The Glass History Walk

Impressions from the walk Photos: Stefanie Waske

Boffzen offers an unusually broad spectrum of the glass industry. Visitors will find not only highly modern production facilities, but also earlier factory sites, the villas of former factory owners, company houses built for the glass workers and also traces of the art of manual glass-making in the past. Boffzen allows insights into the „golden age“ of the glass factories, the various crises and the often conflictual relationship between work and capital. We heartily invite you to discover all this – either on foot, by bicycle or via the internet.

Grafik: Angelika Reuter
  1. The Villa of August Becker
  2. The Villa of the von Campe Family
  3. The Villa belonging to Max Eugen Noelle
  4. The Beginnings of the Glass Factory Noelle & von Campe
  5. Noelle & von Campe in Times of War and Crisis
  6. The Consumer Cooperative in Boffzen
  7. Workers‘ Dwellings of the Noelle & von Campe Glass Factory
  8. The Workers‘ Housing Estate Steinbreite
  9. The Georgshütte
  10. Growth through Packaging Glass – Noelle & von Campe 1950-1980

What can you discover?

The glass industry has been a crucial part of life in Boffzen for more than 150 years: local business people founded the first glass factory in 1866. August von Campe and the brothers Heinrich and August Noelle from Lüdenscheid became the owners of the glass factory in the 1870s and renaming it Noelle & von Campe.

The local tradition of glass works in the forests of the Solling came to an end and larger sites close to railway lines became standard during of the industrialisation: in 1864 the railway line from Kreiensen to Höxter was built, followed in 1876 by the Holzminden to Scherfede line which had a station in Boffzen. Coal for the glass furnaces was delivered by train and the finished glass products could be delivered to consumer markets more quickly.

The glass factory owner Wilhelm Becker, who had glass works in Neuhaus (1850) and Rottmünde (1856), also benefitted from these advantages and built a third glass factory in Boffzen in 1872, called “Georgshütte”. The Georgshütte produced first for the national and later also for international markets, just as Noelle & von Campe did. From the 1930s onwards the manual production was gradually replaced by machines. Both glass factories had a broad product range, including bottles and preserve jars for household use in addition to drinking glasses, medicinal glass and glass for lamps.

Both the employees and the owners of the glass factories were shaped by political and economical changes. They enjoyed the long period of prosperity during the „Kaiserreich“, suffered under regulation, rationing and the lack of raw materials during the First World War and the loss of orders during the Weimar Republic. The Global Economic Crisis was a threat to the existence of Noelle & von Campe and the company could only survive thanks to local investors. The NS regime forced the glass factories to sever international ties and made them part of the rearmament and war effort. International competition grew rapidly after the Second World War. The Georgshütte concentrated on decorative household glassware but could not compete against cheaper foreign competitors and finally had to close down in 1989. In contrast, Noelle & von Campe focused on glass packaging, was successful, opened a second branch in Boffzen in 2009 and intends to expand still further.

Concept and text: PD Dr. Uwe Spiekermann, Dr. Stefanie Waske Design glass steles: Angelika Reuter Design website: Dr. Stefanie Waske English translation: Dr. Ian and Regine Gatfield

We would like to thank our supporters: