A smart location: Wattens, Austria
Wattens, high in the Austrian Alps, was a shrewd choice—plenty of natural water to generate hydroelectricity for his machinery and also far from the prying eyes of competitors. With rail transport links to the fashion capitals of Europe, demand soon reached fever pitch among jewelry and couture ateliers. His sons Wilhelm, Friedrich, and Alfred had by now joined their father and, themselves, had begun experimenting with crystal production.
In 1919, Daniel Swarovski seized the chance to make his grinding and polishing tools available to the industrial community via a new subsidiary known as Tyrolit. But it was during the Thirties that several significant milestones were achieved. Firstly, in 1931 the company launched a line of crystal trimmings, to the delight of the garment and accessories sectors, featuring crystals in ready-to-use formats for edging, hems, and borders. Then, in 1935, Daniel’s oldest son, Wilhelm, developed a pair of prototype binoculars. Two years later, Swarovski created a line of glass reflectors for road and rail, and reflector strips for guardrails, which by 1950 would be marketed under the brand name ‘Swareflex’. And in 1949 , a new company, Swarovski Optik, became a leading producer of optical lenses.
The end of an era
Daniel Swarovski died in 1956 at the great age of 93 , the same year his company created the Aurora Borealis, which was snapped up by Christian Dior. This shimmering finish transformed the sparkle of cut crystal, and was a fitting way to mark the passing of a legend. His spirit lives on in the company’s rigorous application of his motto: “To constantly improve what is good.”