Handcrafting fine glassware since 1817 in its glass factory on the shores of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by the idyllic Swiss Alps.
Hergiswiler Glas AG has been handcrafting fine glassware since 1817 in its glass factory on the shores of Lake Lucerne, surrounded by the idyllic Swiss Alps. The Siegwart brothers found an ideal production location in the town of Hergiswil with access to transportation for energy and products. With its 130 employees, Glasi is one of the best-known Swiss enterprises and has developed a rich tradition over its almost 200-year history. Glasi Hergiswil is employee owned with Robert Niederer owning the majority of the shares. The Glasi crafts people include Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards and Swiss. They produce glass in two shifts from 5 am to 9 pm.
In 1975, Glasi was almost forced to close because of competition from cheap, machine-made glass products manufactured abroad and imported into Switzerland. The Glasi employees, the town of Hergiswil and most of all Roberto Niederer saved the glass factory from certain demise. They re-energized the tradition of handcrafting fine glassware and combined it with simple, functional designs executed in lead-free glass. Shortly before Roberto Niederer’s death in 1988, his son Robert Niederer assumed management responsibility for Glasi. Roberto Niederer’s 45-year legacy in glass design, creation and management left a permanent imprint on the Glasi style. Together with the 130 Glasi employees, his son continues with passion the tradition of handcrafting fine glass products.
Glasi believes that the addition of lead is not required to achieve qualitatively superior glass, and works exclusively with lead-free glass. This protects both the artisans who work with the glass as well as consumers who use it in their daily life. Glass producers that add lead do so to reduce the melting temperature of glass (resulting in so-called “longer” glass), which allows the crafts people more time to work with the glass, and to enhance the timbre and brilliance of glass. The lead-free glass used by Glasi (so-called “shorter” glass) is capable of producing an equally superior glass product without sacrificing the clarity, brilliance, timbre and finish. “We can make anything with our glass” says Glasi-Chief Robert Niederer “it doesn’t require leaded crystal glass.”
Visitors to Glasi are surprised to learn that the furnace, which is the heart of the glass factory, costs $3 million and has a useful life of 5 to 10 years. On February 14, 2005, Glasi inaugurated its latest furnace. About 30 artisans from the furnace contractor (Glashüttentechnik Grob GmbH of Bavaria, Germany) and Glasi Hergiswil worked for 2 months onsite to replace the old furnace.
Take a virtual tour of Glasi's factory on Lake Lucerne.