Skip to Content


Key Dates in the History of Glass

Key Dates in the History of Glass 2000BC Egyptian glass making 100BC Syrians invent glass blowing 1255 Venetian glass makers guild 1291 Venetian glass making moved to Murano c1500 Venetian “cristallo” & filigree glass c1500 to 1600 Venetian “golden age” 1575 Anglo-Venetian glass c1670 Lehman etches with fluoric acid 1674 Ravenscroft develops flint glass 1675 […]  Continue Reading »

Early Glass

The basic components of glass are silica (sand), soda (or potash) and lime. The silica, when melted by heat, forms the glass; the soda acts as a flux to allow the glass to melt at a lower temperature; and the lime is a stabiliser. The combination can be modified. Lead oxide used as the flux […]  Continue Reading »

Islamic Glass

Glass making in Europe made no advances for almost a thousand years after the fall of the Roman Empire. But in the Middle East, particularly in Syria, the industry remained active. With the establishment of the Islamic Empire in the seventh century, an Islamic style developed. In the eighth and ninth centuries, engraved and cut […]  Continue Reading »

Venetian Glass

Tradition holds that, after the fall of the Roman Empire, glass makers were among the refugees from the Gothic invasion of Italy in the fifth and sixth centuries AD who founded the city of Venice. The earliest record of glass being made in Venice of a “phial maker” named Domenico who lived there in 909. […]  Continue Reading »

English Glass

Venetian glass was so fashionable in Elizabethan England that it was effecting the balance of trade. As a result, in 1575, a law was passed banning its importation. Instead, a monopoly was granted to Jacope Verelini, a Venetian-born glassmaker, to manufacture Venetian-style glass in England. This Anglo-Venetian glass was fragile, contained microscopic air bubbles and […]  Continue Reading »

Irish Glass

Flint glass was made in Ireland from the 1690s. This imitated the English style and much of it was exported to England until prohibited by the Excise Act of 1745. Within ten years, all production of fine glass in Ireland had ceased. In 1780, the prohibition was removed and several glasshouses were established in Ireland […]  Continue Reading »

Bohemian Glass

The first country to seriously challenge the domination of Venice in glass making was Bohemia. The area was ideal for glass making because of its white sands and dense forests for fuel and potash. In about 1670, Henry Lehman perfected a method of etching glass with fluoric acid so that the ornament showed smooth against […]  Continue Reading »

Austrian (Jugenstil) Glass

In the late 19th century, when the Art Nouveau movement was sweeping France, Britain and America, a similar movement known as Jugedstil (literally “youth style”) swept Germany and Austria. Its most brilliant flowering was in the Austrian glass design between about 1870 and 1900. Reacting against what were seen as stereotyped designs in Bohemian glass, […]  Continue Reading »

French Glass

During the Middle Ages, the French created unsurpassed stained glass windows, and from the late seventeenth century they were the leading mirror makers of Europe; but, for vessels, glass was considered unworthy of serious artistic treatment. A strict customs barrier imposed in 1830 encouraged the development of French art glass. From 1830 to 1870 most […]  Continue Reading »

Glass Paperweights

Glass paperweights have been a popular collectable for well over 200 years. A particular style is the millefiori in which coloured glass rods are set into clear molten glass to form patterns of flowers, fruit or abstract shapes. This style was developed in the 18th century by Venetian glass makers and the art peaked around […]  Continue Reading »

Lalique Glass

RenĂ© Lalique was born in France in 1860. He trained as a silversmith but, at an early age, discovered a talent and passion for sculpture and jewellery design in many other materials. Lalique was a major force in the art nouveau movement, introducing novel themes and materials into his work. These included the use of […]  Continue Reading »

American Glass

The first successful glassworks in America was established in 1739 by Caspar Wistar in southern New Jersey. There are no positively identified “South Jersey” pieces remaining. Henry Stiegel established three glassworks in Pennsylvania. The first made bottles and window glass from 1763. The second added some tableware to the range from 1765. The third, from […]  Continue Reading »

Australian Glass

The first glass maker in Australia was Simon Lord who began blowing glass bottles in Sydney in 1813. However an industry was not established until 1872 when Andrew Felton and Frederick Grimwade established the Melbourne Glass Bottle Works (later ACI). Carnival glass was produced at the Crystal Glass Works in Sydney from 1924. Uniquely Australian […]  Continue Reading »

Swedish Glass

The earliest Swedish glass was made at the Kungsholm Glasbuk which opened in 1676. The pieces produced were Venetian in flavour and highly ornate – often with stems formed from the royal initials, crowns used as handles and engraved coats of arms. In the eighteenth century, a Bohemian influence was introduced with thicker glass, shorter […]  Continue Reading »

Danish & Norwegian Glass

In 1741 King Christian VI of Norway and Denmark commanded the establishment of a glassworks at Nostetangen (in Norway) to meet the needs of his kingdom. After some years of experimental work, in 1760 the Nostetangen was granted a monopoly and the import of foreign glass was banned. From 1760 to 1770, two types of […]  Continue Reading »

Collectable Bottles

Up to the middle of the 19th century, liquids had been sold in stoneware bottles. Generally, these bottles were plain in colour with the manufacturer’s name and contents incised into them. By the end of the 19th century, most were decorated with underglaze or transfer printing. In the middle of the 19th century public concern […]  Continue Reading »