VISIT US Bergdala glastekniska museum


 
to the start page

For other languages we offer / för andra språk erbjuder vi


- The processes from an environmental perspective
- Environmental problems, history and future
- Why "Kingdom of crystal"?



Why a "Kingdom of Crystal", and why here, in Småland?

The lakes and mires in Småland have always been rich in bog iron ore. Furthermore, the landscape has always been densely forested and there have always been plenty of small rivers to supply water power. Thus small-scale iron production was established already ages ago.

Originally these small ironworks did produce for the local market but during the 1600's did the export to England and to other countries expand. To some extent this was due to an import of expertise, Lancashire smiths, to improve the quality of the export goods. So though the ironworks were small, they were active on an international market.

By the shift 17-/1800 did the English steel industry start to use coal for fuel and the blast furnaces could be built larger. From all practical points coal is not available in Sweden and the small blast furnaces in this district, using charcoal, could not stand the competition.

So when the ironworks closed down it left three major groups of people and competence out of work:
  • First there were the squires who had the expertise and the experience to run a qualified process industry where the competence and the skill of the workforce must be tip-top and where the products were exported to a competitive and international market.
  • Second there was a working class cadre used to the heavy, hot and dirty working conditions that were the reality of that times steel industry. Among the workers were also specialists in furnace construction, furnace building, firing and several others.
  • Third there was an ample supply of fuel and the farmers in the landscape were not only willing to deliver fuel but were also dependant on the extra income provided for the fuel deliveries.

The processes in glass production to quite some parts resembles those in iron- and steel production. Furnaces are similar, temperatures are about the same, and working conditions are again similar. For a competent entrepreneur the change from running a small iron work to running a small glasswork will not be very big.

The iron-work squires simply used the infrastructure already at hand and made clever use of their own experience to set up glassworks to sell on the export market instead of running ironworks.

Instead of importing Lancashire smiths from England for the peak competence needed, glass-blowing masters from Germany were imported and still many families in the area have German-sounding names.

The sand found in Småland is not clean enough for a clear glass and soon the glassworks started importing sand from Denmark. Today the main part of the sand is imported from Belgium.

Examples of glassworks which followed ironworks

(All literature references in Swedish)

•  Alsterfors - read about the ironworks in
  -    Blomén, S.: Alsterfors järnbruk. (Älghultskrönika. 1 (1941) s. 43-46.)
  -    Fogelberg, T.: Om anläggandet av Alsterfors järnbruk. (Älghultskrönika. 7 (1950) s. 33-37, 89-94.)
  -    Fogelberg, T.: Ur Alsterfors järnbruks historia. (Älghultskrönika. 23 (1966) 89-94.)
  -    Fogelberg, T.: Ur en 80-årig räkenskapsbok. Alsterforsbrukets avräkningsbok år 1893. (Älghultskrönika. 30 (1973) s. 55-58.)

•  Flerohopp
Read about the history of Flerohopp on another website.
  -    Flerohopps glasbruk 1892-1942, Stockholm 1942
  -    Det var en gång ett brukssamhälle, from the series Glasriket: Människan - miljön - framtiden

•  Flygsfors
  -    Järn, trä, glas och sedan..., from the series Glasriket: Människan - miljön - framtiden
  -    Flygsfors glasbruk, from a series of pamphlets about local glass history

•  Lindshammar
  -    Lindshammars glasbruk, from a series of pamphlets about local glass history

•  Orrefors
  -    Krantz, O: Orrefors: från järn till glas Växjö 1998, ISBN 91 87674 149
  -    Orrefors glasbruk, from a series of pamphlets about local glass history

•  Åryd
the glassworks has been closed for a long time.
There is no sign of the glassworks, but the old blast furnace is still there.