In the year 1844 Heinrich Heine wrote in
"Deutschland - Ein Wintermärchen" when he arrived in
cologne:" The Rhine wine still shines as gold in the green roemer,....."
As a roemer Heinrich Heine probably held a ca. 14cm high,
dark green glass with either a conical, ribbed foot or a foot
spun from a glass ribbon, a cylindrical middle part with
prunts and a oval cup in his hand. Visiting today one of the
little antique stores and asking for "roemers", you may be shown a
set of elegant goblets with coloured slim stems and a crystal,
perhaps engraved or enameled cup. But most times they will offer
you engraved overlaid goblets with oversized stems and for the
matter of balance oversized footplates. The original unity of
the set of six goblets has been disrupted in six different
colours, so the viewer can suspect that at least one of
those colours is not a planned but an accidental one.
Between the Biedermeier era roemers, around 1840, and the modern times with their coloured overlay stems, more than 150 years of development and vanishing (both at the same time!) of the form and the idea of the roemer occurred.
No other glassworks has identified itself with the form of the roemer as much as Theresienthal. They produced and developed the patterns of the Historismus for more than one and a half centuries. Its unique position was the result of reproducing the old patterns of the glass form of the roemer for more than 170 years while using their great collection of decors and shapes for redesigning the form or shape of the roemer. Because of being designed and produced as drinking glasses and not as decoration for table and cupboard, the roemers of Theresienthal were manufactured in great numbers and sold for a relatively low price when compared with the glasswork of Köln-Ehrenfeld. That is the reason why roemers from Theresienthal are available for today’s collectors in a great number of different shapes, colours and decorations. Comparing the different types of the roemers from Theresienthal, the tradition, variation and vanishing of the glass form of the roemer between Historismus and modern times can be followed through the years. This subject has never been published before and it is the first time that the roemers of Theresienthal are shown in this quantity. The goal of publishing information on the roemers from Theresienthal is to make glass collectors aware of these unique vessels which are still attracting less attention than the art nouveau stems from Theresienthal.
Although the art nouveau stems are higher priced and seem to be more attractive for most of the collectors and art historians, it is obvious that the roemers from Theresienthal keep a lot more of the old techniques of the glasswork which fell in oblivion with the coming of period of art nouveau and its simplified forms.
That is the reason why in most of the books about the drinking glass of the art nouveau there are long chapters about the forms and their designers but only a few sentences about the craftsmanship and the conditions of hand-blown and manufactured glassware.
This website does not show every roemer ever made in Theresienthal. The numbers of single shapes and decors is uncountable and the documentation of these glasses in old catalogues is very fragmentary. Excluded are also those glasses offered by Theresienthal between 1950 und 2001 as „roemers" but are, in reality, pure stems. As far as possible the roemers are published as pictures taken from original vessels. Drawings from old catalogues are shown if the roemer is not available at its own or if the drawings show details hardly recognizable on the picture of the glass. Unfortunately the author was not allowed to review the old documents owned by the museum of the Gangkofner KG in Zwiesel. The reasons remain in the same darkness as the documents do.
Many thanks go to Walter Vollmer the former Technical Director of the glassworks of Theresienthal and to Wolfgang Seil who worked from 1982 to 1986 for the factory.
Special thanks to those who support these websites by discovering unknown roemers from Theresienthal, providing information and documents and helping to translate the German version into English: Stephen Lee Smith, Dr. Jörg Sutter, Uwe Wolf, and Bettina and Reiner Wilckens.
Most thanks go to those who manufactured the magnificent roemers: the almost unknown glassworkers, engravers, enamellers and all those people who lived and worked for the glassworks of Theresienthal since 1836.
[Römer aus Theresienthal - Tradition, Variation und Auflösung einer Glasform]
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