Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vintage Glass Beads from Kaufbeuren, West Germany at Bumbershoot Supplies

I’ve written elsewhere about the history of our beads, buttons, cabochons and rhinestones that were made in the US Zone of Occupied Germany, between 1945 and 1949.  In that blog post I also mention the various names for Germany over the decades.

Often the supplies we source arrive in original wraps. If the place of manufacture is stamped on the wrappings, the country name helps in dating the supplies. “Western Germany” and later “West Germany” were the common English names used for the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), which existed from 1949 until the reunification of Germany in 1990.

We sell our supplies in our Etsy shop and on our website.  The Etsy policy regarding labeling items as "vintage" is that they must be at least 20 years old.  That means that anything from 1991 and older can now be labeled vintage on Etsy. It also means that anything made in Western Germany or West Germany is now considered vintage by Etsy’s definition.

I must confess that 1991 does not feel vintage to me! Plus, we would like to determine the age of our beads more precisely within the 60 year time period that West(ern) Germany existed.  I’ve written previously about the various approaches we take to determining the provenance and history of our supplies, but sometimes you just get lucky.

Many of the vintage West German glass beads currently offered at BumbershootSupplies have a clear provenance. They were made in Kaufbeuren, in southern Germany, southwest of Munich. They were made in the 1950’s and remained in a warehouse there for decades, until the warehouse was closed and the contents of the warehouse were purchased by the supplier who provided the beads to us. Not too many steps involved, and a clear provenance.

We currently have a total of 28 different beads from this warehouse. You will be able to identify the Kaufbeuren beads most readily on our website, because over the next day or so, Jim will add a link to this blog post to the description of each of the beads.

Products related to this history can be found right here at Bumbershoot Supplies.

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