The history of the Julia crystal glass works goes back to the 19th century and is inseparably linked with two German glass producers: Josephine Glashütte in Szklarska Poreba and Fritz Heckert Glashütte in Piechowice.
The Josephine glassworks was founded in 1842 on behalf of the Silesian Schaffgotsch family. Thanks to the genius of the architect Franz Pohl, who built the plant and was its first director, it reached an unprecedented artistic level and quickly gained recognition. Her products were delivered to royal and aristocratic residences throughout Europe and the United States.
The craftsmanship of the artists employed in Josephine was confirmed by his enormous innovative power. It was expressed in the introduction of new glass making techniques, which were later copied by Czech and Italian competitors. The steelworks also received prestigious awards such as a gold medal at the First World Exhibition in London.
At the end of the 19th century, the Josephine-Hütte won a dangerous competitor. Friedrich Wilhelm Heckert, a member of the German royal family, is built in Piechowice. The company employed many specialists from the Czech side of the Giant Mountains. These were excellent blowers, mills and glass painters, thanks to which the factory was able to catch up with the quality of the older glassworks in Szklarska Poreba.
In 1923 the Fritz Heckert steelworks in Piechowice merged with the Josephine steelworks in Szklarska Poreba and the Kynast Kristal Neumann & Staebe company in Sobieszów. A joint-stock company with the Josephine brand is founded. Since then, the two largest steelworks in the Giant Mountains have jointly conquered the world markets.
After the Second World War, when Silesia passed into Polish hands, Josephine continued production with glassworks in Szklarska Poreba and Piechowice. Polish steelworkers and conquerors have been learning from their German masters for several years. In 1958 the Josephine glassworks was given the Polish name Julia.
In 1999, the privatized plant was bought by Americans, who initially closed the plant in Szklarska Poreba and finally bankrupted the entire plant.
In 2006, a part of Julia in Piechowice was bought by a Polish family, who resumed production. Currently the smelter produces mainly for export to the most demanding markets, where up to 80% of the crystal artworks produced here are sold.
Today the Julia glassworks is the only surviving reminder of the magnificent glassmaking traditions of this part of the Giant Mountains and the only living monument to the Josephinen glassworks within the old walls of the Fritz Heckert glassworks.