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A Tradition in Quality Steins


There is a tradition of glass in the Freiherr von Poschinger family. The Poschingers are one of the oldest families in Bavaria. The first "Poschinger" is mentioned in an official document as early as 1140. At the instructions of Duke Albrecht V, in 1547 the Poschingers were given a coat of arms, which is still used to this day. In 1568 the family acquired the Zadlershtte glassworks (Zwieselau) near Frauenau. This was the start of the history of the Poschingers as glassmakers and landowners in the Bavarian Forest, a history that still continues today.

In 1605 the family acquired the glassworks and land in Frauenau. Over the centuries the family had glassworks in Spiegeltte, Buchenau, Oberzwieselau and Theresienthal. The estate and glassworks in Frauenau were maintained as the only ones of their kind over the centuries. The glass factory is the oldest glassworks in the Bavarian Forest, with the oldest family tradition in the world. Glass from the Bavarian Forest flourished and achieved world renown with Classicism and then Jugendstil.

Glass is made from melting a mixture of quartz sand, soda, lime. and potash at over 1400C, and is one of the oldest materials known to man. 


Many well-known artists and designers have worked for the company, which deals with all corners of the world - Jean Beck, Peter Behrens, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Hans Christiansen, Georg Karl von Reichenbach, Richard Riemerschmid, and Karl Schmoll von Eisenwerth. In collaboration with the best glassmakers, they have created pieces of glass of the choicest quality.

Poschinger glasses has adorned the tables and residences of many kings' and princes' families. The von Poschinger glassworks were suppliers to the courts of the Bavarian and French kings. Even the Czar's court in St .Petersburg enjoyed the good drinking-glasses made in the Bavarian Forest. King Ludwig III of Bavaria and King Friedrich August III of Saxony spent a few days on the Oberfrauenau estate, went hunting in the forests, and visited the glass factory in Frauenau.

Special sets made of the finest crystal glass were designed and produced in the Poschinger works For their sparkling festivities. Poschinger glasses have been traveling round the world for centuries. They are part of the Zeppelins' exclusive equipment. An uncle of the family, together with Count Zeppelin, played a significant part in the development of the airplane. In the elegant lounges and restaurants on board many ocean and river steamers, glasses from the von Poschinger works formed part of the refined tableware. The numerous prizes awarded at international exhibitions have contributed greatly to the extraordinary renown of the Poschinger glasses. At the international World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, von Poschinger Jugendstil vases won the gold medal.



H.M. King Ludwig III of Bavaria on a visit to Frauenau








H.M. King Friedrich August III from Saxony on a visit to Frauenau


Along with Tiffany, Ltz and Galle, Poschinger still has the best reputation for Jugendstil glass in the world today. Von Poschinger glasses can be found in collectors' homes, in museums, and at international art auctions.

The estate, then as now, forms a unit consisting of the glass factory, agriculture, and forestry. The economic activities are marked by the landscape:


The soft and densely wooded mountain range of the Bavarian Forest as far as the border with Bohemia forms the "Green Roof" of Europe. In summer lush greenery and in winter endless snow. Cow and game-keeping all year round on the estate meadows and pastures, and the estate's own delicatessen and restaurant satisfy the desire for natural healthy food. This idyll appeals to many holiday visitors and those wanting to recharge their batteries. In comfortable holiday accommodation and natural forest huts they spend relaxing and varied days in the Bavarian Forest. This can include a visit to the Poschinger glass factory. Here more than 400 years of tradition helps the painstaking work of the craftsmen produce fine glasses, which are then decorated with engraving, grinding, and painting. Top-quality craftsmanship and fine art still produce individual pieces and unique works of art. Poshinger glass - expressing style and class .

Here  are a few examples of the fine --High Quality-- Glass Steins Produced by Von Poschinger






              From the "gob" to the goblet - the glass stein process

With his breath, fire, and glowing molten glass, with skill that has been handed down over centuries, the glassmaker shapes the glass. Every one is different. Every one a work of art. Unique and individual, like the human being who forms it with his handiwork, skill, and boundless care. Only a human being has the necessary craftsmanship, the skill that turns the mouth-blown glasses into something special, to make them unique pieces full of personal expression, full of soul.

Shaping the hot glass.



The glass designer develops the shape of the wine glass using sketches, measurement diagrams, and the "paper cut". The works foreman is told to make a few sample glasses, and once the shape has been given final approval, production can begin.

In our factory all glasses are blown by mouth. This means that they are made using 100% traditional skills. The glass is made in a workshop, where three to four glassmakers work. The workshop is managed by master glassmakers.

The "gob"-maker takes a small "Posten" (this is what we call the small quantity of molten glass needed to start) from the glass pot with the blowpipe. A "gob" is formed by rolling it back and forth on an iron and carefully measured blowing. The quantity of glass needed for the goblet cannot be taken from the pot all at once with the thin pipe. As soon as the glass ball has set, it serves as a carrier for the next largest quantity of liquid glass. So the "gob"-maker enlarges the "gob" by this "overlapping" process. He forms and cools the glass with the wet spoon-like "Wulgerholz" and blows it up a little before carrying on again. Sometimes the unshaped glass is blown into an "optic", an iron device with blades, grooves or protrusions, or turned, to later produce structures and waves on the surface of the glass. Then the "blower" takes the "Posten", enlarges it by blowing it up, and shapes it with the "Wulgerholz", scissors and tongs, before blowing the molten glass ball into the wooden form, the "model". The forms are made of beechwood or sometimes pear construction wood from our own forests.

The glass turner at work.







The glass is blown into the wooden form.

