GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG specializes in interior luminaires made of glass. The luminaire collection comprises over 2000 models that are unique in the world. We use about half of the glass we produce for our own luminaire programme. We supply the other half to luminaire factories all over the world, to the companies in our group and to their licensees. We design, develop and construct our products with great care. A team of designers, glass specialists, design engineers and lighting technicians work together to produce a long-lasting product of high quality and good design to serve architecture. At a time of declining product quality and increased mass production, high-quality workmanship and long-lasting design are an expression of good taste. This Catalogue of Luminaires alone offers you a comprehensive overview of our programme. It is an indispensable working document for all lighting planners and designers. The luminaire programme is marketed by the specialist foreign and domestic electrical trade.
GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG is part of a company group which also includes the companies BEGA and BOOM. These are medium-sized family businesses under the direction of the same owners. All the companies in the group manufacture high- quality luminaires, and each one is a specialist in a specific field.
The founding of GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG
On 5 July 1947 at 4 p.m., Dr. Heinrich extracts with a blowing iron the first glass melted in Limburg. He blows a so-called post, from which a tumbler is finally created. A new chapter is opened in the history of the cathedral city with its wealth of tradition.
The company under the name Glashüttenwerke Limburg GmbH employs 80 staff. The majority have been expelled from their native land. The production programme initially comprises tumblers, jugs and a host of other economic glasses. Thanks to the technical know-how of the business management, the specialist skill of the glassmakers who have come to Limburg, and the effective support of the authorities, the company flourishes.
After the currency reform, which also lifts all the obstructive restrictions, general conditions improve. The far-sighted move into the manufacturing of lighting glass opens up new growth opportunities. The high quality of the products is a convincing factor. With glass tanks working continuously and modern production processes, capacity is increased. In just a few years, Glashütte Limburg with almost 1000 employees advances to become the largest specialist for lighting glass in Europe.
BEGA becomes shareholder of GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG
The rapid expansion reaches its limit. At the end of the 50s, considerable competitive drawbacks begin to emerge for the manufacturers of lighting glass. The pressures of the initial phase to create as many jobs as quickly as possible without adequate capital leads to obsolete facilities. Although the State of Hesse is meanwhile supporting the company as shareholder with an interest of 50 per cent, the necessary fundsfor capital expenditures are lacking to retain the competitve edge in terms of technology and quality. With great farsightedness, the then chairman of the supervisory board of Glashütte Limburg, Dr. Gottfried Boley, recognizes the problem. The Director General of the Hessian Ministry of Finance in 1962 proposes privatizing the interest of the State of Hesse. Together the managing partner, Dr. Walter Heinrich, and the managing director, Otto Schroer, are able to win the right partner to take over the State’s interest: BEGA Gantenbrink-Leuchten OHG of Menden in Sauerland.
BEGA was founded in 1945 by sculptor and master goldsmith Heinrich Gantenbrink as a handicraft workshop. In less than two decades, the company has developed as a specialist manufacturer of outdoor luminaires into one of the leaders in the German luminaire industry. The brothers Heinrich and Bruno Gantenbrink, personally liable partners of BEGA, also take over the partnership interests of Dr. Heinrich in 1964. In 1968, their sons, Heiner and Bruno Gantenbrink, join the company as personally liable partners. The entire operation is progressively redeveloped. It is the firm conviction of the management that »only by modifying the company goals could jobs be secured, productivity increased and profitability raised to a sufficient level«. This concept is successful. After just a short period, it is clear that cooperation between Glashütte Limburg and BEGA leads to synergy effects with extremely advantageous consequences. A new trade mark, clear and distinct, designed with strong graphic expressiveness, ushers in a new era for our company. With new convincing products of high quality and functionality, we set standards with good design. The hard work and craftsmanship of our staff guarantee the high reputation enjoyed by Glashütte Limburg and its products on the market.
The first luminaire catalogue by GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG
BEGA puts its great experience in this field into the Limburg company. The new shareholders make design with light and glass the focus of activities. The role of glass until now in lighting technology was only to protect, filter and distribute light from light sources. The idea of using glass for other tasks still unknown in the luminaire industry produces sensational results. For example, by overcoming serious technical problems, Dr. Heinrich succeeds in melting black glass. From this material, Heinrich Gantenbrink fashions a large collection of new luminaires causing a sensation for the first time at the Industrial Fair in Hanover in 1963.
Already the first luminaire catalogue by Glashütte Limburg outlines further development. Exemplary products show new ways of using the material glass more effectively in lighting technology. The trend-setting catalogue titled »The World of Light« is designed by Prof. Gerd Aretz.
It is the first highly regarded overview from a continuous series of luminaire catalogues from Glashütte Limburg, all of which to date have one factor in common: They show products whose design and lighting function is distinguished by the fine art of glass produced by craftsmen.
Our work with Helena Tynell also proves to be a stroke of luck. This artist of high international standing designs for Glashütte Limburg. In numerous designs, she takes up the inexhaustible wealth of potential offered by glass in realizing her design concepts.
Expandation of the GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG
In the early 60s, the new shareholders decide to expand and modernize in order to remain competitive. The creation of adequate storage capacity and new production halls as well as the construction of an administrative wing with technology and construction department is organized down to the last detail.
With the economic upswing of our factory after the take-over, the demand for an enlarged working area also progressively increases. The roofing ceremony garland on the new company buildings in Limburg becomes an almost daily sight. Responsibility in terms of urban development is taken very seriously. We set the same high aesthetic standards for our buildings as for our products.
