Collector's Corner: Bohemian/Bavarian Glass
By Orville Burg
Bohemian or Bavarian Glass, as it is known, was made in a fairly wide area of southeastern Europe that encompassed portions of the current countries of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland. Most of the production that has reached the United States was from companies that had export as a primary goal, or from immigrant families bringing their family possessions to the new world.
The location of the early Bavarian glass production sites or "huttes" was dictated by nearby good forests that provided firewood for use as fuel for the furnaces.
Early glass production in Bohemia was begun in the late 1300s. Glass from Bavaria has changed over the years to mesh with the arts at the time of production while maintaining a uniqueness of design.
The most commonly available glass is primarily from the Empire or Biedermeier period (1840-1880) to the present Modern period.
Several different manufacturers, which were in business towards the end of the Biedermeier period, are still in business today. Some of the more commonly heard names, which were generally the larger companies, are Moser, Egermann, Harrach, Hosch, Kralik, Lobmeyer, Loetz, Pallme-Koenig, Reidel and Rindskopf.
These companies spanned several art periods, and their wares varied with different designers that worked for them, in addition to the different techniques the highly skilled craftsmen utilized in handling the glass.
It should be pointed out that these companies were the contemporaries, as well as equals in quality, of other manufacturers like Tiffany, Carder, Dugan, Stephens & Williams, and Galle. Several techniques were interchanged, or copied, by the various manufacturers, or finishing companies. Most of this glass is considered to be Art Glass by today's standards.
Examples shown here will be primarily from one company as samples of the changes that occurred in their production over the years. That company is Johann Lotz Witwe, spelled as Loetz in English speaking countries.
The company name is in the German tradition, named for the owner, The Widow of Johann Lotz. She purchased a glasshutte in Klastersky Mlyn in 1851. The family operated that business until about 1939.
The earliest piece of Lotz glass shown is a piece of imitation polished stone glass named Marmorierte, which was produced between 1880 and 1913. Carneol is the particular variety of Marmorierte and is an enameled marbled red and white glass over a white interior. This is the equivalent of "slag glass" produced in America much later.
Another elegant piece is the Lotz Titania, manufactured from 1905-1907 and designed by Eduard Prochaska. This piece consists of three layers of glass, a green base glass which has a glass containing metallic silver over it, and a clear overlay covering the vase.
Michael Powolny was a great influence and is responsible for several unique designs. One such piece designed by Powolny is the striped vase with small enameled flowers.
He is also attributed with being the creator of the "Tango" line, which is predominately orange, red or bright yellow glass with contrasting black enhancements such as knobs or punts.
A later piece is the "Schaumglas" vase that dates to the 1930s. It consists of at least 3 layers of glass, the clear inner layer that has overlain randomly applied threads of "foamglass" and a clear overlay.
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Editor's Note: Umlots and accents were removed from words in this article for formatting purposes.
About the author:
Orville Burg has been a collector of vintage glass since the early 1960s including Imperial Candlewick Ruby Stemware, Greentown Emerald Dewey EAPG and Bohemian/Bavarian Art Glass. He spent 2 weeks in Germany in 2004 researching glass at the Passau Glass Museum and other locations on the "Glasstrasse," The Glass Highway in Bavaria. He is the owner of B-C Antiques and Collectibles, http://www.RubyGlass.com, host site of "The Candlewick Stemware Reference Pages"; and PixClix Image Hosting Service, http://www.PixClix.com.
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