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The glass museum

To supplement their income, the feudal lords decided to exploit the vast forests around. This is how the glass huts were founded. A glass hut is mentioned in the Plopiș Mountains area as early as the end of the 18th century, being one of the oldest glass manufactures in Transylvania, largely speaking. For founding a glass hut one needed specific conditions: sand (even if insufficiently clean), quartzous gravel, vast forests for the excessive fuelwood consumption needed for the melting furnaces, deciduous forests, whose wood was burned to obtain the ash needed for preparing potash, as well as minerals from the oxide of which different dyestuffs were produced. The Plopiș Mountains area was propitious for the development of such a craft. The glass foundries had the appearance of wooden sheds or barns sheltering the install glass melting equipment, the one for reannealing finite products, other workshops and their annexes.

The activity in the glass huts was carried out by a small number of qualified workers. The functioning and maintaining of manufactures were, however, ensured first of all through the serfs’ work, on account of land dues and even in return for payment. Secondary works such as wood cutting or transportation, the extraction and transportation of quartz stone, maintenance work, the transport of end products counted as serf tasks of the inhabitants. A special category of the Slovak colonists were workers specialized in the glass production craft. A first registering of the glass hut in Huta Voivozi on the civil status registers appeared in 1802, however it is evident that it was much older (germ. glasshütte: glass=glass, hütte=metallurgical plant or smelting plant). In 1826, along with the glass hut in Huta Voivozi, another glass hut is recorded in Șinteu (Sólyomkő). The natural resources depletion in an area meant the closing of the glass hut and its relocation to a more adequate place. This is what happened to the foundry in Huta Voivozi, which was moved in the first half of the 19th century to Șinteu. Besides the glass hut, multiple furnaces were also needed, where the ash necessary for glass making was produced. Glass huts produced fairly simple objects, needed on the local and regional commercial market: pharmaceutical articles, laboratory tools, fast-moving consumer goods (jugs, glasses, dishware, window glass), decorative products (fish, ducks, vases). Towards the middle of the 19th century, the glass hut in Șinteu moved to Pădurea Neagră. The construction of the glass factory in this place was made due to multiple reasons: the Bistra stream had enough water for grinding the quartz; wood found itself in significant quantities in the surrounding forests and was used for producing potash and for melting quartzous sand; the secondary materials were brought from the surroundings (arsenic, saltpeter, salt, manganese, argil, etc.). The workers qualified in obtaining glass continued practicing this profession, commuting to Pădurea Neagră.

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