The glassworks in Kosta was founded in 1742. The name was created from the surnames of the founders, Generals Koskull and Staël von Holstein. Kosta’s location, in the heart of the dense forests in the Swedish province of Småland, was chosen so that the glassworks could provide both Stockholm and Karlskrona with glass. Important roads crossed here, and there was also an unlimited supply of wood to heat the furnaces.
Fine utility glassware was made here during the first 150 years of the company’s existence and comprised products such as window panes, bottles and drinkware, but also glass chandeliers and similar items. The customers included royalty, nobility and wealthy merchants who could afford the costly glassware. For a long time, the glassblowers came from Bohemia, which is now part of the Czech Republic. Many decades passed before Swedes learnt how to blow glass.
Kosta exhibited its products at the General Art and Industrial Exposition of Stockholm in 1897, but was criticised because its glassware mostly resembled items made in other parts of Europe. This gave the company the idea of employing its own designers. The idea rapidly gained ground and remains the actual foundation of the way in which the glassworks continually develops its product range.
The first designer at the glassworks was Gunnar G:son Wennerberg, who joined the company in 1898. Many well-known artists have worked here since then, such as Sven X-et Ericsson and Ewald Dahlskog. The first female artist was Tyra Lundgren who was recruited in 1935. Many women have worked at the glassworks since then and have been very successful.
Today’s Kosta Boda was formed through a merger of the glassworks in the communities of Kosta, Boda and Åfors. The group was initially called AB Åforsgruppen and included Johansfors Glassworks at that time. The company name was changed to Kosta Boda AB in 1976, and the company has been part of Orrefors Kosta Boda AB since 1989.
Manufacturing now takes place at the principal glassworks in Kosta and at Åfors Glassworks.