A Link Between Christmas Past and Christmas Future
In the late 1500s in Lauscha, Germany, the Müller family of glassblowers worked diligently to produce mouth blown glassware of the highest quality for their countrymen and later for others all over the world to enjoy. Beginning in the 1860s, the Müller family specifically customized their craft for creating Christmas ornaments. As generations followed, each would take great care to share their expertise with the next generation.
In 1948 fifteen year old apprentice, Heinz Müller-Blech, is being taught by his uncle.
Glassblowing was a cottage industry. Every family had their own specialty. One family may have perfected ornaments of churches, while another created pinecones. The Müller family was renown for their bird ornaments. These small creatures not only provided much companionship for the glassblowers during Germany's long, gray winters, but they also became a source of inspiration. Inge-Glas, as it is known today, has more styles of birds than any other company and remains highly regarded for their artistry in the creation of their bird ornaments. Over 700 antique bird moulds are included in their collection of antique moulds. These glassblown ornaments were crafted by Inge-Glas in the same workshops in Lauscha, Germany until 1951. At this time, the Russian occupation of Lauscha led 13th generation descendent Heinz Müller-Blech to flee to Neustadt where he reestablished what is now the modern day Inge-Glas workshops. Heinz crossed the border to seek out a new life in West Germany. He managed to smuggle several glassblowing moulds as he made his journey. After settling down in Neustadt by Coburg, Heinz Müller-Blech began to actively search for antique ornament moulds. His family in East Germany would send packages to him containing only halves of the moulds so that the authorities would not confiscate them.
Heinz' formal reestablishment of the company to Neustadt in 1953 began as a small workshop with three employees. Only as years passed would he realize the success of that reestablishment. For years, Heinz and his wife, Inge, continued the tradition of their forefathers and spent many happy hours together making hand-crafted Christmas ornaments.
In the 1960s, young Klaus Müller-Blech, a 14th generation descendent, spent countless hours in the glass workshops of his grandparents and parents learning various aspects of the profession. He then grew to love this vocation and realized it was undeniably ingrained in his spirit.
In 1992, during the Golden Glow of Christmas Past convention, Klaus met Birgit Eichhorn-Jeremias-Sohn. Birgit also came from a family of glassblowers in Neustadt, Germany. Both Klaus and Birgit attended the convention of antique Christmas ornament collectors to search for ornaments of their families' past. Klaus and Birgit soon fell in love and were married. The families joined forces and combined their traditions and skills. Together their collection includes more than 6,000 antique ornament moulds dating from the 1850s.
Inge-Glas, named after Heinz Müller-Blech's late wife, represents a family operated business that has been handcrafting glass ornaments with skills that have been passed on for generations by their forefathers. In 1987, the exclusive five-pointed Star CrownTM suspension ring was trademarked and caps these heirloom quality ornaments. Determined to stand out from other glass lines, Inge-Glas created the Star CrownTM so that from a distance all would be able to recognize ornaments from the Müller-Blech family workshops. The Star CrownTM has evolved into a symbol of the company's quality and craftsmanship.
Inge-Glas currently employs over 100 artisans; yet, the company still has the characteristics of a small family business. On staff is a full-time mould maker dedicated to creating new designs each year to represent the Christmas traditions of today. Using the same mould composition as those ornament moulds created over 100 years ago, Inge-Glas has successfully kept the spirit of the glass cottage industry alive. It is the Müller-Blech family wish to share with you the joy and excitement of authentic, traditional mouth blown German Christmas ornaments.