing demand during all the 18th century, especially with the liberalization of trade with America, in 1778. This permitted the exportation of goods from the Catalan ports to the overseas colonies.
A downfall in trade took place in the second half of the 19th century when the industrial progress replaced many handcrafted professions.
Not only did Gaudi`s grandfather work in the coppersmith business, he was also employed looking after several land properties, the majority of them unwatered, several located in the outskirts.