LWL Glashütte Gernheim
Even though it is an object of daily life I knew little so far about the production of glass which takes a great effort. A visit to the LWL Glashütte Gernheim makes the difference. Next to the „show production“ of glass in the nice cone-shaped tower I inform myself about the manufacturing and use of the transparent material in detail. The visit is a very interesting experience to me. I imagine how hard it must have been to be a glas blower. Besides the fact there were hardly any saftey precautions the blowers had trouble with their lungs and cheeks already in their younger days. Cheeks sunken in were often their trademark. But working in a glass factory was not only hard for men, also women and children had a tough time. Once again I realize how comfortable our lives are today. Do we appreciate that?
Blowing, shaping, cutting
We start our tour through the Glasshütte Gernheim at the historical con-shaped tower. The slime freestanding building can be seen from afar already. It is a fascinating construction which is being renovated at this time. In the anteroom prior to the glass blowing we admire some self-manufactured pieces of art made of glass. We also learn something about the manufacturing process of drinking glasses and buttons. I can imagine that working with an oven that heats up to 1,600 degrees is not fun.
The next room is the show room. Two ladies are being instructed. We sit down on one of the wooden benches and observe how the ladies sweat and try to form something out of the hot material that comes out of the oven. As soon as the heated glas leaves the oven it needs to be blown and formed right away. If it cools down too quickly the material cannot be treated any more. The production process does not look easy. Again and again the material has to be put into the oven. There is blowing and shaping. And also cutting. Suddenly something fells off the pincer. Plump. It goes back into the oven and needs to be worked on once more.
The ale house: Attention danger of addiction!
We leave the glass factory and move to the former mansion where the owner of the firm used to live. You can guess how easy and comfortable their lives were compared to those of their workers.
Last but not least we visit the museum. On three levels you can learn how the production of glass developped on the hand hand and on the other hand its usefullness. Next to bottles for liquor, wine and beer there are images taken from bars and gatherings which display the rise of alcohol as a common drug. Already at the beginning of the last century the newspapers warned insistently about the dangers and consequences of the pacifier.
Unfortunately time is short and we still have some kilometres coming up on the Weser cycle path. However, I can only recommend the visit to the Glashütte Gernheim.