[PA-NJ Glassblowers] The Glass Road of Europe

Tony Patti gaffer at glassblower.info
Mon Feb 16 18:31:56 EST 2015

This was posted to LinkedIn, I thought it might be interesting reading on
this cold winter day.




The Glass Road of Europe.



The Glass Road of Europe


The glass road of Central and Eastern Europe is not a highway but a mountain
road of winding, mountainous terrain and valleys, forests and rivers. It
spans eastern Germany, Czech Republic and Poland. From its beginning in the
14th century, when ethnic Germans were invited to the region by King Charles
of Bohemia, the road has grown longer and windier and more specialized in
glass making than any other region of the world.

The southernmost town on the road is Turnov, where stone cutting of Czech
garnet became world famous, and where glass was created to imitate that
garnet and made into jewelry. Turnov is situated in the heart of Cesky Raj,
(Bohemian Paradise), a national preserve of mountainous crags and
walking/biking trails with villages and towns sprinkled throughout. Museums
and glassworks are still located in Turnov, and numerous towns within this
area, such as Mala Skala and Semily. Small glassworks producing lampwork
beads and buttons can be found here, as well as larger pressing factories
and coating companies.

Moving north from Turnov you come upon Zelezny Brod which is a large town
boasting of many bead factories and a world famous technical high school
specializing in glass production and all its by- products from glass
production to bead making, moldmaking, sculpture and other specialties.

Further north again you come to Jablonec nad Nisou, the current industrial
center of the glass road, with its hundreds of glass related companies and
jewelry businesses. From large glassworks producing glass rods


for bead and button manufacturing to glass bead and button factories both
large and small.


Most factories are cottage industry where individual families take work home
with them to accomplish the task set out for them, whether it be faceting,
coating, painting or stringing beads, but also very large factories with
dozens if not hundreds of employees like PreciosaOrnela, with buildings
sprinkled throughout town and all around the neighboring villages
surrounding Jablonec.


There is also the famous and fabulous Museum of Glass and Jewelry located in
Jablonec, and an obvious first stop for any glass or jewelry tourist to see.

>From Jablonec the road travels in several different directions, all towards
towns whose beginnings involved glass and/or jewelry making of some kind.

Towards Poland and even deeper into the Jizera Hory you travel through
Joseph Dul, Smrvozka, Desna and up to Harrachov, where the second oldest
continually operating glassworks is located. Here also on this road you pass
the Riedl mausoleum in Tanvald, whose 19th century family controlled the
glass industry of this region.

Across the border into Poland the road continues along the international
glass road (Szklarska Poreba, Jelenie Gora, Boleslawiec, Zgorelec,) where
small and large glassworks such as Julia Glassworks in Piecovice still
operate to this day, creating glassware and sculptures. Christmas ornaments
are another Polish specialty handblown in these glassworks located in this
region and along this road; and into Germany (Goerlitz - Niesky - Rietschen
- Bad Muskau - Weisswasser - Schleife - Doebern - Drebkau), where smaller
museums and galleries showcase glassworks from days past.

Returning to Jablonec and going in another direction totally along the glass
road you travel through Cesky Kamenice, Kamenicky Senov and Novy Bor. These
towns are well known for their glassworks which create glassware and
chandelier parts. You will also find glass museums and glass schools
sprinkled throughout these towns. Ajeto glassworks in Novy Bor is the
largest company with two fully operational glassworks open to the public for
viewing during business hours while enjoying lunch or dinner. At their fully
restored and period pub/glasshutte from the 1800's you can pay to learn how
to blow a vase or bowl while you are there having a meal.


Deeper into this mountainous region are smaller villages with studio
glassworks and ancient glass huts, such as Chribska which until 2012 had the
oldest continually operating glass factory dating from the 15th century. Its
current owner is in the process of renovating the buildings and installing
new kilns and machinery to make beads and buttons again. Probably Europe's
oldest and most famous glassmaking family, Friedrich, came from this area,
and founded over 60 glasshuttes. The family's main factory was situated in
Doubice, whereas the longest continually operating factory glasshutte was
next door in Chribska, as mentioned

The old Chribska Glassworks - dating from 1414. Closed in 2012.

Close by this area and related to the glass industry is Petrovice, an old
Sudeten German town that specialized in metal buttons and parts for the
jewelry industry, and the factories here worked closely with the factories
producing glass goods. The town is still there but the industry vanished
when the Czechs deported all the Germans after world war two in 1945.

Historic remnants of this German bygone age is still visible in this region
when you travel this road, such as the old Sudeten German names of the Czech
towns you are approaching while still in Germany or Poland. For instance,
the regional capital of the entire district which encompasses the Jablonec
nad Nisou glass district is Liberec. The road signs in Germany as you
approach the Czech border state that you are approaching Reichenberg, which
was the German name for the town of Liberec. Speaking to older German glass
makers while traveling this road you will hear town names dating back to
Sudeten German days and even before when the region was Austrian Empire,
such as Haida (Novy Bor), Reichenberg (Liberec), Gablonz (Jablonec nad
Nisou), Smržovka (Morchenstern), Turnau (Turnov), Petrovice (Peterswald),
Harrachov (Harrachsdorf). Chribska (Kreibitz), Doubice (Daubitz) and Zelezny
Brod(Eisenbrod). Polish towns had German names, such as Szklarska Poreba
(Schreiberhau). This region was part of Sudetenland, settled by ethnic
Germans dating from the 14 century and annexed by Hitler in 1939 into
Greater Germany. The Czech Government tried to erase the German history
after WW2 by deportation and name changes, but this is an old road still
traveled and remembered.

Come explore and travel this road and the villages along it. The people are
friendly, the food is good, the beer is cheaper than water, and the glass is
the best in the world. If you are into sports, Cesky Raj has some of the
best hiking and biking trails around. In the middle of nowhere you will come
across a pension to have lunch or a beer, or get a room for the night. If
its ski-ing you like, then Harrachov and its world famous ski jumps might be
just the place for you. The glass road is a wonderful road to travel for
many things besides glass, but glass is the reason it is there.


J-Me and Guy are the owners of Wild Things Beads; a small family run import
business specializing in Czech glass beads and buttons. They also run
working button and bead tours to Jablonec. Their warehouse is located deep
in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California, and can be reached by
phone at (530) 743 1339 or on the web at  <http://www.wildthingsbeads.com/>
www.wildthingsbeads.com. They are also open by appointment at their




Tony Patti
 <http://www.glassblower.info> www.glassblower.info
 <mailto:gaffer at glassblower.info> gaffer at glassblower.info

 <http://www.glassblower.info/qr-code.html> QR Code for Tony Patti -



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