Red - Ashay Car Mascots
A Short Guide to the Efforts & Life of Hermann George Ascher (Part 1 )
We receive many enquires regarding this company and the history surrounding this line of car mascots. I hope we may be able to answer some of these questions in this guide. In writing this guide I would like to thank David Kay, Michal Jadrny and other dealers in the car mascot world. Also Janet Currie, the grand daughter of the founder of the Company, Herman George Ascher
Mr Herman George Ascher was born in Czechoslovakia on the 11th August 1889 , in the small town Vaditz in Bohemia. He later attended the technical high school in Reichenberg. He then went onto become a technical advisor for a firm of calico printers, bleachers and dyers, also as an aniline colour manufacturing chemist. His work took him to Germany from September 1912 until January 1914. Ascher also served in the Austrian Home Defence as a private soldier for a period of eight weeks.
In 1914 Ascher left mainland Europe and emigrated to Manchester England. Upon arrival he was placed in a base for Alien Civilian Internment on Douglas, Isle of Man. He left the camp after 5 months, moving to Wakefield, living at several addresses. He then began to develop his glass importation business. He obviously had contacts in the Jizera Mountains in the now Czech Republic, situated in the North of the country near to the Polish border. This area was a well known area for high quality glass production. The largest and most famous producer of glass in that area is the Desna factory now owned by Jablonex a.s. This factory can trace it's history back to 1847 and was eventually purchased by Josef Riedel. Local artists and glass designers were encouraged to produce a range of stunning and beautiful items. These designers included Frantisek Pazourek and Curt Schlevogt. A large amount of these items were marketed all over the world by Heinrich Hoffmann.
On the 24th February 1920 Ascher married Annie Clarke and in 1922 the couple moved to 4 - 8, Acomb Street, Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester. Purchasing the premises from the distinguished sounding Charles Septimus Lodge, BA, teacher of classics. The premises must have been quite large, no known photo exists of 4 - 8, Acombe Street as the building was demolished in the 1950's. Fortunately a local photographer took some views of the premises next door, it is thought that Ascher's Red-Ashay business would have been a similar structure :
The above views provided by the Manchester Library show the premises of 10 - 12 Acombe Street. The views taken in the 1950's show that they were owned by Heywoods builders and plumbers merchants. The view below shows the site 6 - 8, Acombe Street occupied. All of this area has now been redeveloped and most of this end of Acombe Street being part of Manchester University.
Now having suitable premises as a base Ascher formed H.G. Ascher Ltd and set up the famous "Red-Ashay" range of products that are still produced under the Desna Classic label. Below is one of the most famous and expensive of his range, "Night Butterfly", also known as "Butterfly Girl" and "Dancing Girl". It is thought that Hoffman commissioned this piece after a famous Continental nightclub dancer of the 1920's, called Helle Nice, nee Helene Delangle who went on to become the main racing driver for Bugatti in the 30's. It's original 1930's price was £5. 10 shillings, a considerable price at that time and probably only attracted customers who had a large income and car !
Herman Ascher soon became involved in the lucrative business of importing and selling of high quality glass car mascots. He must have known Hoffman because the majority of these mascots were produced by The Hoffmann Company at the former Riedel factory. Ascher named this range of over 30 car mascots as "Red-Ashay" illuminated motor mascots. In 1930 Ascher started to sell this range throughout the UK and advertised in several national trade and motor magazines. An early example can be seen below, the car mascot named "Acceleration" is still produced by Desna under the name of "The Future", this item together with Night Butterfly and many others are now sold by Crystal-Art-Glass :
Now see Part 2 of the guide..........................
© Crystal-Art-Glass 2008