Verrerie de Goetzenbruck

Built: 1721

Abandoned: 2006

Visited: 2017

France

This 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 manufacture 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. In this factory the Christmas Ball Ornament was invented. The production of Christmas balls was particularly important: a team of glassmakers manufactured at least 110 balls per hour. In the 1930s, annual production reached 80,000 balls, in the 50s already 200,000. 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, 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 acquired by the Zeiss company SOLA Optical Group. During the year 2006, Sola decided to relocate the production unit to Mexico. 92 employees lost their jobs. Today the builings are reconverted and house different small businesses.

Photos Verrerie de Goetzenbruck

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