Wilhelm, le fils aîné de Daniel Swarovski, était passionné de sciences naturelles et désireux d’expérimenter comme son père. Qu’est-ce qui lui a donné l’idée de construire des jumelles et de fonder l’entreprise SWAROVSKI OPTIK à Absam ?
Daniel a reconnu les talents de ses fils et les a encouragés autant qu’il pouvait. Wilhelm a ainsi pu insuffler sa passion pour la chimie dans le développement de sa propre production de verre. Cependant, il n’avait pas encore atteint son objectif. Il aspirait à améliorer continuellement la qualité, et a développé un verre sans bulles et sans stries qui, en termes de qualité, se rapprochait beaucoup du verre optique. Par la suite, sa ténacité s’avérerait extrêmement utile dans la fabrication du verre optique.
In addition to the natural sciences, Wilhelm had another hobby: astronomy. The enthusiasm to see into the distance and the interest in physics gave him the desire to construct his own binoculars. The first sketches and self-calculated prototypes with optical glass from the factory's own production were made as early as the 1930s. Grinding the prisms and lenses is a fine art that Wilhelm acquired by hand. He carried out various grinding and polishing tests in his apartment. His willingness to experiment knew hardly any limits, even his wife's silk stockings were not safe from his experiments.
After the turmoil of the Second World War had subsided somewhat, the demand for gemstones in Wattens increased again and Wilhelm was able to think about the continuation of his former plans. However, there was not enough space in the company for several production divisions - even the abrasives production was already planning a move - so Wilhelm had to look for another location. Said and done! He found suitable premises in Absam. A large property with garages offered a lot of space but little comfort. Due to a general lack of material, the halls could only be renovated in the most basic way, the sanitary facilities initially resembled latrines and an open truck had to suffice as a shuttle bus for the employees. However, people were happy to have a job. Soon after the start, around 170 employees were working for Swarovski Optik in Absam.
Photographie: ©Swarovski Corporate Archive, 1950
The new and changing times also went hand in hand with new market needs: the demand for consumer goods such as eyeglass lenses had increased enormously. Lucky that some of the same machines were used to manufacture binocular optics and spectacle lenses. According to the information in the trade license, which proves the founding of Swarovski Optik with “Factory production of all types of optical glasses, especially spectacle lenses and frames, as well as the associated components and optical devices and apparatus”, production could finally begin.