We build a modern factory. Heinrich Gantenbrink emphasizes responbility towards mankind: »It is our task not to damage the cityscape characterized by the Cathedral with new industrial facilities. And the name of the city which is integrated in our company name. We also owe this to the product of the glass factory. It is made for people for whom the image of things with which they are surrounded is extremely important. All the new parts of the factory completed to date are clear evidence of our creative will to build a factory which surpasses mere technical necessity and is also a pleasure to look at.«
Our Art of Making Glass
The Melting Process
We have mastered the art of melting high-quality glass from sand and various additives. Our melting furnaces have a temperature of more than 1500 °C. Due to the aggressiveness of the glass, our melting tanks last some 3 to 5 years, and are then renewed. The raw materials react during the melting process and decompose into a molten substance which is mixed almost completely and degassed. The glass, liquid like honey, flows through a bottom channel, the throat, from the melting furnace into the working end where it cools down to about 1200 °C and becomes viscous. And now the glassmakers can begin their work necessity and is also a pleasure to look at.«
A speciality of GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG is the three-ply cased opal glass. The first stage in the production of this valuable glass involves removing the hot viscous glass from the crystal glass furnace. The post maker plunges his blowing iron with precision about 2-3 cm into the glass bath, and at the same time with turning movements winds a specific quantity of the viscous glass around the nose of the blowing iron. The blowing iron is withdrawn from the glass bath, separating the first glass post from the glass bath. This somewhat shapeless glass mass is evened out around the axis of the blowing iron by turning and simultaneously pressing down with rotationally symmetrical movements on a roller plate to ensure that no uneven wall thicknesses are created during later processing. To blow this solid tough glass mass into a post, air is pressed into the blowing iron and the post maker seals the end of the iron immediately with his thumb. The warmed air expands but is prevented from escaping, and presses into the soft workable glass.
Half-finished Glass Piece · Three-ply Cased Opal Glass
He very skillfully plunges the blowing iron with the post again a few centimetres into the opal glass. With constant rotations, he »winds« the opal glass around the crystal glass post and ensures that the glass is uniformly distributed. With ever faster rotations, he withdraws the blowing iron from the glass bath, tears off the glass filament and blocks the cased post in a wet wooden shaping block into a uniformly round shape. During this phase, the glass passes through a temperature range of 840 °C and tarnishes white. Carefully turning the iron, the post carrier carries it back with the glass to the crystal glass furnace. After a brief cooling period, he can hand over the »half-finished glass piece« to the glassmaker who now has to take the final amount of glass from the tank which is determined by the prescribed shape of the glass. It can range from 2-15 kg of glass depending on the size of the glass shape. Precise care must be taken with the stipulated weight and glass distribution on the post. Too much glass causes problems in wall thickness, too little glass leads to problems in the stability of the glass product.
Forming Process of the Raw Glass
Square or asymmetrical shapes require very special precision when the glass is withdrawn. Once removed, the glass post is blocked again in a much larger wet shaping block, evened out and accordingly »adjusted« to its final shape. This is the moment where skilful craftsmanship and highest concentration are required as this process has to be completed in just a few seconds. The hot, still workable glass is set in an iron mould which is closed and bolted by the mould operating assistant. At the same time, by pressure of breath or pneumatic air, the glassmaker blows the glass. When the glass touches the walls of the cast iron mould, it cools down very quickly to about 600 °C and solidifies. The mould is unbolted and the glass removed still fused to the blowing iron. To separate the glass from the blowing iron, a few drops of water are trickled onto the link where glass and metal meet using a wooden stick. The water hisses where the drops fall and chills the hot glass. Small cracks suddenly appear on the glass surface. They are sufficient to separate the glass precisely in this area from the blowing iron with one slight knock. This concludes the manufacturing and forming process of the raw glass.
The Light Manufacture + Quality
GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG is a production company with the latest technical equipment. But it is still a real manufacturing plant where the preservation of traditional skills is a commitment - craftsmanship determines each single piece of our work. All parts required for the production of luminaires are manufactured by GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG itself. Primarily of course, glass. Glass for aesthetic requirements and glass for luminaires designed for technical purposes. Moulds for glass production, the tools and metal parts of the luminaires are created in the modern metal-working unit at GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG. The glass of our luminaires is often supported or held by metal parts. Quality of use and good design have priority in our development and production work. Technical combinations of glass and metal are solved in an exemplary manner to ensure easy installation, maintenance and care of our luminaires. An important part of the production is the surface treatment of metal parts. Each metal is treated in accordance with its characteristics to ensure the surface finish reflects the natural character of the material. Each part is processed by hand to ensure the highest level of quality
Surfaces · Material
We supply the metal parts for our luminaires in different metals or different surface finishes. The corresponding materials are given on the relevant pages of this catalogue. The following surface finishes are available: matt and polished stainless steel, matt and polished aluminium, matt and polished brass, chrome and 24 carat gold. Luminaire parts with these surface finishes are either manufactured from the corresponding material or galavanized. Information on luminaire material is given in the luminaire description on the respective page of the catalogue. We use the term - stainless steel surface finish - for galvanized luminaire parts. Due to the vast number of individual parts, it is not possible to provide precise details on all the materials used on each page. However, if this information is important for the use of a luminaire, we will be pleased to give you the exact material specifications. Apart from metallic surface finishes, many luminaires are also available with enamelled metal surface finishes e.g. in the colours white RAL 9010, light grey RAL 7035 or white aluminium RAL 9006. These luminaire parts are primed after pre-treatment, and then covered with high-quality enamel. Depending on the material of the luminaire parts, we can also supply the luminaires to special order in other surface finishes and colours. Please use the RAL table for any queries about colour.
GLASHÜTTE LIMBURG sets the highest standards of quality for its glass and luminaires. All products are checked and monitored according to certified procedures during each manufacturing phase. But glass is a natural material: minor deviations in dimension, glass thickness or sporadic bubbles are a sign of quality craftsmanship and make the glass distinctly unique.