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Project Harrach

American and European Art glass - Victorian, Art Nouveau and Contemporary

 A Brief Introduction  -  How to ID Harrach Glass  -   Harrach Glass Factory Tour
Coming - Harrach Museum  -  Severn Harrach Collection   -   Project Harrach  

A Brief Introduction to Harrach Glass

by Brian Severn

(All glass unless otherwise noted, is in the authors collection)


Nestled away in the remote mountains of Northern Bohemia, the Harrach glass factory is one of the oldest glass houses still in operation today (2012 will be it's 300th anniversary!).  Harrach was initially run by Count Harrach, and opened in 1712.  It's located in the small town of Harrachov in Northern Bohemia, less then a mile from Poland, in what was once part of Austria, then Czechoslovakia, and is now the Czech Republic.

For a relatively small glass factory, Harrach was very innovative with their designs, and techniques.  They produced a staggering amount of glass for their size.  The December 1955 issue of the Czeschslovak Glass Review provides some amazing statistics about the glass production of Harrach in the mid-1850's.  During this time, Harrach employed some 320-350 glass workers, and there were at least 200 more refining shops where the glass was decorated.  The annual output was an astonishing 572,000 pounds of finished products, from this single glassworks.

Harrach glass blanks were used by most of the major Bohemian glass houses during the 19th century, including (but not limited to) Moser, Fritz Heckert, J & L Lobmeyr, Josephinehutte, Egermann, Goldberg, Muhlhaus, etc.   As you can see, this causes an immediate problem, how to properly attribute who did what. 

Harrach Glass is highly collectible and sought out from collectors worldwide. From their superb quality Biedermeir period glass, finely enameled, engraved and cut Victorian glass to their painted Art Nouveau work inspired by famous Czech artist Alfons Mucha, there is something that suits all tastes and interests.

Today it's owned by Mr. Novosad who operates it as a very savvy business operation.  He offers tours of the current operating glass factory, which also offers a restaurant, complete with an on site brewery (which makes excellent beer).  If you're a foreigner the cost of admission is higher, but not expensive.  Touring the glass factory is very interesting.  It's very well run, with two large gas powered furnaces, with each one having several glory hole access points.    There's even a small amount of automation, with a small line that transports hot glass to the annealing oven where the excess glass is snapped off, and it's put in the oven for cooling (click the Harrach Glass Factory Tour link above for a pictorial on the process). 

Harrach beaded enameled vase (often miss-attributed to Mt Washington)

Harrach Art Nouveau enameled and acid cut back cameo glass vase (often miss-attributed to Legras/Mt Joye or other French Makers)

Harrach raised enameled and pulled cane hot worked vase with Pointillism decorated clematis vine (often miss-attributed to Webb)

Harrach cranberry and opaque white glass finely enameled rose bowl (often miss-attributed to Phoenix Glass Co)


Coming . . .

Current Harrach Museum Tour
Severn Virtual Harrach Museum

Project Harrach - Current Harrach Info Quest
More Harrach History