This website is bilingual, written both in Swedish and English. For those of you preferring another language, we provide "google translate". Be aware that automatic translation sometimes gives very odd results...

Denna webplats är tvåspråkig, finns på både svenska och englska. För er som föredrar andra språk, har vi lagt till "google translate". Kom ihåg att automatiska översättningar ibland ger konstiga resultat...

The history of the building

  After consultation with the antiquarian at Smålands Museum and the person responsible for the culture at the municipality, we have decided to do as little as possible to the interior of the building: the walls show traces of 25-30 years of work, and 60 years of further wear.

The photo above is, unfortunately, un-dated, but is probably showing the second "hot-shop" building, the building erected after the fire in 1897. To the right, behind the boxes and the wood piles, one can see the cutting shop - or, it might have been called the "cofffee pumpkin shed" at the time (see below). That is the building where Bergdala Glastekniska Museum is found.
(Read more about coffee pumpkins at the bottom of this page)

Bergdala glassworks was started in 1889. There was a cutting-shop from the beginning. We have found information that there were 12 cutting wheels, and that they were powered by a locomobile, which at the same time was used to power a saw. (Hermelin, Hovmantorpsbladet, 1952)

The first glassworks, including cutting-shop, storehouse and woodshed, was destroyed by a fire in May 1897. There are differing information about when the re-building was done, but it appears that everything was up and running in 1907, at the latest.
Thus: this building was erected some time between 1897 and 1907.

But... the book En gång Bergdala, alltid Bergdala relates what Albert Björk, born 1901, tells: that there was no cutting-shop before 1923. At that time (he tells) the old "cofffee pumpkin shed", was equipped with the basic machines for "post-production" work - grinders, polishing equipment and some stone wheels for facet cutting.
This information have us reassess the age of the building; now we only know the earliest time (1897) and the latest, which has to be set to "before 1923".

The village was electrified in 1922, but the electricity was not enough for the cutting shop. Instead they used a kerosene engine, but according to Albert Björk that engine was not very reliable.
The hydropower plant (very small) was built by the miller at Lövås, a long kilometre south. The mill and the power turbine are long gone, but the dam and the building which once housed the saw are still there. (See the map for a walk on the Bergdala village site. If the weather is nice, a walk is recommended!)

Nowadays we call this buildig "The Old Cutting shop". According to info in Bergdala, en liten guide (only in Swedish), there were once 21 workplaces: 18 cutting wheels and 3 grinders.
They were powered by belts - the transmission axle still sits in the ceiling - by a steam engine (some say) or a kerosene engine (Albert Björk said). Outside the north gable there is something that can be interpreted as a former base for a machine.

Once there was probably a door towards the west (the parking space), north of the existing door (which leads to the attic).

Sometime in the 1950ies there was built a new and better cutting shop, as an extension to the hot shop. "The new cutting shop" is situated in the long building you see directly north of this house. (According to tradition it has no windows to the south. If you walk around the building you can see that the north wall mostly consists of windows.)

To the right, a picture of the (new) cutting shop from october 1967. (Thanks to the photo-shop which dated all pictures!)
1967: interior new cutting shop

  • Hermelin: from Hovmantorpsbladet 1952
  • En gång Bergdala, alltid Bergdala
  • Bergdala, en liten guide
  • Lamke och Melchert: Glasbrukens byggnadskultur 1998

Coffee pumpkins were made by most glassworks, in many different sizes. They were never(?) "properly" annealed ("We just put them on top of the furnace"); they often had a raw upper edge, just sheared off.
There are many anecdotes about coffee pumpkins, for example that they should be good for hammering in a 4-inch nail (do not try this at home!)

One statement from literature, about "standard" sizes: the pumpkins were specified in inches, where one inch was the equivalent of 2.5 centilitres. The same source says the were made in 3 sizes, 12, 38 and 75 inches. Apart from the fact that an inch is a measure of length, while a centilitre is a measure of volume, the statement is not true: the biggest pumpkin in the pictures below takes 6 litres (the whole sphere part)...

two pumpkins, with a pen for scale
sheared edge
The raw, sheared, edge of the 6-litres coffee pumpkin to the left.

Below: the pumpkin placed in a suitable fire hole in the woodstove.
pumpkin basket
on the stove
A common "serving contraption" in nickle-plated tin. These things were called "baskets" and were made from different materials, such as straw, birch bark, wood...
Folklivsarkivet i Lund (archive for folklore, in Lund) has an account (or anecdote, if you will) written down in 1965. It comes from Algutsboda, and can be read here.
Another source is Klarström: Kaffekulan och kulekaffet (from Kronobergsboken 1967)
Back to top