Background on the IHMSEN family and the EMDE works

 

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     The Emde glassworks were founded in 1727 in the immense beech forests located between the cities of Bad Driburg and Brakel by Concession of the Prince-Bishop of Paderborn and the House of Asseburg of Hinnenburg on one side to the Glassmasters Johann Henrich Gundelach and Abraham Wiegand on the other side. The forests belonged to a half part each to the Bishopric and to the Noble House of Asseburg, so all contracts had to be agreed upon by both sides.

     During the 18th Century the "fine" glassworks Emde was the most significant works in the Archbishopric Paderborn. It was the only glassworks in the Diocese, that was allowed to produce fine "white" glass, and to cut and guild it. This priviledge had been granted specially and exclusively to Carl Ihmsen by the Archbishop Clemens August. All other glassworks in the Archbishopric were allowed only to produce common, "coarse" green glass. The most important works for green glass in the area was the glassworks of Siebenstern (Seven Stars) that was run by the old glassmakers family Becker. Their unmistakable trade mark were 7 airbubbles blown into foot of many of their products that looked like seven stars.

     The first contract of the works ran for 10 years. In those days the common length for a contract ran between six and ten years. The length for a contract depended upon the availability of wood for the glass ovens. If at the end of the contract there was not enough wood available, the contract was not prolonged. Usually the works were torn down and rebuilt sevral miles away at another location with a new contract.

     During the renewal of the contract in the year 1736 Johann Carl Ihmsen entered as Worksmaster, Johann Henrich Gundelach left, and the works were continued together with Abraham Wiegand, later his widow and sons.

     According to family lore, the Ihmsen family worked in the glass trade at least since the end of 1500. So far though it has been impossible to find out where this Carl Ihmsen came from. From documents of the 1750's one can see, that he himself wrote his name as Johann Carll Ihmßen (ß=ss). The name of Ihmsen appears in different church books of the diocese during the 18th century as of 1729, when he, in the earliest entry at the parish of Istrup, married his wife Anna Elisabeth Gundelach. From then on the name is found in several variations: Imsen, Imbsen and Imessen are the more common ones. Only at the beginning of 1800 the uniform way of writing the name as Ihmsen is generally accepted.

     To the origins of the family there are several, though unproven, indications. For several decades they seem to have been working at the Harz Mountains. In the church book of the village of Scharzfeld a certain Hans Ihmsen in 1644 and 1647 had christened a son and a daughter. In the church book Bockelnhagen in 1661 a widow Ihmsen is buried. The church book of Poehlde has an entry of a Philipp Imsen, who married the widow of a glassmaker Seitz and in 1686 out of this connection came a daughter. This Philipp could be the son of a family Imsen in Herzberg, that appears several times in the church book there Mid 1600. A clear connection to glass making is not given with the Imsen in the Harz, except for Philipp. One of the Imsen in Herzberg though was titled as "Master", which could be an indication to glass.

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Last Change: 07.11.2011 (© Hans Ihmsen)