The years go by … Generations of employees change … The technique and technology of glass production have been improved, but the magic of transforming undefined source materials into translucent, shining stones in the sun remains unchanged. “YES, IT IS CRYSTAL!” – the employees of the “Nieman” glass factory have been repeating this miracle every day for 130 years.
The “Nieman” glass factory – located in the town of Berezovka – formerly called “Brzozówka” – the Polish town of Masters, where the traditions of glass and crystal production have been established since 1883.
The enterprise’s history began with a small glass factory of the local landowner Zenon Łenski, where bottles were blown.
Shortly after, Juliusz Stolle – born into a Czech family of glassworkers – and Wilhelm Krajewski leased the glass factory and modernised the production technology. The business began to develop intensively. The owners took over local factories and built their own plants. Among them was the one in Brzozówka. As it later turned out, it played the most important role.
Before the war, the plant employed about 1600 workers. It could boast of over 1500 models of cups, jugs, stemware, glasses and other types of glass tableware produced daily.
The year 1923 marks the transformation of the glass factory into a joint-stock company. The following years saw the production of elegant lamps, sugar bowls and ashtrays.
In 1927, Brzozówka heard the news about Juliusz Stolle’s death, and the employees bade him farewell with great regret, as he had contributed a lot to their lives. The front pages of newspapers emphasized that the deceased had left behind not only the family dedicated to glasswork but also an impressive institution – “cultural, national and industrial”.
Juliusz’s sons took control over the Glass Factory and shared their duties. Bronisław and Feliks led to its full boom – at that time operating under the name “Nieman”. Matted, pressed and polished masterpieces were created there. Colourful decorations, floral motifs and geometric shapes became the object of desire among housewives. Moreover, the new owners continued their father’s social activism. They built a kindergarten, an education centre as well as a mother and childcare station.
The Glass Factory was a model enterprise of the interwar period. In 1929, the then President Ignacy Mościcki visited the plant.
In the interwar period, the “Nieman” glass factory was the largest Polish producer and exporter of pressed and blown glass to European countries (including the Netherlands and France), North America (Canada), South America (Argentina), Africa and the Middle East (including Palestine and Syria). Between 1930–1932, the “Nieman” glass factory products constituted from 2.9% to 3.9% of the national production, calculated in tonnes. The share of the factory in the foreign turnover of the Polish glass industry was as follows: in 1930 – 21%, 1931 – 20%, 1932 -19.7%, while the monopoly on glassware was maintained. At that time, there were about 750 people employed.
The usual assortment hardly changed until the end of the 1950s. It was technologically developed, based on traditional manual production. The products were in great demand.
The Glass Factory could boast of many types of products. However, the greatest reason for the employees to be proud was a lamp made of five-layer coloured glass with a drawing of the Royal Castle and Sigismund’s Column, and a blue glass urn, in which Józef Piłsudski’s heart was placed. To this day, we can admire vases in the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw and salad bowls with plates in the collection of the National Museum in Kraków.
Despite the passage of time, the beauty of the Crystal still delights. This handcrafted production gives character to every detail on our stemware, glasses, jugs, etc. THE CLASSICS HAS WON!