Bergdala museum of glass technology

Bergdala museum of glass technology displays a technical and embodied history of design, told through the equipment used in early mass production and decoration of glass. (Re-)learning the Archive met with Kerstin Fröberg and Björn Zethræus who manage and showcase the museum’s collection.

Tell us about Bergdala museum of glass technology?
The whole thing started when the society Glas i Hovmantorp (Glass in Hovmantorp) managed to track down Kosta glassworks’ old pantograph. In 2015 we were given access to the old glass grindery behind the glassworks and since then the museum has developed to include a growing number of machines. The society Glas i Hovmantorp was disbanded in 2019 and instead a foundation was set up in 2020.

The idea behind the museum is to present the technical development that made the Kingdom of Crystal economically successful in the early 20th century. By that we mean the hard technology. Techniques for blowing art glass is something completely different, we wanted to focus on the mass production of glassware.

When visiting, we were obviously struck by the pantograph. What sort of machine is that and what did the work look like for the person operating it?
A pantograph is a machine that prepares a certain number of glasses for etching. A pattern plate is placed on a drawing table and the pantograph operator follows the patterns of the plate with a needle. A more detailed description can be found on our website which also includes more about the pattern plates that were found together with the horizontal pantograph in Kosta.

There is not a lot of literature on the machines used at the glassworks. What we know is what we have been told. But because we have a pantograph and know how it works, we can figure out how the work around it must have happened. Visitors to the museum also get an understanding of it as all the machines in our collection can be handled. Based on photos from the 1950s of glassworkers without protective gear, tales by glassworkers and the fact that the etching bath is made up of hydrofluoric and sulphuric acid it is safe to assume that the work environment around the pantograph was not the best.

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(Re-)learning the Archive

is a three-year long development project run by Designarkivet in Pukeberg with support from the Swedish Arts Council and Region Kalmar län (Kalmar County Council).

Christina Zetterlund
Project Manager

Maija Zetterlund
Project Coordinator  

In collaboration with

Virserums konsthall
Linnaeus University
Kalmar Konstmuseum

Designer in residence:
Evelina Mohei
Design and webb:
Mika Kastner Johnson

With support from 

Region kalmar läns logotyp
Kulturrådets logotyp