Ing. Václav Kuželka

* 1948

  • "It was beautiful because I was teaching there twelve hours a week, not every day. I had a lot of time to myself, I didn't have to worry about the kids. I left all that to my wife. So I got better, I started running. I set up a lab for them. And then, one more crazy thing... There was this fence, a Czech guy took care of it for five years. He took care of it for five years... The thing was that the International Monetary Fund paid them to build a small glass factory at the technical school. And that they would make simple glass things out of the sand and limestone. And that the Czechs would supply the technology and the IMF would pay for it. And the school didn't start until the end of October, because they were still waiting for money from the IMF, so I basically had four months to learn the English."

  • "We flew. Six hours flying over Africa, you see the Mediterranean, it's beautiful, boats are floating. Then you see the Atlas, the mountains, how the rivers disappear, the Sahara. And then suddenly you see clouds - because Nigeria is one of the few countries in Africa that has enough water. The Niger River. The Niger River and the whole area is green. If it weren't for the Africans, it's such a prosperous country... And now we were approaching, and as the clouds were there, all of a sudden we saw that there was lightning, there was a storm... There were 300 of us on the plane, six of them white, everybody else was black. And as soon as it went off on one side, the 300 people minus the six white people got up and ran to the other side of the plane where the lightning wasn't. And we whites were looking at each other because we stayed on that one side. And when it went off on the other side, all those 300 people ran over to the other side. It was crazy. Finally we landed and everybody was clapping because we survived our death."

  • "We had a good chemist and he made the decision for me, he said, 'You're good at chemistry, so you're going to chemistry. Chemistry has a future." All it took was a word and they decided it for us, we didn't know what chemistry was at that time. All I knew was that I used to go to his office with a friend and he'd say, "Hey, make shaky silver." Because he knew what he was gonna get us into. Shiny balls and stuff like that. So we were filtering it in there, when we had it, we had it on the filter, it was wet, I was hitting it with a hammer... There was a thing that happened, the next day Mr. Plesar had a chemistry class and he was presenting a Klinker brick. He took a hammer that had dried silver iodides on it, hit it, the brick flew out and Plesar was almost hit by a shock."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Nový Bor, 14.03.2023

    délka: 01:24:53
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu The Stories of Our Neigbours
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

Teachers have given me a lot in my life. Then I taught in Nigeria myself.

Václav Kuželka, 2023
Václav Kuželka, 2023
zdroj: Stories of our neighbours

Václav Kuželka was born in Tachov, West Bohemia, on 6 January 1948. It was there that he graduated from the grammar school, where he became interested in literature, and was particularly attracted to the works of Josef Škvorecký and Vladimír Páral. After graduating from the Tachov gymnasium, he began to study chemistry at the university in Prague. In his twenties he attended student discussions organized by Alexander Dubček and Josef Smrkovský. In this way, he experienced first-hand the intense Prague Spring and the August invasion of the Warsaw Pact troops into Czechoslovakia. After graduation, he arranged a job at the Moser company in Karlovy Vary, but eventually, on the recommendation of a university professor, he went to Nový Bor and started working at the Crystalex company. Here he first encountered the techniques of glazing and lithyalin, which appealed to him very much. These techniques led him to an intense interest in the life and work of Bedřich Egermann, who influenced Václav Kuželka and became his role model. Crystalex products were very popular in the Western world, and for Václav Kuželka, working as a technologist at Crystalex meant the opportunity to promote new methods and innovations. He also managed to learn the English language during socialism and applied for the opportunity to travel to England to gain experience in foreign glassworks. Since he was not in the communist party and was not politically involved, he was sent to Nigeria as a technologist instead of England. However, there were no glass furnaces in Africa, so he began teaching chemistry and glass technology at the local university. He also continued to deepen his knowledge of English. After his return to Czechoslovakia and the fall of the Iron Curtain, he became the director of one of the glass factories, which he named Egermann Exbor. Later he founded his own company Glassbor. This operated until 2009, after which he had a small sample shop in Nový Bor. Václav Kuželka devoted himself to the development of blue glaze for many years and dedicated several years of his working career to this discovery. In 2023 he lived in Nový Bor.