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An Atlas of Obscure Particulars

The Papers of Antonín Ziegler, Maker of Pipes from Krásná Hora by Havlíčkův Brod
A meditation on a lost world of paper communication

Antonín Ziegler [1877-1956] built a factory for smoking accessories and walking sticks around 1900 in Krásná Hora by Havlíčkův Brod, a village that lies at the foot of a hill with a church and a rectory, in the picturesque valley of the Perlova Creek. Here, Ziegler and his workers produced bruyere and English pipes, walking sticks, tips and bugles. Some of the pipes were named after Krásná Hora, such as the “Gora” or the “Monte Bello,” and are still collectors’ items today. The factory had a outlet shop on Seminářská Street in Prague, and traded all over the world before falling victim to communist despotism in the 1950s.

In 1956, Ziegler bequeathed the property and equipment of his factories in Krásná Hora and Okrouhlice to his sons, who were subsequently sentenced to five years and 18 months in prison on charges of speculation. The factory building, which consisted of joined production and residential sections, later housed a post office, a health centre and then served as a cooperative warehouse. It was never again to operate as a factory. As of this writing (2023), it is in a very delapidated state, and is undergoing renovation by new owners.

Ziegler was once the mayor of the village and owner of a puppet theatre, and was thus active in the municipal cultural scene. To commemorate Ziegler and his activities, a small exhibit is now on display in the village’s Baroque mortuary. The key is available on request from the city hall.

The core of this media collection consists mainly of accounting records and correspondence, all items which were found in deplorable condition in the attic of the adjacent Krasná Horá rectory. They document the disappearing graphic interest of business correspondence on printed letterheads and postcards. In this digital age, handwritten accounting records have come to seem an almost beautiful form of art.

The collection was prepared by Lloyd Dunn in collaboration with Dana Recmanová.

You can read more about the history of the factory and Krásná Hora here:Pipe factory in Krásná Hora near Havlíčkův Brod [pdf]” Veselý, Eduard. In.

Information about the village of Krásná Hora is available here.