Holmegaard Glassworks was founded in 1825, but it all starts two years before, as Count Christian Danneskiold- Samsøe (1774-1823), applied the King of Denmark for permission to build a glassworks at Holmegaard Mose (a bog). Sadly, the Count dies before the permission is granted, but short after his death, his widow Countess Henriette Danneskiold-Samsøe (1776-1843) received the permission from the King, and pursued the project.
The glassworks was placed at the bog, because here was sufficient fuel to produce the temperatures needed for the glass kiln, and their first product – green glass bottles was produced in 1825, with the help of a Norwegian glassblower (The Norwegian Glassworks had monopoly to sell glass in Denmark until 1814, where Denmark lost Norway to Sweden). The Countess was a visionary woman, and wanted early on to expand the product line with beautiful clear drinking glasses and by 1835, Holmegaard was producing drinking glass, wineglass and decanters – this time with the help from Bohemian (German) glassblowers. With their advanced skills and craftsmanship, the company was now able to produce in clear glass, for the first time in Denmark. The opal glass shortly followed.
In 1847, Holmegaard established another glassworks, Kastrup Glassworks, near Copenhagen, to accommodate growing need for a proper bottle production, not least due to Jacobsen’s beer production (Tuborg). Kastrup Glassworks exclusively produced glass bottles and in 1857, the only production of glass bottles was at this glassworks. Kastrup Glassworks is sold in 1873.
Most of the glass products at Holmegaard were made from foreign designs, but at the beginning of the 20th century, different Danish artists worked with the company in designing and shaping Holmegaard’s glass products. In 1923, Holmegard started collaborating with Royal Copenhagen – Holmegaard produced glass designed by Royal Copenhagen – the glass material was refined and the lines were purer. This partnership continued for four year.
Jacob E. Bang was employed in 1925, and Holmegaard’s first real designer. He became head of design in 1928, and formed the basis for the Holmegaard idea: “Every Dane should be given the opportunity to own a Holmegaard glass”. The glassware should be affordable, usable and practical. Bang designed a wide range of famous glassware for Holmegaard, and is one of the main reasons for their success, in the mid-20th century.
In 1942, Danish designer Per Lütken takes over as head of design and continues the Holmegaard idea. His innovating designs secured the success. In 1969, Michael Bang (son of Jacob E. Bang) is employed, and he added a 60s twist to the design, with colors and more sculptural shapes.
The production of modern lighting for the home began in 1965, the same year as Kastrup Glassworks and Holmegaard Glassworks merged. Kastrup Glassworks were intended for production of industrial glass (main customers were Tuborg and Carlsberg), and Holmegaard were to continue production of hand-blown glassware.
Up through the 1970s and the early 1980s, the lighting production expanded and it includes lighting designs by Jo Hammerborg, Sidse Werner, Bent Nordsted and Verner Panton. Most of the lighting production closed in 1990, but few lighting series are still in production, among other the popular Apoteker (Pharmacy) pendant by Sidse Werner from 1981 and the Madarin pendant by Michael Bang from 1983.
Kastrup Glassworks closed in 1979 and in 1985, Holmegaard became a member of The Royal Copenhagen Group. In 2008, the Holmegaard brand was bought by Rosendahl A/S.