» Exhibitions » Glass of Subcarpathian Glassworks


he exhibition “The Glass of the Subcarpathian Glassworks” was created to present the works of Krosno glassworkers and show the history of glass production in the whole world. The display contains decorative and artistic glass exhibits. They are illustrated by pictures, archive materials and prints showing the history of glass production from ancient times to the end of the 20th century.

The intensive development of Polish industry started only after Poland had regained independence in the 20th century. It was then that many glassworks in the south of the country developed. Construction of the glassworks in Krosno started in 1923 and production began on the 24th of January 1924. The glassworks was owned by a Krakow company, but the first glass workers came to Krosno from Żółkiew (now in the Ukraine), from Piotrków Trybunalski and from Silesian glassworks. The range of products was extensive with utility household glass products through to light fitting. During Nazi-German occupation in the Second World War Doctor Oskar Happak was the manager of the factory, then named “Polnische Glashütten” Aktiengesselschaft Krosno. In 1944 all the buildings were burnt down by retreating Germans. The glass workers had rebuild the factory and in January 1945 the first products – oil lamp shades – appeared. In 1958 the technical glass plant "Polanka" and the "Krosno" industrial glass factory had merged, to create the “Krosno Glassworks”. In the next few years, other new factories were incorporated in the structure of the Krosno Glassworks, such as two industrial glass factories in Krosno (1962), the technical glass factory in Jasło (1967, operating from 1928), “Krosno III” and the fibreglass factory (1971). From 1968 in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship many private glass factories producing household, decorative and artistic glass developed. The artistic glass factory in Dobieszyn, run by J.D.M. Kazana, opened as the first. In the next few years many new factories were opened in Brzozów, Krosno, Szczebiny, Rymanów, Iwonicz, Tarnowiec, Sanok, Żarnowiec, Odrzykoń, Rogi and Łężany. 

Over the past 50 years most of the glassworks products from Krosno have been sent to markets all over the world. Excellent artists, designers, steelworkers and technologists are involved in the process of producing glass. Thanks to them we can be sure that the rich tradition of glass production in the Krosno area will be continued in the future. Most of the products are made from sodium-calcic glass. All the products are hand-made. It is the oldest known technique of producing glass and it demands from the workman wide knowledge about the behaviour of glass in the process of cooling. Skills like that make it possible to decorate glass while forming it (metallurgic method).

The Subcarpathian Museum in Krosno has a collection of modern glass beginning with 1960 and is among the few collections that exist. The main pride of the collection of the Department of History of Glass and Glass Industry are exhibits and archive materials coming from Krosno glassworks and other glassworks from the area of the Subcarpathian region. The glassware on display is a result of the glassworkers' long experience and fascination with glass. The exhibition “The Glass of the Subcarpathian Glassworks” is great proof that Subcarpathian glass is of high-quality, although the technology is still evolving.

Krzysztof Gierlach
Kierownik Działu Historii Szkła i Przemysłu Szklarskiego