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Lobmeyr — Six Generations of Glass History
In 1823, Josef Lobmeyr Sr. founded the company on Weihburggasse in Vienna. His shop, which he ran together with his wife Aloisia, featured a broad array of typical Biedermeier-era glassware and, after 1840, also chandeliers. Josef increasingly began to manufacture his own designs, and soon began supplying the imperial House of Habsburg.
Ludwig Lobmeyr, son of the company founder, became one of the most important protagonists of Austrian-Bohemian glass production, presenting the company at the first ever world exhibitions in the mid-nineteenth century. He worked with the builders of Vienna’s Ring Road and in 1864 co-founded what is now the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna.
Ludwig Lobmeyr’s nephew Stefan Rath led the company from 1902 to 1938, ushering it into the age of Modernism. He co-founded the Austrian Werkbund in 1912. Together with Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, and the artists of the Wiener Werkstätte, the company created modern classics of design that have lost none of their impact today.
Hans Harald Rath took over the company from his father in 1938, building his reputation by securing important orders for chandeliers, even during the war. After losing Bohemian glass production sources in 1946/47, he became involved in reconstructing the Austrian glassmaking industry and helped found the glassmaking school in Kramsach. Under his management, Lobmeyr’s ground-breaking lighting fixtures sealed the company’s position as the premiere source for modern, festive crystal lighting with orders from, for example, the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
After the untimely death of their father, sons Harald, Peter, and Stefan Rath took on the company in 1968. This generation, too, placed value on preserving tradition, while continuing to seek out and maintain contact with contemporary designers. Viennese chandelier manufacturer Jos. Zahn & Co. was incorporated in 1972, and a studio for artistic glassmaking was founded in Franzensbad in 1975. In 1987, renovations of the flagship store on Kärntner Straße began, and the Vienna Glass Museum was installed on the second floor.
The sixth generation of Lobmeyr leadership, the cousins Andreas, Leonid, and Johannes Rath are guiding the company into the new millennium. They place particular emphasis on intensive collaborations with the new generation of designers, adjusting the product range to meet today’s needs and developing an international distribution network. Carefully adapting the company for the contemporary age, they never lose sight of Lobmeyr’s core values of authenticity, fine handicraft, curiosity, and outstanding design.