February 5, 2016 | Published by  260 Jahre Riedel Glas

Generations

1st Generation: The timeline goes back to Christoph Riedel (born in 1672), who, as a glass merchant, was entered into the family history as the first generation. He sold high-quality glass objects, which were finished in his home of Bohemia – luxury goods of the time. He undertook many business trips that took him to Spain and Portugal.

 

2nd Generation: Johann Carl Riedel (1701-1781) continued the business as a glass painter and gilder, manufacturing and decorating hollow glassware.

 

3rd Generation: Johann Leopold Riedel (1726-1800) has gone down in history as the founder of the entrepreneurial dynasty. On 17 May 1756 he put the first Waldglas works into operation. In the same year the Seven Years’ War started. Empress Maria Theresia made a reparation fund available to her Bohemian subjects. This enabled, for instance, the window panes in the severely damaged city of Zittau to be financed. He produced not only plate glass, but all kinds of hollow glasses!!!

 

4th Generation: Anton Leopold Riedel (1761-1821) expanded his father’s business, as well as consolidating and enlarging it. The product range was transformed. It was no longer focused on plate glass, but much more on luxury articles.
This led to the development of new and lucrative sectors: the production of hollow glass and refinement through surface finishing, and the production of chandelier crystal.

 

5th Generation: Franz Xaver Anton Riedel (1786-1844) was a famous engraver and glass cutter of considerable talent and craftsmanship. He signed his artworks, which are highly sought after pieces at auctions today.

He was able, for the first time in the history of glass, to melt different colors of glass: two fluorescent colors – yellow and green. The two colors have been recorded in literature as Anna Yellow and Anna Green, being named after his daughter.

 

6th Generation: The son of his brother, Josef Riedel, was employed as an assistant at the age of 14. In 1840 at the age of 24 Josef married his cousin Anna, Franz Xaver Riedel’s daughter. Josef Riedel the Elder (1816-1894) not only showed great talent, but he was also lucky to have lived at the start of the industrial age. He has gone down in history as the "Glass King of the Jizera Mountains".

Josef Riedel the Elder left the Waldglas works and shifted production to the valley. He took advantage of the newly opened train line in 1875. It provided access to the most important sales markets of the industrialized world and laid the foundations for further expansion of his business.

His first wife Anna died at the age of 36. His son, from his second marriage to Johanna Clementine Neuwinger, took the Riedel dynasty into its 7th Generation.

 

7th Generation: Josef Anton Riedel the Younger (1862-1924) was a gifted chemist and extremely talented engineer.
In his glassworks 600 precisely defined colors could be melted in order to produce glass beads and gifts. As a mechanical engineer, he developed the finishing and automatization of the production of glass beads and registered numerous patents for this.

 

8th Generation: Walter Riedel (1895-1974) inherited his father’s talents. He brought about many technical developments in the glass industry and came up with numerous inventions, such as spinnable glass fibers, signal colors, reflectors, elaborate laboratory glasses and much more. He steered the company towards technical glass production and in doing so reacted to the needs of the interwar period.
In 1944 the German Ministry of Aviation set up the secret project called "Tonne", a ground-based system of air reconnaissance using radar. At the time the monitors used for this measured a maximum diameter of 38 cm. Only Walter Riedel and his glass engineers were capable of doubling the dimensions, and as a result also the resolution. They produced a monitor with a diameter of 76 cm – a real global revelation at the time.

Walter Riedel recognized the potential of this invention and secured the rights to use the development after the end of the war for civil purposes. However, this plan was thwarted by the Russian occupying forces. The scientist Walter Riedel was arrested in May 1945 and conscripted. Thus ended the Bohemian Riedel family history.

As a forced laborer Walter Riedel worked in a laboratory in a glassworks in the Soviet Union as a developer and consultant. Only in 1955 did he finally return from imprisonment. 1956 – 200 years after the founding of the first Waldglas works in Bohemia - the new Riedel story was started up in Kufstein, Austria. With the support of the Swarovski family, Walter Riedel (8th generation) and Claus Riedel (9th generation) took over the ailing Tirol glassworks. A hand-blown glass production firm – as it was before in Bohemia – was established.

 

9th Generation: Claus Josef Riedel (1925-2004) was a great visionary. Thanks to his considerable artistic talent and his extraordinary feel for form and proportion, he came up with a pioneering invention by defining the functional wine glass.

Claus J. Riedel was the first in the history of glass who could determine the interplay between form, size and rim diameter of a glass for the optimal enjoyment of wine.
His glasses had a long stem, were smooth, undecorated and blown to be thin. In the 1950s and 1960s they were awarded numerous design prizes. In 1973 Claus Riedel eventually unveiled the first gourmet glass collection in the world: "Sommeliers".

 

10th Generation: Georg Josef Riedel (born 1949) used his world vision to take Riedel glass to global success.

In as early as 1979 he recognized the importance of the American market and founded the subsidiary company "Riedel Crystal of America".
In 1986 he unveiled the "Vinum" collection – a machine-blown and therefore affordable variant of the Sommeliers collection. The machine production of high-quality wine glasses initiated global success.
As a means of consolidating the business, Riedel took over the German Nachtmann company in 2004.

 

11th Generation: Maximilian Josef Riedel (born 1977) has been working for the company since 1997. From December 2004 to July 2013 he was CEO of Riedel Crystal of America, one of the most important markets for the family business. Maximilian Riedel also works as a designer. He has already left a legacy in the world of wineglasses when he designed the stemless "O" collection, which has glasses specific to wine varieties, and which has become a global sales success. Numerous design prizes and awards have followed since.

Laetizia Riedel-Röthlisberger (born 1974), sister of Maximilian and daughter of Eva and Georg Riedel, oversees the family business in all legal matters in her capacity as legal expert.