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The Croismare Glasworks

In 1858, Eugène-Auguste Guerner, glass chemist and Jacob Stenger, merchant, coming from Vallerysthal, buy a land outside the village of Croismare near Nancy, to build a glass factory. The factory starts its activity in 1859 as  "Establishments Guerner", 5 avenue d'Alsace. Stenger has disappeared we do not know why. Until 1886, the glassworks will manufacture household glassware. In 1865 the company is renamed "Verrerie Guerner et Bailly" (Eugene's son-Bailly is Guerner). Cramped in the original buidings, the factory will expand in 1868.

Under the effect of cheap glass imports from Bohemia, the activity decreases and the company stops its activity.

In 1894 the factory is bought by various investors and some employees and a new company is created. It is named "SA des Verreries de Croismare". The plant employs over 300 people including 190 men, 90 women and 80 children.

The economic downturn that follows allows the Hinzelin family Croismare to buy a majority share of the glassware that is now named "SA des Grandes Verreries de Croismare".

In 1913, the staff is reduced to 200 people. The activity will be discontinued during the World War I.

In 1919, the Muller brothers decided to resume the factory.



The Muller brothers

Sons of an innkeeper of Kalhausen the Muller brothers, who are not yet 17 years old, fleeing the area occupied by the German since 1870 for the city of Nancy.
Auguste arrives in 1893. It states to the authorities that he is a glass engraver. Henri joined Gallé at age 28, Désiré does the same at 17 years old as an enamel decorator.
Henri and Désiré  leave Gallé around 1895 to create their own workshop in Luneville. Jean starts at Galle's at 24 as an engraver on crystal.

In 1896, the entire Muller family (father, mother and children) live in Nancy.

Camille works at Daum's, Baccarat and then finally he goes to Sèvres.

Eugene, Victor and Pierre join the Galle's workshop.


Towards 1904, Eugene joins Henri and Désiré at Luneville. In the workshop of the Rue Sainte-Anne, the three brothers develop their business. Other siblings join them.
They buy their "whites" in the Hinzelin's glassworks (from 1895-1914). Then they engrave, carve, ... They produce vases, cups, ewers, sculptures ... The techniques used are cameo engraving in all its forms, inlaid glass, enamelling, overlays, ...

In 1900, Henri leases space inside the Croismare glassworks and transfers there some of the workshops of the Rue Sainte-Anne in Luneville. It was at this time that appears the signature "Muller Croismare près Nancy."

The Muller brothers are artisans, not industrial. They multiply the number of superimposed layers of glass and will remain unmatched in this technique. The pieces of this time are among the best because they keep only perfect ones. They become  specialists in color and associate all the techniques learnt before but impoving them.

In 1905, Désiré goes Val-Saint-Lambert (Belgium), leaving Henri in Croismare. Jean Auguste and Camille leave home Houdaille in Sèvres and Emile becomes assistant director of the Choisy-le-Roi glassworks.

Eugene joined Désiré in Val-Saint-Lambert, where they launch the production of works of art under the direction of Leon Ledru. 411 different models will be created. In 1908, Eugene and Desire return to Luneville. With Henri they will open two new workshops and begin a semi-industrial production with the introduction of lines of products and manufacturing of fixtures. They receive a silver medal at the International Exhibition of Turin in 1911 and a gold medal at the exhibition in Lyon in 1914.

The activity stops in 1914 with the beginning of the war during which Eugene was killed.


  


In 1919 the Croismare glassworks has been partially destroyed, the production equipment is outdated. Henri and Désiré buy the majority of shares of the Hinzelin's glassworks and create "Les Grandes Verrerie et Cristalleries de Croismare". The buildings are renovated, new ovens are installed. In the same time, they create the new company "Verrerie d'Art Muller Frères" to give a name to their activity in Luneville. Pieces made in Luneville will be signed "Muller Frères Luneville". Those made in Croismare will be signed "G.V. de Croismare ".

In 1925, they manage 250 employees in Croismare and 100 in Luneville. The Muller brothers create, innovate and produce with genius. They follow, anticipate, generate and invent trends with talent. They create pieces of all types, all colors, all shapes and for all budgets.

In 1927, the two entities are united definitively under a new name: "Grandes Verreries de Croismare et Verrerie d'Art Muller Frères Réunies SA". Its headquarters is based in Croismare to be transferred in 1931 at Luneville. The company has 350 employees in Croismare and 100 in Luneville.


The Art Deco chandeliers of that time sometimes are monumental pieces. The molded-pressed glass takes the shape of plaques, frosted or polished, and worked with acid or wheel. The animal vases are among the most beautiful creations of that time.

Désiré refines the intercalaire technique in 1929. He creates a new line with the ironworker Chapelle. The glass is blown into a metal frame of animal shape in an Art Deco style. These pieces are hollow and intended to be electrified.






                            


At the top of their art, the Muller brothers are hit hard by the crisis of 1929. Exports stop short. They also suffer from the Daum glassworks "La Belle Etoile" based in Croismare few years ago.

In 1934, the Muller family is seized and the glassworks activity goes into another direction. Victor died in 1935, Henri in 1936.

In 1936, the glassworks stops all activity.

                 Ref 16902 - Large Acid-etched Table Lamp by MULLER FRERES 1930


In 1938 Georges, Désiré's son, and Marcel Muller, Henri's son, join their forces to create a new workshop, 11 rue du Faubourg d'Einville in Lunéville. They produce in the same taste as their parents, but with some differences. Times have changed and the World War II happens. The company stops in 1940.

In 1943, Désiré starts a very small workshop where he produces his own pieces. There he makes some fantastic pieces. In 1946, his son Georges creates a new company with his father. Up to 10 employees will work in this company. Désiré will work the glass until his death in 1952. Georges is alone and stops his activity in 1957. This time the story is over.

(see our sources on library and external links pages)

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