Doing something else was never on the cards
Von Poschinger takes the time to show us round his company, and the 49-year-old radiates a sense of calm that also has to do with the certainty of knowing his place in the world from birth. His family didn’t force him into the role of successor. “For me, there was never a question of wanting to do anything else,” he says.
The glassmakers are taking broken fireclay rings out of the kilns to replace them with new ones. The rings float in the four docks, round vats in the furnaces. The
mass of soda, lime, quartz and potash is melted into liquid glass.
When the ovens are opened, the men feel the full force of the searing heat and the stage is transformed into a menacing-looking scene. Clad in his silver-coloured protective suit, the young apprentice Miguel Schwenk looks like a diver, buckets of sweat streaming down his face. “I drink ten litres of water a day,” he says with a smile. Even this facet of the glassmaking trade seems to please him. And also, the fact that he has learned how to blow glass while puffing a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth.
In January, the 24-year-old is due to start technical school, and Benedikt von Poschinger hopes that he’ll come back once he’s done. Europe’s leading glassworks have set up exchange programmes with a view to retaining good employees. So perhaps Miguel Schwenk will soon be making glass in Venice on the island of Murano, a traditional glassmaking hot spot.
His boss didn’t learn the craft of glassmaking, but is a qualified forester. Wood and glass have always belonged together in his mind’s eye. In the Bavarian Forest, there’s always been a lot of wood for firing the ovens and the quartz in the soil. “As a company, we dabble in agriculture, forestry and manufacture. My grandfather was also a forester and my father studied economics,” he says. “Whatever floats your boat.”