About Polish Glass Christmas Ornaments

About Polish Glass and Komozja Christmas Ornaments

Polish Glass

According to archeological digs, Polish craftsman knew how to blow glass in the 10th Century. However, the first written documentation is dated 1310. We also know that a very busy glass factory was located in the town of Szklarska Poreba in 1366.

Many stained glass and useable glass articles were produced in Poland during the Middle Ages. The pieces were functional, artistic -- and very expensive. To avoid breakage, the glass was packed and kept in special wooden boxes, just like the ones Komozja uses today.

In the 16th century, there were approximately thirty working glasshouses in the country. The industry grew and by the 1700s, Polish glass production had reached new levels of excellence - utensils, mirrors and windowpanes were renowned for their quality. Unfortunately, the splendor didn't last for long. In the same century, Poland was destroyed as a nation by its neighbors. Austria, Russia, and Prussia portioned the country into three controlled pieces. One ramification was the closing of many glass manufacturers. Many of the glassblowers immigrated to the US and taught their craft to other American settlers.

In the late 19th Century, Poland again started producing glass articles and by the 1930s the number of glass manufacturers had increased to seventy. Polish decorative glass, crystal, and glass ornaments are still very much in demand today.

Glass Ornaments And Komozja

The tradition of decorating a Christmas tree started in Germany or Sweden. It is believed that the first glass ornaments were made in a little German town called Lauscha in the late 1800s, whether it is true, is difficult to say.

Polish artisans began creating glass ornaments in the beginning of the 20th century. There was a factory in the south of Poland owned by the Rylskich family and before World War II they produced beautiful hand made ornaments. Unfortunately, when the war was over there was a greater demand for laboratory glass and the factory changed its profile.

Komozja was established in 1945 when a blower named Kozak got together with a family called Mostowski and opened a factory of their own. Mrs. Mostowski's maiden name was Zjawiony. Using the first letters of each last name for their business, (KO-MO-ZJA) they started producing glass cigarette holders, vials and glass ornaments. Komozja did extremely well and even began exporting the ornaments to the United States. Regrettably, the enterprise did so well it attracted the attention of the communist officials. Owning a private business was against the rules, especially if it prospered. Komozja had eighty-six employees; the limit was 50. So, in 1949, the government shut the factory down stating that too many people worked there.

The family refused to allow this setback to destroy their life's work, so they opened a new workshop the same year. It was called "Record." This company was also nationalized in 1952.

Frustrated but not beaten, the family allowed a labor co-op to exist in their factory. This is a system where a facility could be run by the private sector, but it is owned and subsidized by the government, regardless of productivity. It was the only way they could keep their art alive. During this time, they produced glass Christmas ornaments and sequins for embroidering folk costumes.

In 1980, the Mostowski children Aleksander and Robert started lobbying the government for permission to regain ownership of their business. It took one year, but their bid was successful. The two started creating glass ornaments in the basement of the family home and worked at every station - blowing, silvering and lacquering each piece. Their wives decorated and packed each piece.

In 1989, the Mostowski daughters and their husbands teamed up with their brothers. Together they were finally able to build a new factory and call it their own. Forty years later, the name Komozja was restored. The factory is now a state-of-the-art and it is the leading producer of fine glass ornaments.

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