Waterford Crystal glassware

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wikicollecting

2015-06-26 10:35:04

Brothers William and George Penrose founded Waterford Crystal in 1783 in the city of Waterford, Ireland. Thought they didn’t have an idea about glass-works fabrication, they thought that the business had a great potential, being it that during that time, there was a great demand for decorative and plain flint glass.

The Penrose brothers aimed to create high quality crystal wares that would rival those made by European glass-makers. To help them achieve their goal, they hired an expert Quaker glass craftsman by the name of John Hill. For around three years Hill managed the business and supervised Waterford’s employees.

When Hill left the company, he turned over the glass formula of Waterford to a clerk by the name of Jonathan Gatchell. At around the turn of the century, William Penrose left Waterford, and Gatchell stepped in to take over the operations of the company together with two local families, the Barcrofts and the Ramseys.

Waterford flourished during the early 19th century. During this period, even King George III bought crystal wares from the company. The flint glass made by Waterford became renowned for its unique shade of gray, which was caused by a sand ingredient that the company imported from the King’s Lynn region.

Waterford made a vast array of ornamental and table glass, including, water jugs, clarets, goblets, wine glasses, chandeliers, dishes, candlesticks, bowls and their highly popular decanters. Waterford decanters come with a stopper that is shaped like a mushroom and three rings wrapped around their necks. One of the most prized Waterford products today is the apprentice bowl.

In the past, company apprentices at the end of their training were required to make a bowl that showcased all the cuts in the entire Waterford glass line.

When Gatchell passed away in 1825, business started to decline. Waterford eventually closed down in 1851 due to the heavy taxes imposed by the UK government on glass. In 1947, a small band of workers inspired by the drive of the independent movement to promote Irish art reopened Waterford. They initially used old designs but gradually introduced new ones.
1952 was a highly productive year for the company, as they were able to introduce a number of product lines, such as Araglin, Carina, Alana and the highly popular Lismore.

A merger between Waterford and Wedgwood was formalized in 1986. This partnership helped the company further its reputation for quality crystal and glassware.

Products

The company is a known producer of high quality lead crystal stemware, chandeliers, and specialty trophies.

Milestones

Waterford produced the 2,668 crystals that were used to decorate the highly popular New Year's Eve Ball.

The company also makes trophies for highly prestigious events such as the Masters Series, a professional tennis competition, and the People’s Choice Awards.

Waterford also designed the trophies for the German and French Grand Prix in Formula One, the glass tennis racket presented to German tennis player Boris Becker, and the ball and bat trophy given to baseball legend Derek Jeter.

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