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Stories from the Archive

The desire for perfection and the joy of experimentation

copyright Swarovski Corporate Archive

Der Anfang

Das Streben nach Verbesserung


Wilhelm, der älteste Sohn von Daniel Swarovski, war von den Naturwissenschaften begeistert und experimentierte gerne wie sein Vater. Was brachte ihn auf die Idee, ein Fernglas zu entwickeln und schließlich SWAROVSKI OPTIK in Absam zu gründen?

Daniel Swarovski erkannte die Talente seiner Söhne und ermutigte sie so gut er konnte. So konnte Wilhelm seine Leidenschaft für die Chemie in die Entwicklung der eigenen Glasproduktion einbringen. Doch dies war nicht sein Ziel. Er strebte eine kontinuierliche Verbesserung an und so entwickelte er ein bläschen- und streifenfreies Glas, das in puncto Qualität dem optischen Glas sehr nahekam. Seine Beharrlichkeit erwies sich später als äußerst nützlich bei der Herstellung von optischem Glas.

copyright Swarovski Corporate Archiv

Hobby Astronomer

The enthusiasm to see into the distance


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.

©Swarovski Corporate Archive
The factory in the forest is built

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.

Fotografie: ©Swarovski Corporate Archive, 1950
History people 1955
History people 1955
Production started

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.