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Slovak Applied Arts: The Golden Suzanne Collection, from the Zlatno Glass Factory Issue number
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    Jozef Staník (1908 – 1986), was born in Zlatno and worked in the local glass factory from the age of 10. He began his working life as an apprentice in the town of Radnice, near Pilsen, and worked in a total of 14 glass melting plants, where he was taught by the old masters of Czech glass production. In 1952, he returned to the Zlatno glass factory, n. p. Stredoslovenské sklárne, which specialised in the production of glass for domestic applications. He implemented a new method of work and contributed to the installation of a cooling lehr, which ultimately improved the quality of the products made in the Zlatno factory. He introduced a level of quality that was suitable for fine art. He began to experiment with spiral-shaped stems and air ducts, with new shapes and colours. In the mid-1950s a Belgian expert visited the Zlatno glass factory and expressed his admiration for his products made from sodium-potassium glass, which were full of fragility, elegance and charm. Watched by the Belgium expert he made the most beautiful of his products, right in front of him, which he later developed into an iconic glassware set and presented it to the management of the company.

     The elegant shape of the goblets included a unique and extraordinary globe, which was part of the stem of the glass. After the globe was first gilded in Zlatno, there was a public debate over how it was formed in the stem. Some believed that real gold was hidden inside and were willing to break their glass for it. To create it, Jozef Staník developed special pincers, which enabled the glass to be shaped into a sphere by allowing the glass to flow around it on three sides. Staník was awarded the patent for a “method of shaping the stems of goblets” on 15th August 1959, with retroactive validity from 23rd May 1956. The patent document was given the number 91347, and the invention was submitted to the state. The exact description was as follows: “...the ends of the longer arms of the pincers are adapted to create spherical protrusions in the stem after pressing the hand lever.”

     The first goblets were produced in Zlatno in 1956; they had a greenish colour and were intended for sparkling wine. Soon after, the first international orders arrived. First they came from the United States, Canada and gradually from the whole world. Initially, the glassware set was only described by a number. It was named The Golden Susanne collection in 1958 during the world exposition, Expo 58 in Brussels; the name was inspired by the wife of a merchant from Montreal, Susanne. The set was produced in many different colours: green, clear, blue, pink, purple, dark-smoky grey and yellow and in different versions for different types of alcoholic beverages such as sparkling wine, liqueurs, wine, grappa, cocktails, sherry, brandy and beer. Since 1971, the sets had also been produced in glass factories in Katarínska Huta and Málinec. During the 50 years of its production, more than five million sets of Golden Suzanne were produced.

Maroš Schmidt

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