Pallme-König & Habel
Of the glass produced during the Czechoslovakian Jugendstil period, perhaps the most distinctive, most frequently imitated by others, and most misunderstood, is that of Pallme-König und Habel. From the 60’s to the 80’s many pieces in catalogues and art glass history books were mistakenly attributed to it (See Internationales Jugendstil Glass, item 130). On the other hand, pieces were attributed to Loetz that were later to be classified as Pallme-König (see Sembach, III: 9). This trend has been reversed, except on E-Bay, where everything is still classified as Loetz. The Passau Museum Catalogue (PMC) classifies under "unknown Bohemian" pieces which might have be considered Pallme-König (see IV.394-98, IV:410-12; IV 415-16).
Even the name of the company itself seems to have undergone revision. In Robert Truitt’s long and detailed genealogy, the name Pallmé is traced all the way back to 1680, the second name, König being added around 1778 (102). Palme means "palm-tree" which, together with "König," refers to a particular variety called "palma real"or "royal-palm" in Spanish (making a convenient visual reference for any glass house).
In 1888, Josef and Theodor Pallme-König named a new glasshouse after their mother: Elizabethhütte (103), name which is currently used by the Passau Museum in its glass catalogue to identify Pallme-König production. I asked Eddy Scheepers to illuminate this change; he corroborated Truitt’s account, adding that "Elizabethhütte" (or, as called in the catalogue, Glasfabrik Elizabeth) should be used as part of the scientifically-substantiated nomenclature, and "Pallme-König" as its popular translation, since both names cover the same production. In this article, I shall be using the latter.
In or around 1900, Wilhelm Habel, co-owner of the glassworks, obtained "a patent for a process to produce surface-decorated glass, a special type of decoration with glass threads encircling the vase" (Nedblake 11). After a review of Pallmé-König pieces illustrated in different European catalogues from collections and reference books, one comes to differentiate between merely threaded and "veined" glass. The first rests lightly on the vessel’s surface, usually having been applied in a concentric, regular fashion, and can easily break off. The second is applied in more of a free-form, irregular style, fused deeply into the surface and is more resistant to breakage.
Threaded glass was common to practically all Bohemian manufacturers-Loetz, Kralik, Rindskopf and Poschinger among them-, so its presence alone cannot be used to determine provenance. Other structural factors must be accounted for such as shape, the treatment of glass mass, and the way threading is applied. Just as the presence of metallic spotting does not constitute evidence of Loetz manufacture (see Rindskopf article), the presence of threading alone does not constitute evidence of Pallme-König. As to threading, the manner it is applied constitutes, more than anything, the signature of a given manufacturer.
Written by Alfredo Villanueva-Collado, Ph.D.