One Guy’s Opinions on the German Glass Scene

For centuries German glass artists have made lasting contributions to the techniques and materials used by those who shape glass in the flame. Whether you’re talking soft glass, boro, or somewhere in between, there is a person in Germany coming up with a novel way of doing things or improving on an old design, probably even right now as you read this.

You can’t bring up anything from the old world without throwing around some historical fact first. The heady German Medieval forests of Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg were prime territory for setting up a cottage industry of glassmakers, none more famous than those of the town of Lauscha. Specialized scissors, sort of like if some diamond shears had a baby with a marble mold, were invented there in the late 1840’s, and all of a sudden glass marbles were born.

Got a Christmas ornament sitting in a box somewhere? You can thank the people of Lauscha. Human eye replacements that could fool, well, the human eye, were first made in that adorable little valley. We’ve got a great line of soft glass that bears the town’s name and is manufactured there to this day!  Link to Lauscha!

But really, Germany, what have you done for us lately?

Maybe you know that borosilicate glass was first developed by Otto Schott in Germany around 1890. After all, he founded a company that’s still pulling rod and taking names over 100 years later. It figures that with a tradition like that, you’re going to see a lot of functional glass pieces.

And you do! German marks such as G-Spot Glass, Zenit, and Smile consistently get rated as some of the best made pieces with the highest standards the world over. What makes them so great, though? Well, at least one thing they have in common is that *all* of them rely solely on good quality German clear boro like Schott and Simax (okay Simax is technically Bohemain, close enough).

But the greatest of them all is none other than the legendary ROOR. Just about any piece you see today bears the inventions first thought of in Frankenthal: the downstem diffuser, ice catchers, and even those little blobs on the side that stop your piece from rolling. They, more than any other, carry on the tradition of thinking up the newest, best methods of crafting glass into what we all know and love.

So I’m calling out all you German glassworkers! Go get yourself some of that good tubing, and don’t forget the American boro color rods that make the magic happen! And for you beadmakers, stock up on 104 and do something that no one has ever thought of before!

For a country, like Germany, that hasn’t had a frontier in over a thousand years, there sure are a lot of pioneers.