Riedel was founded in 1678 in the northern part of Bohemia (now Czech Republic and Poland). Riedel has been around for over 300 years and is in it's eleventh generation of the family owned business.
The first Riedel was Johann Christoph who journeyed all over Europe trading glass.
Second generation Riedel was Johann Carl who was a gilder and glasscutter, operating his own workshop refining glassware.
Third generation was Johann Leopold. He made his money making & restoring window panes for the surrounding cities after the Seven Year War. He opened his first glass factory in 1756 thanks to his invention of a technique that subsitituted stained glass windows with window panes.
Fourth generation was Anton Leopold, who changed production from window panes to luxury goods, such as chandelier parts and ornate glassware.
Fifth generation was Franz Xaver. He became famous for his artwork. His main success came from adding colors to glass, using Uranium to produce fluorescent colors.
Riedel's six generation was Josef Riede, The Elder. He was the first to use coal for glass melting (thanks to the railroad) versus wood. During Josef's time running Riedel, he employed 1200 people. He mainly produced color glass beads and blanks (unshaped, unfinished glass).
The seventh generation of Riedel was Josef Riedel, The Younger. Josef created a portfolio of 600 different glass colors, which set him apart from his competitors and got him through the first Great War. Josef specialized in mass production of glass beads, made for jewelry and fabrics. After 1890, he started to sign all glass made with the Riedel logo.
Walter took over for the eighth generation of Riedel. Surviving through two great wars, and changing his citizenship several times due to politics of the war, Walter turned Riedel into the worlds leading manufacture of perfume bottles, chandeliers and parts. Walter, as well as his dad, Josef created several new machines to help with production.
The nineth generation for Riedel was run by Claus J. Claus changed stemware from colored cut glass to plain, unadorned, thin blown, long stemmed wine glasses. Claus was the first in history to recognize the effect of shapes on the perception of alcoholic beverages.
Tenth generation of Riedel was run by Georg Josef who evolved Riedel into a world wide operating company. In 2004, Georg bought Nachtmann and Spiegalau which are now sold under the Riedel Glass Works brand. During Georg's leadership, Riedel became the world's leading wine glass company.
Today, in the eleventh generation, Laetizia & Maximilian Josef run the company. Laetizia is Riedel's family business lawyer and Josef is the
CEO of Riedel Crystal of America. Maximilian designed the very popular "O" line and two of the best selling decanter designs.
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