Verrerie de Goetzenbruck
THE ABANDONED GLASS FACTORY IN FRANCE
These are the old buildings of ‘Vergo’ or ‘VErrerie de GOetzenbruck’. Built in 1721, the glassworks made glass for watches and spectacle lenses.
Since 1841, the factory has produced watch crystals specifically for the Swiss watch industry. Optical glass was another specialty of the company. Fifty colors and different shades were used for the manufacturing of sunglasses. The glass was first blown into large balls, which were then broken, cut into small pieces and pressed into a mold to a maximum thickness of 2.5 mm and then shaped.
Christmas ball ornaments
During that time Christmas trees were decorated with apples. But due to a bad harvest the factory started producing small glass balls to decorate the Christmas tree. As a result the Christmas Ball Ornament was invented in this factory. The production of Christmas balls became an important part of the factory. A team of glassmakers manufactured at least 110 balls per hour. In the 1930s, annual production reached 80 thousand balls, in the 50s already 200 thousand. Starting 1964, Vergo stopped blowing Christmas balls because the automated production plants made it possible to produce much cheaper balls.
In the late 1960s, the plant was taken over by ‘American Optical Company’, or ‘AOC’. In 1981, the factory filed for bankruptcy and was bought by the British Pilkington Group. Until its closure at the end of 2005, the Goetzenbruck glassworks was owned by the Zeiss company SOLA. During the year 2006, Sola decided to relocate the production unit to Mexico. Almost 92 employees lost their jobs. Today the ‘Verrerie de Goetzenbruck’ buildings are reconverted and house different small businesses. The photos were taken in 2017.