Saint Louis crystal

From the Münzthal Glassworks to the Royal Glassworks of Saint-Louis (1586-1781)

Long before Saint-Louis joined the closed circle of the crystal industry, glass was already king in the Bitche region. This remote region of the Northern Vosges, with its immense forest and spectacular sandstone escarpments, offers all the ingredients for the mysterious marriage of sand and fire that gave rise to glass.

Thus, from the Gallo-Roman era until the middle of the 17th century, a dozen glass factories were established on the edge of the forest, near the main trade route linking Italy to Flanders. Men and techniques were exchanged between Murano and Bohemia to develop the beginnings of an industry. It was not until 1586 and the foundation of the glass factory in Münzthal, the ancestor of Saint-Louis, that a new page in the history of glass was written in the Bitche region.  

The glassworks developed for several decades but did not survive the chaotic European context of the time. Indeed, for almost two hundred years, Bitche represented a strategic stake in a Europe that was being torn apart. It was the largest domain among the counties of the House of Lorraine, a border town fortified by Vauban, which alone signified the limit of France to the east. The old glassworks in Münzthal did not survive the ravages of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648).

In 1766, when the Duchy of Lorraine became part of the Kingdom, a new factory was recreated on the site of the old Münzthal glassworks. The following year, in 1767, Louis XV authorized the resumption of the old glassworks by a decree of the Council of State, confirmed by letters patent, and gave it the title of "Royal Glassworks of St. Louis" in memory of Louis IX. The "royal" stamp distinguishing the best of the country's know-how, Saint-Louis quickly became a jewel of the French economy. Supported by the king, its development was extraordinary for the time and allowed the revival of glass factories that had disappeared.

Saint Louis crystal

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