Free shipping on orders over $1500
(02) 2762 8996

The history of Plauen Lace~ Witness the 40 years of the two world wars, the Great Depression and the communist rule under the tradition of good design and quality

The history of Plauen Lace~ Witness the 40 years of the two world wars, the Great Depression and the communist rule under the tradition of good design and quality

Plauen has been a center for the skilled production of a wide range of high-quality textiles since ancient times, starting with hand spinning and weaving in the 15th century. Handmade lace and embroidery began in the early 16th century, mainly for the clergy and the aristocracy. The popularity of lace expanded rapidly, and handmade lace soon became a cottage industry in Plauen and much of Europe and America, continuing well into the 19th century.

The introduction of the manual embroidery machine in 1857 led directly to innovations in lace production. Since it was possible to embroider lace without a thick cloth backing, in the early 1880s entrepreneurs in Plauen started producing lace by machine. In 1900, the woven lace produced by Plauen won the Grand Prix at the Paris World's Fair. Plauen lace has become synonymous with high-quality lace.

The production of lace in Plauen quickly became the largest source of income in Plauen, and the population of the region reached its peak of 128,000 in 1912. More millionaires lived in Plauen than in any other city in Germany at the time. Due to the high volume of exports to the United States, Plauen even opened an American consulate.

World War I and its aftermath quickly changed all that. In 1923 Plauen had the highest unemployment rate in Germany. Then, the worldwide Great Depression began in 1929. Although the economy improved from 1933 onwards, the bombing of Plauen in World War II in 1945 destroyed at least 80% of the lace industry and the city was eventually occupied by the Soviet Union.

In 1950, the lace and embroidery industry restarted in Plauen, which became part of the German Communist Democratic Republic (collectively known as East Germany). Initially, small family-owned companies were allowed to operate on their own, until 1973 when most of the lace industry was nationalized.

After the reunification of Germany in 1990, private ownership was restored. The formerly family-owned factory was returned to its owners, including the family of Andreas Reinhardt, now the fourth generation owner of Modespitze. In addition, new private companies quickly entered the industry.

The machines left by state-owned enterprises are old and in very poor condition. The new owner had neither the funds nor credit from the bank to purchase the new machine. But nothing like high-quality Plauen lace that has endured 40 years of communism. Eventually the banks increased credit, and by 2000 major production resumed.

Today, the Plauener Lace and Embroidery Association owns the trademark Plauener Spitze® registered in the USA. Only member companies that abide by the association's strict standards of high quality, good design, local production in Plauen and strict employee training can use the registered trademark Plauener Spitze®. Today, the thriving industry in Plauen and the surrounding Vogtland region has resulted in modern German lace being proudly labeled Plauen lace, thus becoming the production base for the global market looking for lace of the highest quality.

Discover more Plauen lace

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published


No Products in the Cart