Blown glass ornaments are part of every Christmas tree decoration. Their diversity, elegance and uniqueness is something we all admire, but little do we know about the history of this element of Christmas decoration. That’s why we brought you the story about blown glass ornaments.
Sign up to get our blog in a weekly email
Let’s find out more about this beautiful part of Christmas decorations, that fits perfectly to any kind of Christmas tree.
An Idea Behind Blown Glass Ornaments
When the Christmas decorations still was a new custom, people aimed to develop various methods of decorating Christmas trees with as much light as possible. They first used lighted candles, after that came actual electric Christmas lights, such as electric bulbs.
But people wanted to amplify a little bit more of sparkle and shimmer, that's why metallic tinsel and glass baubles became necessary part of decoration for the well-dressed Christmas tree. The idea of creating blown glass ornaments was a European invention and later became popular in the whole world.
Blown Glass Ornaments manufactured in Germany
Germany is the country that was first to add Christmas tree decoration as an important part of celebrating this holiday, furthermore it was the country that started the process of creating blown glass ornaments, that replaced edible German decoration such as apples, nuts and marzipan cake.
It all started in Central Germany, where families manufactured hand-blown glass ornaments. The tradition of glass-making was common in the town of Lauscha, where a lot of families did glass-making manufacture, back in the 1860s.
The Process of Creating Blown Glass Ornaments
In the typical glass-making families, the process of making a blown glass ornaments looked like this: the father with adult son blew glass tubing that was heated over a Bunsen burner into ornament shapes. The other members of the family had the role of applying a silver nitrate solution to the insides of the blown glass ornaments, in order to make them reflect light.
Then ornaments were left to dry overnight. After that, each blown glass ornament was dipped in brightly colored lacquer and decorated with paint of some kind of elegant attachment such as ribbon, spun glass, or feathers. The glass stem need to be cut, and a metal hanger was attached instead of it.
Different types of Christmas ornaments
The most common blown glass ornaments made by German families were balls and ovals, but by making plaster or metal molds into which the glass was blown, many other interesting shapes were made.
The most common ones were hunting horns, smokers’ pipes, elaborate bells, delicate vases, and little birds. The colors used for these early ornaments imitated those of the colored sugars used to decorate confectionery.
When Glass Ornaments Production Started in Other Countries?
The exclusive producer of glass ornaments until 1925 was Germany. With German immigrants, the tradition of manufacturing blown glass ornaments came to the United States. Soon enough this kind of ornaments became popular in America.
After Germany and the States, back in 1925, Japan was the next country to produce significant quantities of ornaments. In Europe, the countries that had strong glass-making traditions were Czechoslovakia and Poland, and they entered the marketplace in the late 1920s.
Glass Ornaments Production in the United States
The United States imported over 250 million handmade ornaments by 1935, but still didn’t have an industry of its own. In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, Europe was shut off supplies of glass ornaments among many other European imports. That is when New York entered this industry.
The production started with the ribbon machine that had been developed in 1926. By adapting this machine to the glass shapes needed for the ornaments, it could produce over 2,000 ornament balls a minute, and about 100 million ornaments per production year could be generated by ribbon machines.
Today, the mass-production of glass ornaments works the same way. The other method to make a Christmas ornaments is by hand with blown glass and specially designed molds as they have been made for over 100 years.
This was a story about blown glass ornaments which are irreplaceable part of every Christmas decoration. Knowing this, maybe we’ll appreciate more the value of the shiny and stunningly beautiful piece of glass hanging on our Christmas tree.
Discover other Christmas decorations on Schmidt Christmas Market.
Sign up to get our blog in a weekly email