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Von Poschinger - History

Glassworks in the Bavarian Forest:

Glass has been made in the Bavarian Forest for seven hundred years. The Bavarian Forest is one of the most wooded mountain ranges in Germany. The area was settled only in the 11th to 14th centuries by the farming and cultivation activities of the Counts of Bogen and the Benedictine Monastery at Niederalteich. One important reason why the forest glassworks were started can be found in the efforts of the land-owners to put the remote and undeveloped forests to economic use. The large forest areas that were never considered for settlement and agricultural purposes were used by the glassworks.

Along the Bavarian-Bohemian border, from the Arber to the Rachel mountains, the woods in a depth of four to ten kilometers belonged to the glassworks estates. This inheritance right was an incentive for the glassworks owners to turn the forests into a permanent economic base, and the land-owner was thus guaranteed a regular rental payment. The hereditary and alienable inheritance right became the basis of the later family property.

Another reason why the forest glassworks were created is the fact that, in addition to the raw material of wood, quartz and water were also available. Wood was needed to fire the melting furnaces, for construction, and to produce the potash that was essential for glassmaking. Quartz, which made up about a third of the glass batch, was also available in sufficient quantities in the crystalline forest mountains. Only the lime, that made up about 10% of the glass, the clay for the melting pots, and some rare soils, needed in small quantities for colored glass, had to be obtained elsewhere. The streams drove the waterwheels for the pounding machines and saws.


Work at the furnace.


The glassworks ca. 1920



The history of Frauenau glass:

The first official records dating from 1420 and 1421 and proving the existence of glassworks in the Zwiesel-Frauenau area, which was first settled by the Benedictine monastery of Niederalteich in the second quarter of the 14th century, indicate that these glassworks were already working long before 1420. They were probably started in the course of the settlement, as in documents from 1342 and 1345 the settlers are promised freedom from taxes and the right of inheritance for their farms. So the glassworks estates of Rabenstein and Frauenau may well have been founded in the mid-14th century.

Extract from a hand-drawn plan dated 1702 with church and Poschinger glassworks. The following was written about the Frauenau glassworks:

Au. Land and factory, in which the very finest mirrors are blown, situated on the Kleiner Regen".


For centuries the Rabenstein, Zwiesel and Frauenau glassworks were the deepest in the forest and nearest to the Bohemian border to the North-East of Zwiesel. In front of the glassworks estates lay the settled land, behind them the immeasurable forests. For a first comprehensive report on the glassworks of the Bavarian Forest we have to thank the geographer, cartographer and professor of mathematics at the University of Ingolstadt, Philipp Apian (1531-1589), who carried out the first survey of the Bavarian land on behalf of Duke Albrecht V between 1554 and 1561. Apian mentions "not a few glass and mirror works along the Bohemian forest". He also wrote about the Zwiesel works. According to the then works master the works in Zwieselau were still called "Zadelrs works" and are described by Apian as a "farm and also mirror works". About the Frauenau works he wrote "Aw-possessio et officina, in qua specula politissima conflantur, ad mirorem Reginum sita." -Land and factory in which the very finest mirrors are blown, located on the Kleiner Regen".

It is presumed that the first glassworks stood on the slope between the areas of Zell and Reifberg. The oldest official document to mention a glassworks in Frauenau is that of 13 December 1492. With this deed Balthasar Pfahler, Judge in Zwiesel, sells his half share in the glassworks " situated by our Frauen Au" to Erasmus Mosburger, resident of Grafenau.

Since the 12th century the Poschingers have cropped up again and again in connection with judges' offices and noble seats here and there in Lower Bavaria. Poschingers are encountered as patricians, councilors, burgers and traders in Straubing, Deggendorf and Regensburg. At that time Dagenberg had several domains in the area North of the Danube and the Bohemian border.


Glassmakers from the Oberzwieselauer Poschinger works :



On 10 July 1568 Joachim Poschinger gave up his service as a local official and bought the already mentioned "Zadlers works" (Zwieslau) in Frauenau with inheritance right from the Degenbergers. The property seemed to have declined, as the will reports that the works had been closed down. They were sold to Joachim Poschinger so that he and all his heirs and descendants could "again turn the said glassworks . to the good, build them up usefully and provisionally, and improve them .. This too made the works, which till then had been a "mirror works", profitable again and they were so successful that in 1582 he was able to build a second works. The works made mirror, window and spectacle glass, and glass for various vessels. In 1587 he divided the estate between his two sons Hans and Paulus.


Purchase deed Frauenau glassworks 1605:

The purchase of the glassworks estate by Joachim Poschinger starts the history of the Poschingers as glassworks and land owners in the Bavarian Forest, a history that has continued uninterrupted until the present day. A tradition that is unique in the world.


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The information contained on this page is provided with the permission of Von-Poschinger and was translated for the use of this site.  Reproduction or other uses of this information or pictures is not permitted.

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