27 years of choosing LAC. LAC’s first firing brought Brno a citywide brownout.
Ing. Kučerka has been with LAC since the very beginning. He was even with us in the time when there wasn’t a LAC yet, just Ledl and Crhák—two friends and foundrymen who assembled their first furnace for ceramics at Kučerka’s suggestion. Their “lunar lander.” Their actual first furnace exploded in a few hours.
Their second held up for a few weeks, and the third, finally, for several years. “That was an absolutely unbelievable performance for the time. No similar furnace had stayed functional for so long, because back then materials varied wildly in quality—I sought materials everywhere so that the boys could assemble that furnace for me,” says Kučerka with admiration of the work L. and C. did back then. And his recollections go on. “Back then when we made our first test firing, the boys told me ‘you’ll have to come on Friday so that the furnace can cool down by Monday.’ That was some sort of bogie-hearth furnace, the size of a small studio apartment. Well, and imagine—here I come on Friday with a sheet of little hand-turned bells, I place them in the middle of that enormous furnace, and we turn it on. All of Brno suffered a brownout right then (he laughs). Our test turned out wonderfully; the furnace really did cool down by Monday, and I ordered their ‘lunar lander.’ Well, and ever since, I’ve been coming back to LAC.”
When Kučerka says “back then,” he has in mind the winter of 1988–89, when Czechoslovakia was still boot-deep in communism. Furnaces were manufactured by a single plant, named Realistic, and only artists registered as “state artistic resources” were entitled to a furnace. They also had to wait in line up to three years. “We nicknamed Ledl and Crhák’s furnace the ‘lunar lander,’ because it stood on three funny little legs. But technology-wise, it was from another planet compared to everything else at the time; it had no competition,” explains Kučerka, who is coming back to LAC today, 25 years later, for what is now his 30th furnace. “If I had to name a few things, it would be the service life of the LAC furnaces, their savings, and their absolutely tiny failure rate. When you have over 30,000 crowns’ worth of goods in a furnace and you’re firing three times a week, you can’t just stop it or, God forbid, lose your whole bet to an error by your equipment.” In Ledl and Crhák’s first “lunar lander,” Kučerka fired hand-turned ceramic bells. In their latest work, he’ll be firing cast ceramics—for his company’s self-sufficiency, he says.
“I’m unbelievably and totally satisfied with LAC furnaces. Why would I go anywhere else? We’ve never had an order go unfinished or be delivered late because of a malfunction. That’s the only thing I care about.”