Strathearn Glass was a glass making company which bought Vasart Glass in 1964. In 1992 it ceased production completely. History
Strathearn Glass started with Mr A K Bergius of the famed whisky maker, William Teacher & Sons. In 1963 Bergius travelled to New York and while there got hold of a Teacher’s Whisky bottle which looked unusual as it had been inadvertently left in a potter’s oven overnight. Though the bottle had a disfigured appearance, Bergius felt that it can still be used as an ashtray.
When Bergius returned to Scotland he showed the bottle to every glass-maker in the country. Except for Vasart works, no local glass-works maker showed interest in reproducing the design. Vincent Ysart took on the challenge and spent a lot of long hours creating customized glass equipment for the bottle ashtray. Finally, Ysart was able to successfully build a furnace and started producing the uniquely designed ashtray at the rate of 500 pieces per month. Teacher’s found the product to be highly popular among customers and asked Vasart to produce more. However the glass-maker did not have the facilities to scale up production and so in 1964 Teacher’s decided to buy Vasart Glass Ltd., renaming it to Strathearn Glass Ltd.
The first glass factory of Strathearn was opened in January 22, 1965. It was situated in Muthill Road, Crieff and Vincent Ysart was its first manager. The company is recognized as the first European glassware manufacturer to use propane gas to fire up furnaces. Vincent did not stay long in the company and left in the first year of its operations to work as a clerk for an insurance company in Perth. Stuart Drysdale replaced Vincent and managed the operations of the company until 1968.
Under the direction of Angus Sillars who was Strathearn’s Design Director, the company produced lamps, paperweights, bowls, and vases in the Vasart style. To meet the demand of its parent company, Strathearn produced 50,000 bottle ashtrays annually. Strathearn also began making engraved glass in 1973.
The 1970s though proved to be a tough period for the company as demand for colored glass plummeted. What further compounded the company’s woes was when Allied Group bought Teacher’s Whiskey (the parent company of Strathearn) in 1976, as Allied showed little interest in the glass-maker. In 1980, the company was sold off to Stuart and Sons of Stourbridge, who renamed it to Stuart Strathearn Ltd. Production was permanently halted in 1992.
How to recognize Strathearn Glass
Strathearn is known for its leaping salmon seal. However, not all products of the company had this label as only those that were thick enough were stamped with the seal. Understandably, some Strathearn designs are comparable to that of Vasart’s, Monart’s or Ysart’s. One thing though that sets these three apart from Stratheran is the latter’s preference for using dull colors.
In reality, the best Strathearn glass pieces are not reproductions, but rather beautiful original glass-works. During the latter years of the company, it produced glass-works that were brightly colored, to keep up with the design trends of the period.
Strathearn produced a wide range of beautiful glassware products such as paperweights, bowls, vases, drop lamps, and dishes.
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