Lemberg, Cristallerie de - Story

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In 1925, Theodore Heitzmann, a baker for the Saint-Louis crystal factory who had just lost a large part of his turnover following the creation of a factory-owned bakery, declared that if Saint-Louis knew to make bread, he could make crystal. This is how the Cristallerie Lorraine is created. It begins modestly with a furnace with four pots and a hundred workers, the majority formed in Saint-Louis,  and can from the outset ensure the production of a high-end crystal, in the niche of the arts of the table. The style follows the trends that the international tableware shows reflect annually. The tradition of cut crystal and "double color", Bohemian style, dominates widely. The clientele is from the middle classes whose social rise promotes the development of "department stores".

Like all glassworks, the Heitzmann business was hit by the economic crisis of 1929, the social crisis of 1936, and the war of 1939-1945, which partly destroyed it twice. In 1948, it became a limited liability company, under the name of "Cristallerie Lorraine - The Sons of Theodore Heitzmann".

From 1938, the Nancy artist Auguste Houillon, draftsman and sculptor, had introduced the technique of the "hammered cutting" in the manner of Aristide Colotte. After 1948, an Alsatian painter who had long lived in Austria and Czechoslovakia, Othon Pfeiffer, introduced painting on glass (portrait of the recipient made in grisaille, reproduction of master painting or naturalistic subject), production which remains confidential. In 1955, Lemberg took over Romilly-sur-Andelle's crystal factory, three of his Italian workers and his many models "art glass", in clear crystal worked without hot mold, in the manner of Michel Daum. This production is generating enthusiasm for customers and contributes greatly to the prosperity of the Cristallerie Lorraine. In 1968, two glassmakers and three cutters from Lemberg received the gold medal of the "Meilleurs Ouvriers de France". The company is then at its peak with about 400 workers, including tailors shops outside the factory.

But in 1973, faced with both the competition of mechanical glass, the beginning of the economic crisis and family problems of succession, the Cristallerie Lorraine closed and dismissed 280 workers. It is Joseph Grébil, part of the old crystal factory, who takes over the company in 1976 with the founding of a limited liability company, the "Société Nouvelle des Cristalleries Lorraines", which employs some 40 people.

In 1990, Joseph Grébil sold his company to the Lalique crystal factory. The "Cristalleries de Lorraine" become one of the brands of the Lalique group, alongside Bernardaud and Coquet. Too long a period of slump eventually led to the final closure of the glassworks in 1997.