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Lead Crystal on TravelSnapz

Finished glass on the shelf

The Ruckl firm has a direct to the public shop at the factory at Nizbor near Prague.

Next time I buy a piece of hand cut lead crystal glass, I won’t complain about the price, especially if it comes from Ruckl and Sons.

The Ruckl family came to Bohemia from Switzerland 150 years ago and the first Ruckl glass factory was established in 1846.

The history of the firm could reflect the sometimes-turbulent history of the Ruckl's adopted homeland. From 1846 production has been at various Czech sites with the Nižbor factory established in 1903. The firm has made all types of glass including crystal, coloured and luxury glass and the early years saw Ruckl glass sold and demanded in all of Western Europe's major cities. In 1945 when the line was drawn to temporarily divorce the Czech Republic from the West, the firm was nationalised but in 1992, the great-grandson of the original founder regained control as the Czech Republic reopened its doors to the world.

The process of producing a piece of cut crystal is, I guess, relatively simple. However there is a great deal of time and expertise involved before the finished product is positioned lovingly on your dining room table. The raw glass is hand blown, sometimes into a mould depending on the shape required. There is a long process of cooling prior to having a design hand drawn onto the glass before each piece then goes to the cutters. These experts sit at the cutting wheels, some plugged into music (perhaps the classics?) while they grind the design that gives cut crystal its traditional appeal.

I like the idea of a long family tradition associated with a skill. Next time I buy crystal, I'm looking at the label.

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