Sunday, December 18, 2011
It is from Germany that we today get many of our customs, songs, images of Santa, pine trees and European hand blow glass ornaments.
How these traditions traveled to England is interesting. Queen Victoria often visited relatives in Germany in the town of Coburg and while there she fell in love with a young Prince Albert. After they got married they returned to England to raise their family.
The tree that Prince Albert provided his family was admired by all in England. This tree was decorated in the finest of hand blown glass ornaments. Since everyone liked the Queen they copied her Christmas customs including the Christmas tree and ornaments.
A. F.W. Woolworth brought the glass ornament tradition to the United States in 1890. From 1870's to 1930's, Germans made the finest molds for making ornaments with nearly 5,000 different molds at the time. At the turn of the century there were over one hundred small cottage glass blowing workshops in Europe. Today only two respected German factory teams are capable of producing ornaments to the precise specifications of the Christopher Radko collection.
During the hayday of turn of the century ornament making, almost all ornaments were made in Lauscha, a small town nested in the Thuringian mountains. After the war, however, glass ornament production declined. Many of the craftsmen left for West Germany. Quantity rather than quality, was the Communist management philosophy. Some old molds fell into disrepair and many others were left to collect dust or were lost.
In the 1960's it was fashionable to have an Aluminum tree and all the same shape and color ornaments. Many threw away the old ornaments from Germany.
It was in the 1980's that Christopher Radko brought back the old art of making the glass ornaments for all to enjoy.