Christian Ulbricht Nutcrackers
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Christian Ulbricht Nutcrackers



 
The Ulbricht Family History

Nutcrackers and smokers have a romantic history. Wood turned on lathes that can be traced back to the small German mining town of Seiffen, in the mountains of the Erzgebirge around the Czechoslovakian border. At one time this area was rich in gold, silver and other minerals, but in the late 1600s the deposits ran dry. It was then that wood turning, which before had been only a hobby, became a source of income. Records document the Ulbricht family as wood turners from this period.

Christian Ulbricht was born in Seiffen on February 15, 1933. His father, Otto, a professional wood turner started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border over to the West where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, around Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again. Christian Ulbricht was born in Seiffen on February 15, 1933. His father, Otto, a professional wood turner started his own business in 1928, built a new factory in 1934. After World War II, when the area became the East German Zone and private industry was taken out of the hands of individuals, Otto took his family across the border over to the West where they resettled in the Bavarian town of Lauingen, around Augsburg. Once settled, with his Erzgebirge wood-turning traditions transplanted to Bavaria, Otto began again.

When Otto died in 1968, Christian, who is now in charge of the family enterprise, continued those time-honored traditions. In 1978 Christian expanded his thinking, and developed a new company which he named Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht.

In the early 1990s, when East and West re-unified and Germany once again became one nation, Christian was thrilled to be able to bring back to the family the factory in Seiffen begun by his father so many years ago. Today, the company operates out of both locations.

The development of Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht has been spurred by the American collector, who has been a great influence. All of the Ulbricht family - Christian, his wife Inge and their two children, Ines and Gunther - have traveled extensively in the United States and have met and talked with collectors. For this reason, many of the motifs produced today include those of particular interest to Americans, such as Santa Claus; characters from beloved ballets like "The Nutcracker Suite" as well as American inventors, and even Uncle Sam.

Christian himself takes great pride when he has designed a new nutcracker and it has taken shape for him on the lathe. This sample then becomes the reference for the workers who handcraft the finished pieces, using only the finest wood and materials.

Inge who is in charge of quality control, also designs most of the ornaments, a creative task she greatly enjoys. Ines is also involved in artistic design but her great ability lies in organization. In fact, she is in charge of all production in Seiffen, where she now lives. She and her brother have been charged with the joint responsibility of co-directing the Christian Ulbricht Collectors’ Club, which started up in 1998.

Gunther has inherited great creative ability. Many of the most artistic of the nutcrackers produced today bear his designs. In his private time he is a fine artist, painting both portraits and landscapes.

Now well into its third generation, the Ulbricht family continues to produce highly sought-after wood-turned products of the finest quality. In addition to an extensive line of various nutcrackers of many sizes, there are incense burners, music boxes, figurines, pyramids and ornaments geared for Christmas and Easter.

Traditions are very important to Holzkunst Christian Ulbricht. Not only those that strengthen ties to the land and to family, but also those that continue the traditions of excellence in production that date back 300 years.

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