BRIEF HISTORY OF CRYSTAL PRODUCTION

By: John Hogan

Crystal has been executed or manufactured for over several hundred years throughout Europe. The English were both renowned and revered by competing countries for their high quality of crystal production for centuries.

ENGLISH VICTORIAN CUT CRYSTAL DECANTER, C. 1880

VICTORIAN CRYSTAL DECANTER

ENGLISH VICTORIAN CRYSTAL INKWELL, C. 1870-80

VICTORIAN CRYSTAL INKWELL


Richer factories employed the best of skills provided by these artisans. The power of production depended on these various skilled craftsmen.

Each country boasted of its quality production. The truth of the matter is that each of these European countries produced great glass and crystal of superior quality due to the fact that they equally had great chemists, modelers and designers that were constantly trying to discover new innovations in the production of better and better glass as the decades and centuries passed.

Of course, every country can boast of having had and presently have supreme glass makers.

Name dropping is a commonality for most writers who are prejudice about a specific kind/type of glass and/or crystal and who are native to a particular region or country.

Glass houses elsewhere in Europe thrived throughout the 1800s when Baccarat in France, Val St. Lambert of Belgium, Egermann in Bohemia, Orrefors in Sweden, Swarovski in Austria and Waterford (1783) in Ireland (just to name some), became leading lead crystal manufacturers.

From research through books and on the net, it seems a common practice for whoever is specializing in a specific type of glass to state that it is the best that was ever produced regardless of its quality or nationality.

Of course there are different grades and quality of glass produced in each country. The quality can vary drastically from being very poor to very high by the same factory. On many occasions, glass was produced for the very wealthy and on the extreme was also produced for the masses who could not afford the best money could buy. In addition to this fact, many factories were forced to produce inferior grades of glass for their survival during depressions, recessions, and wars. Regardless of country of origin, quality cut crystal and cut glass will always be treasured and avidly sought by collectors.

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