The history of Julia Glassworks dates back to XIX century and is inextricably linked to two German glass manufacturers: Josephine Glassworks of Szklarska Poręba and Fritz Heckert’s Glassworks of Piechowice.
Josephine Glassworks was founded in 1842 on the orders of Silesian family of Schaffgotsch. Thanks to the genius of architect, Franz Pohl, who built the glassworks and was its first director, it reached exceptional artistic level and quickly received recognition. The products manufactured at the glassworks were sent to residences of royal and aristocratic families all over Europe and the United States.
A confirmation of the mastery of artists employed in Josephine was its great innovation, expressed by introducing new glassmaking techniques, which were later copied by Czech and Italian competitors. The glassworks also won prestigious awards, such as a gold medal at the first world exhibition in London.
In late XIX century, Josephine Glassworks gained a serious competitor when Friedrich Wilhelm Heckert’s glassworks was founded in Piechowice. Heckert was a member of German royal family. His glassworks employed a number of professionals from the Czech side of Karkonosze, including outstanding glass-blowers, glass cutters and glass painters, thanks to whom the factory equaled the older glassworks of Szklarska Poręba in terms of quality.
In 1923 Fritz Heckert’s Glassworks of Piechowice merged with Josephine Glassworks of Szklarska Poręba and Kynast Kristal Neumann & Staebe of Sobieszowo, forming a joint-stock company with the Josephine brand name. From that moment, the two biggest glassworks of Karkonosze jointly continued their conquest of worldwide markets.
After the Second World War, when Silesia became a part of Poland, Josephine, with glassworks in Szklarska Poręba and Piechowice, continued their production. Polish glassworkers and pattern design specialists learned from German masters. In 1958, Josephine Glassworks was renamed Julia Glassworks.
In 1999 the privatized factory was purchased by Americans, who first closed down the factory in Szklarska Poręba, and later ruined the whole glassworks.
In 2006, a part of Julia Glassworks in Piechowice was purchased by a Polish family, which kick-started production. At present the glassworks produces mainly for export, to most demanding markets, to which about 80% of crystal glass works of arts produced in Julia goes.
Julia Glassworks is now the only keepsake of marvelous glassmaking tradition of this part of Karkonosze and the only living monument of Josephine Glassworks in the interior of old Fritz Heckert’s Glassworks.