Vasart Glass



2015-06-26 10:30:33

Vasart Glass started when in September of 1946 Salvador Ysart, together with two of his sons, Augustine and Vincent, established their own glassware company, naming it Ysart Brothers Glass. The Vasart in Vasart Glass came from the initials of the three founders and the word “art” in Ysart. All of the glassworks that came of the company’s factory were individually blown. Also only two moulds were used in the factory, spoke moulds for creating wavy edges and dip moulds for making stripes.

The company had a great start with orders streaming constantly. Business was so good that by the late 1949, Vasart glassworks were already being exhibited in the highly popular Scottish Industries Exhibition.

However by the turn of 1951, production began to slow down. By 1956, only Vincent was the only one alive from among the founding group. He did not relish the fact that he also had to take care of administrative side of the business, which he found to be too tedious. At around this time, Vincent was joined in by George Dunlop, an experienced glassmaker. Together they established Vasart Glass Limited. George Dunlop was the founder of Pirelli Glass Limited, a glassworks manufacturer that in the past also marketed Vasart paperweights.

The new company continued making products that Vasart was known for and also gilded and enamelled decorative wares for companies such as Martini. Vasart’s first commercial product that they did in partnership with another company (William Teacher & Sons) was a bottle ashtray. Vincent spent a lot of developing the right furnace for the said item.

Another whisky distiller, Bell’s commissioned Vasart to produce coloured glass bell shaped decanters which the former used as a promotional tool.

Vasart Glass Limited was not producing enough ashtray bottles for William Teacher & Sons (who found them to be quite popular among customers) and in 1946 the latter decided to purchase Vasart, renaming it Strathearn Glass Limited.

Vasart glassware

Vasart is known to produce wares that reflected the designs trends of the time. One colouring technique that is common in Vasart glassware is the use of a light shade at the base of an item and a dark hue at the top. During the first years of the company, they produced vases that had pieces of cane at the point where the lower and upper colours met, which is usually at the center.

Vasart produced a wide array of ink bottles, bowls, and vases. They also made a number of lamps, with the mushroom line being one of the most attractive. Another popular lamp that they produced was the tulip lamp Shape L001, which looks an inverted flower and has a top edge that is shaped like a petal.

In 1963, PM Sir Alec Douglas-Home commissioned Vasart to produce various lighting globes for the Prime Minister’s residence, 10 Downing Street. 20 large globes were manufactured for the Cabinet Room, while 135 more, in smaller sizes, were also produced for the prestigious property. The large globes required up to 11 men to carry them up the stairs, taking 45 minutes each. Having each cost the firm £400 to produce, Vasart made a considerable loss when it charged £150 apiece.

Later, when a change of Government caused their removal, some of the globes were shipped to the USA but, due to vibrations and bad packing, all had been shattered by the time the consignment arrived.

During their existence, Vasart also produced a huge number of small ashtrays and bowls that had decorative rims.

Vasart paperweights

The company relegated the production of paperweights mostly to their less skilled women workers who were also given a free hand on the designs and patterns. The result was that many Vasart paperweights are of inferior quality. The best ones are those made by the founders (Salvador, Augustine, Vincent) themselves and Jack Allan.

Price guide

A Vasart glass bowl sold at Bonhams in August 2004 for £120.

A large, orange Vasart glass bowl sold at DuMouchelles in January 2009 for $50.

A pair of Vasart Baluster vases sold at Lyon & Turnbull in November 2004 for £220.

A Vasart glass lamp sold at Lyon & Turnbull in November 2003 for £360.

A Vasart glass lampshade sold at Lyon & Turnbull in November 2005 for £100.

A Vasart Ladies spittoon sold at Dirk Soulis in September 2012 for $20.

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