From humble beginnings in Romania, Josef Cretzan went on to become one of the most accomplished glass blowers of the twentieth century. For 37 years his knowledge and skills were fundamental in ensuring that Waterford Crystal remained one of the premium glass manufacturers in the world. Overall, his contribution to Waterford in general, and Waterford Crystal in particular, is remarkable.
In the early 1940s, when still only a teenager, Josef journeyed with his family across Central Europe to Germany in a bid to escape the turmoil in Romania brought about by the Second World War and the encroachment of the Russians. He was sent to fight as an infantryman on the Eastern Front with Russia, then served in Rommel’s Afrika Korps in Tobruk, and in Italy fought in the fierce Battle of Monte Cassino. He was wounded on three occasions, and was awarded the Iron Cross for distinguished service.
In 1951, an advertisement in a German newspaper brought Josef to the newly established glass factory in Waterford, where he remained for nearly four decades. Uniquely gifted, he created crystal masterpieces that were presented to kings, queens, presidents and dignitaries of all kinds, including a special commission given to Jackie Kennedy for her children. Today, his glass is displayed in some of the most prestigious buildings in the world, including Westminster Abbey in London and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
Called the ‘Master of Masters’ by John Hearne in Waterford Crystal: Creation of a Global Brand, 1700-2009, Josef Cretzan was a remarkable talent who survived incredible hardship and personal tragedies to hone his craft. Josef Cretzan died in Waterford in 1990.
About the Author
David Cretzan, son of Josef Cretzan, was also a glass blower in Waterford Glass for twenty years, from 1985 to 2005. He is now an Occupational Health and Safety Consultant and founder of Cretzan Health and Safety Management based in Waterford.
- Additional Information
Author Cretzan, David Editor No Print Format Paperback ISBN-10 No ISBN-13 978173989244 Illustrations 50 colour photographs Date of Publication September 29, 2022 Number of Pages 220