Glass Reflections
Cambridge 7th to 9th September

Presenting Author:
Hans Meindl

article posted 09 Apr 2015

Hans Meindl

Hans Reiner Meindl achieved MBA at the University of Regensburg, Germany, in 1983 and has occupied senior positions in several companies: he joined Südzucker AG Mannheim, becoming CFO of Südzucker International, Ochsenfurt; in 1998 he became CEO of Mconsult, Ochsenfurt; in 1999 he took the position of CFO of HEINZ Glas and HEINZ Holding, Kleintettau, Germany.

Currently he is the Owner and President of Glashütte Lamberts Waldsassen GmbH, Germany.

Married, with three adult children, Hans Meindl is a member of ICOMOS Germany and is a Member of the Society of Glass Technology.

Painting with light - Mouth blown glass in art and architecture

Hans Reiner Meindl
Glashütte Lamberts Waldsassen, Schützenstrasse 1, 95652 Waldsassen, Germany

"Working with colored glass is like painting with the sun," said the Dutch glazier Jan Thorn Prikker.

There´s no quote which could describe stained glass better than this one.

Suppose for a moment that you are standing at a window one cloudy, very wet morning. The sky, as seen through any ordinary window, would appear absolutely dark and grey without any trace of sunshine. However, you are not looking at the sky through ordinary glass. The window frame itself may be "ordinary" but the glass is not. Lamberts glass reveals some of the rays of sunlight behind and above the grey clouds. Machine-made glass does not do this. Only mouth-blown glass of the highest quality can do this.

Nowadays, the art of producing mouth-blown flat glass has become a rare craft. The Lamberts master glass blowers have preserved and perfected these traditional production methods in the Waldsassen Glassworks, founded in 1906. With 65 employees and an export rate of over 70%, the medium sized business from Northern Bavaria is today Germany's only manufacturer, and at the same time, world market leader. As well as mouth-blown window glass and over 5,000 different types of coloured glass, the product range also includes genuine roundels and moon discs. Elaborately produced two-coloured or multi-coloured flashed glasses are a particular speciality. Hand poured Dalle Glass and Table Cathedral Glasses complete the range of speciality products. The newest glass within the product range is "restauro® UV", the first mouth blown UV protection glass in the world (patent pending).

The art of making glass

The glass is manufactured piece by piece - the same today as it was in the past. After the Master Glass Maker has composed the correct formula and the glass has proved overnight in the furnace, the most important and most difficult stage of the process begins. For this, four teams work at each furnace, made up in each case of the Starter, the Assistant and the Master Glass Maker. The Starter brings the liquid glass to the pipe by turning the glass blowing pipe in the melting pot. He repeats this process until he has the required amount of glass. He gives the molten glass the correct shape by turning and blowing in wooden moulds. Then he passes it all to the Master Glass Maker, who blows the glass balloon to the final size. It takes a high level of experience, skill and ability to move the large, glowing ball of glass so regularly that a homogenous cylinder develops. This is then cut, heated up again and flattened out to become a sheet of glass. The glass retains very good cutting and processing qualities due to a special annealing process.

Tradition and innovation

It is impossible to achieve a similar level of brilliance, structure and variety as the mouth-blown LambertsGlas® with any other production method. Tools and processes are the same as hundreds of years ago. However, when it comes to quality and applications, LambertsGlas® is today, more than ever, a product with a future. It is used in many different ways - both as an integral part of contemporary architecture and also in the faithful restoration of structural monuments.

Stained glass artists, architects and designer use this unique material to create their art works. Mouth blown glass is at home all over the world. The hand-made glass refines the light in countless buildings - religious and secular, private and public.

The author will explain the production (melting, colouring, glass making) of mouth blown and hand crafted glass and its use in various coloured glass projects all over the world.