The oldest glass items discovered in Poland date back to the Early Iron Age (700-300 BC)
The beginnings of Polish glassmaking go back to the 10th-13th century; there were production centres on Wolin Island and at Opole and Kruszwica. Poland’s economic growth of the 16th-18th century and the rising demand for glass contributed to the foundation of numerous glassworks located on crown lands, church property, and estates owned by the local nobility. Under foreign rule when Poland was partitioned (1795-1918) new glassworks would be founded by private landowners and leased out, catering for local needs and using their supply of raw materials and peasant labour. In Subcarpathia, glassworks of this type were established in the 18th century at Olchowiec near Sanok, Samoklęski and Krempna near Nowy Żmigród; and at the beginning of the 19th century in Polany and Borownica near Sanok (in operation until 1905).
After regaining independence, numerous glassmaking centres appeared in Poland in the Subcarpathia, including two glass factories in operation until today – one in Krosno (founded in 1919) and Jasło (1928). The Krosno glassworks, which started production on 24th January 1924, was owned by the shareholders’ company called Polskie Huty Szkła w Krakowie (Polish Glassworks in Cracow), with its registered office in Krosno. The Jasło glassworks was originally owned by the Baruch Margulies and Zygmunt Bogleiter company, which was subsequently sold to new proprietors several times.
The end of the 1960s saw the enlivenment of the Krosno glassmaking business. New works producing glass owned by private investors, often former employees of the Krosno glassworks started appearing on the map. The biggest ones include J.D.M. Kazana in Dobieszyn, the glassworks Deco-Glass, Józefina, Makora and Mika Glass in Krosno and Sabina in Rymanów. After numerous reorganisations, the Krosno Glassworks, now trading as Krosno Glass S.A. is still the largest producer of glass in Poland. The exhibition presents the artistic, decorative and decorative-household glassware made of soda-lime glass. The locally produced glass is hand-blown, by the most ancient method of glassmaking, which requires a high level of expert knowledge on the part of the glassblower – how glass behaves when it is formed and cooled down. Mastering this art allows for decorating the hot molten glass while it is being shaped.
For many years Subcarpathian glassware has enjoyed a good reputation with domestic and foreign customers for its high quality. It can be found in numerous museum collections, it is used in embassies and by many national institutions. Subcarpathian glass products have been awarded a number of prizes at international exhibitions and trade fairs. The designers’ talent, the skills of the glassblowers and decorators, as well as the professional expertise of the technical staff are a guarantee that the quality of the Subcarpathian glass products always meet the very best standards of excellence.
The exhibition is supplemented by glassware in the style of Art Nouveau and Art Déco made in renowned glass factories from the territories of Poland as well as Europe, operating before the foundation of the first glass factory in Krosno.