The "form turner" works in the turning shop, a workshop with turning bench, belt saw and a "damp area" to store the finished wooden forms. The form turner drills and screws a cavity in the beech block, that has been stored in water for months, as it is rotating on the turning bench, using long very sharp turning steels, until it takes on the shape of the future glass. He uses a paper pattern to check, which is called a "cut". At first the cut is slightly folded. At the end this pattern must be flat and fit exactly into the cavity. The "model turner" needs a trained eye and fingertip to feel any unevenness in the form, as the smallest defect in the negative form is automatically transferred to the glass container, and even a skilled glassmaker cannot compensate for this. Only glasses that cannot be turned in the form because they have elaborate shapes or relief decoration are blown in metal forms. Between the blowing processes the model is dipped in the water. In the model a strong and porous layer of charcoal forms even after the first use, which can absorb a very large quantity of water. The blowing creates a layer of steam between the form wall and the glass surface. This gives the glass its incomparably smooth surface and protects the wooden form from quickly burning up. On average 150 glasses can be made from one model before the form is burned up.

 Before he starts blowing, the glassmaker has to put the glass in the best form and divide the glass up correctly. The glass must not be too hot or it will run, but nor must it be too cold, or it will set too quickly. The blowing technique must also be adapted to the particular conditions, so that as the glass slowly cools down it can fit against the form walls. The surplus glass forms the "moil" over the form opening. It is taken off after cooling, before the edge of the glass is ground, or knocked off by the glassmaker if the glass edge is finished in the furnace. The top part of the goblet now hangs ready on the blowpipe and is taken over by the craftsman sitting on the bench. Meanwhile the assistant has taken a small quantity of glass from the pot with the "iron". The master glassmaker takes glass off with scissors and cuts it at the bottom. Using a skilful hand, pincers and tongs, he pulls the end. With another "Posten" brought to him by the assistant, he starts the base. "He pushes the base up and smoothes the edge with a piece of paper. Finally, the master glassmaker holds the goblet high with the blowpipe and inspects the glass for precision of measurement and purity, using a metal pattern and a critical eye. He then puts it on the fork held by the carrier, who takes it to the cooling conveyor to slowly cool down. Each individual hand movement is handed down over the years and demands dexterity, experience and ability - glass has been made like this for centuries at Poschinger.


Working at the furnace



With other pieces of glass such as bowls, vases and beer tankards, there are many more stages and techniques. The glassmaker decorates some glass at the furnace with so-called "works techniques".



Cooling the glass.

As soon as it has been made, the glass has to be evenly heated in a "cool furnace" until it almost reaches the softening point, and then slowly cooled down again, to make all parts of the glass expand evenly. Depending on the type of glass, the time spent on the cooling conveyor lasts 1.5 to 4 hours. As most glass objects contain varying amounts of glass (e.g. the base of a vase is thicker than the walls), if they were to cool down suddenly and unevenly in the air, this would lead to such great differences in tension that they would cause the glass stein to break.

After cooling the glasses go through a few important stages:

Removal of the top.

A diamond or steel pen is used to score the place to be removed (this lifts the surface tension) and then a flame directed at exactly the same place heats it up. The top drops off horizontally at the scored place.

Surface grinding or melting the neck edges.

The glasses still have a sharp uneven edge. Surface grinding takes place either on the horizontal grinding disk or a belt grinding machine. In addition, the inside and outside edges are missed. When glasses have thin sides, particularly glass goblets, the edge is melted again. The glass edges are heated again by flames on a special melting machine until they become soft. The edge is rounded off.


With vases, for example, the so-called moil is ground on the base of the piece concerned. This removes the place that stuck to the glassmaker's blowpipe when the vase opening was being made and grinds it clean away.

The final stages.

After these many stages, each individual glass is checked again, signed, labeled and packed. Glasses that still have to be ground, engraved or painted go on to the "Decorating" stage.


Decorating the glass.Glass grinding.

 This method of decorating glass steins and other products gives it sparkle and brilliance by breaking up the light. In order to obtain an even decoration, the glass is drawn on (divided up) before being ground. Horizontal and vertical lines are drawn to divide up the glass as desired using water-resistant dye, lithographic chalk, or similar substances. The main lines are drawn in roughly with silicon carbonate disks. This is called the "preliminary tear". Diamond grinding disks with coarse grinding are used. To cool the glass and to clean the grinding disk, water is passed constantly onto the grinding stone. With this process the grinding is rough and mat. Then the glass is ground with fine corundum brick to give a polishable surface. During polishing fine layers of glass are removed. For polishing wheels poplar wood disks are used first, pressed cork disks in combination with pounce for polishing, then, in the second stage, the "fine polishing", felt or brush wheels coated with aluminum oxide are used as the polishing agent.



Glass engraving.

 Glass engraving is also referred to as "glass cutting". Using extremely small copper wheels, diamond needles and lubricating gel, engraving can produce the finest and most detailed ornamental decorations. Portraits, lettering, animals and other motifs contrast with the generally geometric shapes produced by grinding on the stein



Glass painting

 The colors used most frequently on glass are the so-called "melt colors". To produce these colors, the individual components and the glass batch are mixed in dry and powdered form in certain proportions. They are melted into the glass, and when they turn into soft and hot liquid they are put into water. The flux sets and breaks up into little glass crumbs. These are then turned into very fine powder. Before processing, the colors are mixed with turpentine or similar oils and painted onto the glass with fine brushes. The decoration is then burnt or melted on in the "baking furnace". The melting process makes the decorations form a fast insoluble compound with the glass. Some paintings are also done in pure gold, silver or platinum.


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.

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.


High Quality German Glass Beer Steins by Von Poschinger

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.

Learn More about Von Poschinger Glass.  Their History and Techniques:

History of the Von Poschinger Glass Works.

The Process of Producing Quality Glass Products at Von Poschinger.

The history of glass blowing
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