Posted on September 26, 2012 | 0 Comments
The Inge-Glas Company has it's origins in the glass-blowing center of Lauscha, Germany, in the state of Thuringia, going back to the late 1500s. The company explains the Müller-Blech family's journey and it is a journey distinctly steeped in history:
- Renown originally for their bird ornaments - the number one figural ornament collected,
- Inge-Glas built a strong Christmas ornament business starting in the 1860s, but this was interrupted in 1951 with the Soviet occupation of Lauscha;
- they managed to move to Neustadt in then Western Germany during the Soviet period (Neustadt being just beyond the Soviet Eastern Germany border), and even maintained (a delicate situation), where possible, contact with family and glass-blowers in the East;
- they actively built an extensive collection of antique ornament moulds;
- charmingly, they strengthened that important collection with the marriage in the 1990s of 14th generation descendant Klaus Müller-Blech to Birgit Eichhorn-Jeremias-Sohn, also from a glassblowing family in Neustadt - resulting in a "marriage" of not only two glass-blowing artisans, but of their independent glass-blowing operations and antique moulds - presently some 6,000 strong;
- and, Inge-Glas has continued to work hard to keep their business strong by creating new moulds that appeal to today's customers and even more importantly to rejoice in the craftsmanship in Germany - where their ornaments are made to this day.
"Inge-Glas® has an impressive history, extending back to the late 1500s in the village of Lauscha, Germany where mouth glassblowing was a cottage industry. Every family had their own specialty and the Müller family was renown for their bird ornaments. Beginning in the 1860s the Müller family specifically customized their craft for creating Christmas ornaments. In 1951 the Russian occupation of Lauscha led 13th generation descendent Heinz Müller-Blech to flee to Neustadt, when in 1953 he and his wife Inge (from whom Inge-Glas® is named) reestablished what is now the modern day Inge-Glas® workshops. Heinz managed to smuggle several glassblowing moulds and after settling down in Neustadt he began to actively search for antique ornament moulds. His family in East Germany would send packages to him containing only halves of the moulds at a time so authorities would not confiscate them.
In the 1960s, Klaus Müller-Blech, 14th generation descendent, spent countless hours in the glass workshops of his parents to learn the profession. Klaus traveled to the U.S. in 1992 to attend the Golden Glow of Christmas Past Convention and to search for antique ornaments. Here he met his future wife, Birgit Eichhorn-Jeremias-Sohn, also from a family of glassblowers in Neustadt, Germany. The two lived in the same village in Germany and had never met until the U.S. convention! When the couple married their families combined their glassblowing operations and antique mould collections. The Müller-Blech family is now reintroducing ornaments made from some of the 6,000 antique moulds their families passed down through the generations. Not all moulds are Christmas oriented. A large portion of the line has year-round appeal for collectors."