Biographical / Historical
Josef (Joseph) Nitsche (1851-1923) was born in Nový Oldrichov, a town in the North Bohemian region of the present-day Czech Republic. He trained as a copper-wheel engraver and married Antonia Eicksch, with whom he had two sons: Clement F. J. (1880-1979) and Ernest B. (1881-1956). Around 1883, he and his family moved to Stourbridge, England so he could work for the Thomas Webb Glass Company. After hearing about engraving opportunities in Corning, NY, Josef then immigrated to America and by 1893 his family had joined him.
Josef’s first employer in Corning was J. Hoare and Company, and sometime before 1901 he also began working at T.G. Hawkes & Company. Additionally, he established his own engraving shop behind his house in Corning and began to train his sons in the business. Clement began an apprenticeship with his father as a teenager, and eventually became a partner in the Nitsche & Son Glass Engraving Establishment. Customers of the shop included large companies such as the Hunt Glass Company and Steuben Glass Works, as well as individuals. In 1904, Clement also joined H. P. Sinclaire and Co. as a designer and engraver, remaining at the company until it closed in 1928. During the late 1930s, Steuben Glass Works began a copper-wheel apprentice program and the company hired Clement as the teacher/mentor for this program. Clement retired from the engraving business in 1950 at the age of 70.
Farrar, E. S., & Spillman, J. S. (1979). The complete cut and engraved glass of Corning. New York: Crown Publishers.
Nitsche, C. G. (2013). A brief illustrated guide to the Nitsche & Son Glass Engraving Archive in the Rakow Research Library.