Recorded as Dreschler, Drexel, Drexler, Drexlius, Trexel, and no doubt others, this is a German and Ashkenasic surname. It originates from the pre 7th century word 'dreseler' meaning 'to turn', a verb which in medieval times had a wide range of meanings. Today in the late 20th century 'turning' is almost always associated with the manufacture of shafts in steel or wood to produce items such engine (crank)shafts or even chair legs. In ancient times it may have been associated with agriculture, where even today turning is part of haymaking, or in the textile industry with the 'spinning' of wool or cotton, or as a broad based skill, the making of decorative orbjects out of bone, ivory or pewter. Occupational surnames were unusual in that they did not usually become hereditary until a son followed the father into the same line of business. A son who took up a different skill might be called by both his own occupation and also that of his fathers! It is unclear as to when this surname was first recorded although in surviving charters of Germany, many having been lost in various wars, we have the recording of Martin Drexel of Nabburg in the former state of Pfalz, Germany, in the year 1599.
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