Ajka Crystal LLC.
The tradition of glassmaking in Ajka dates back to 1878. Neumann Bernát's factory started to develop rapidly after its foundation and very soon reached an advanced production and technical level for that period. From the start, some of its products were sold to faraway countries.
The factory was brought into the ownership of the Kossuch János Family Bt. in 1891, which gave another boost to the development of the factory. Kossuch had wide connections and introduced the products of the Ajka factory in several exhibitions in major European cities - with great success - amongst other occasions the factory won a gold medal at the St Louis (USA) World Expo in 1904.
At the turn of the century the technical and artistic capabilities were at their highest level, comparable with other European factories.
However the period between the two world wars brought remarkable decline. During World War II, production had to be stopped owing to lack of materials.
Having 409 employees, the factory was nationalized in 1948.
Serious developments were imposed in the 60-70s: new production halls were built; melting was converted to natural gas heating, which made it possible for the construction of continuous melting furnaces. From 1964 the factory launched lead crystal melting, as well as the traditional soda lime crystal production. At that time the majority of production was already exported. The biggest markets for the cut lead crystal stemware suites were Canada and the USA, stores such as Simpson and Sears, Macy's and Bloomingdale's were the most important customers.
As a result of further technological developments, the production of colored cased lead crystal was launched in the middle of the 1980s.
In 1990 Ajka Crystal was purchased by the Fotex Group. The privatization was followed by unprecedented technological developments. Together with the modernization of facilities and technologies, and new in-house creations of the factory designers and the aggressive sales politics, production was increased rapidly
Nowadays the high quality melting is affected in environmental friendly, high tech electrically heated furnaces. The variety of the factory represents lead crystal products in clear and colored cased finishes. The glass blowing and further processes preserved the original hand crafted features with which they have always been manufactured. The products are decorated - according to customers' demand - by the use of either acid baths, plain cutting, painting, as well as sandblasting.
90 % of the factory's total production - both in tableware (stemware, tumblers etc...) and in giftware (vases, bowls) is exported for world famous brands such as Wedgwood, Tiffany's, Rosenthal, Waterford Crystal, Fabergé, Polo Ralph Laurent, Christian Dior, Moser and other high end French Crystal Manufacturers.
The cased lead crystal collection - in such variety of shapes and colors - is unique globally. Customers like leading Japanese department store Takashimaya, Richard Ginori in Italy, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue in the USA, ensure continuous demand for our quality products.
In Hungary our products are primarily distributed through our own shops, but are also present in a number of retail stores. The factory created a special stemware suite for wine tasting, which was introduced with great success in several wine exhibitions.
We pay special attention to enhance the professional skills of our workers, and to preserve the glass blowing traditions of their forefathers.
From 1992, besides glass production, the factory also runs an exclusive porcelain painting workshop, which profits from the porcelain painting traditions that can be found within the region; this workshop produces hand painted items for special orders from customers such as Fabergé, Augarten and John Jenkins - through whom the masterful pieces of Ajka procelain painters can also be found on the table of the British Royal Family.
Since 1990 Ajka Crystal exhibits every year at the world's biggest consumer goods fair in Frankfurt, continuously showing renewed fashion influenced products. We display on these occasions, for collectors our very popular pate de verre collections and the color crystal vases and bowls, which are decorated using the "cameo technic" in the art nouveau and modern styles.