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Glass Production



The first original forms of local production appeared in Bohemia during the 14th century at the time of Karl IV von Luxemburg (Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia: 1346-1378), founder of the University of Prague. The wealth of the country at that time is evoked by the large fluted glasses.

A new force was given to glass when the local glass-makers einriched it with mineral quality. It was in the workshops of the stone and crystal-cutters attached to the court of the Habsburg Emperor Rudolph II (King of Bohemia: 1576-1612) that the modern western version of engraving and glass-cutting was born.

At the end of 17th century, local glass-makers discovered a compound particularly well adapted to imitate rock crystal. Bohemian glass had the quality of stone (the philosopher’s stone).

It was also an export network that made the concept of Bohemian glass known. Its commercial success dates back to 18th century, when Bohemian-glass syndicates extended from Hamburg and Constantinople to New York and Mexico. In North Bohemia at this time, glass-makers, who often alternated between periods of production and commercialisation, could learn more than ten foreign languages.

Engravers and glassmakers travelled a great deal. An example is Caspar Lehmann (Lünenburg, 1570 /+ ?, 1622), the first to adapt wheel-engraving for glass (around 1590-1605), who was active in Munich, Dresden and Prague, and whose students founded the workshops at Nuremberg (Georg Schwanhardt), Frankfurt (Johannes Hess) and Dresden (Caspar Schindler).

In Bohemia, the glass industry was well-enough established to survive severe periods of crisis and to rise again from its ashes.

Steinschoenau area (including Parchen and Schelten) was one of the most known centers of glass production in Bohemia.


(Source: "Bohemian Glass" by Sylvia Petrova and Jean-Luc Olivié; Flammarion Publishing, Paris)