Mid-Century Glassware: Glass Makers and Designers (Jun 2018)

Mid-Century Glassware: This article on Mid-century Glass Makers covers the makers that I have become aware over the last 5 years.

This is my third article for the website.  I am a relatively new admirer of Mid-Century Glass so this article is more of a catalog of makers than an analysis of the range of product or the prices.  Also, my knowledge thus far is limited to functional glass rather than art glass.  Again, I only used my own photos for this article.

Mid-Century Glassware: Glass Makers and Designers

Iittala Finland

Iittala Finland “dates back to 1881 when a glass factory was established in a village of the same name in southern Finland.”  Iittala is probably the most well-known Scandinavian mid-century glassware maker.

“The breakthrough came in the early years of modernism and functionalism during the 1930s and 40s. At that time it was pioneers like Alvar Aalto, Aino Aalto and Kaj Franck who led the development of the Iittala brand. Their belief was that objects should always be designed with thought and make them available for everyone.”

Mid-Century Glassware

Iittala Kekkerit Glasses

The company is still operating and producing beautiful designs today. They are releasing some of their early designs, but these are not as hand made.  Goto https://www.iittala.com.au/about-us.html.

Many of their patterns including  Festivo candle holders and Kekkerit goblets have been copied so you have to watch out for the fakes.

They have always attracted great designers.  Tapio Wirkkala (-2015) worked for Iittala Finland and was responsible for the Mesi (Honey/Nectar) pattern in production from 1966 to 1985, the Ultima and Thule ranges.  Timo Sarpeneva also worked for Iittala Finland and was responsible for the Kekkerit (Party) range of drinkware.  Other designers at Iittala were Kaj Franck (Kartio, Teema), Alvar Alto and Oiva Toikka (birds Kastehelmi, Flora).

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Iittala Mesi Water Set

Iittala Finland Shot Glasses

Iittala Finland Shot Glasses – SOLD

Joe Colombo for Arno Glass Italy

Joe Colombo (1930-1971) was an Italian designer. He studied Art and Architecture and opened his own store design business in 1962. He produced innovative designs for furniture, lamps, glass, pipes, alarm clocks, and wristwatches. His designs were considered futuristic or ‘space-age’.

He designed some homewares including very distinctive wine glasses. He also designed a range of tableware for Arno Glass of Italy during the 1970s called Italora.  This glass dinnerware was quite common during the 1970s and not all of it got broken.

For more about Joe Colombo try https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Cesare_Colombo.

Joe Colombo Italora Arno Italy Dinner Set

Joe Colombo Italora Dinner Set for 4 – SOLD

Joe Colombo Glass Creamer and Sugar

Joe Colombo Glass Creamer and Sugar – SOLD

Joe Colombo Italy Candle Holders

Joe Colombo Italy Candle Holders – for sale

Lasisepat Mantsala Finland

Lasisepat Mantsala are one of the lesser known Finnish glass makers and I believe the factory was operating from 1978-2003.  They produced centrifugal cast and blown glass and reportedly a small amount of studio glass.  Their best known designer was Pertti Kallioinen for his Cow Parsley and Metsa (forest) ranges made for in the 1970s.

Very little is available on the internet about this glass works, and what I have found is mostly on discussion pages.  It is often missed from lists of Scandinavian glass makers.

I have not seen any art glass myself but I did have a Cow Parsley sweet dish in pale pink glass.

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Pertti Kallioinen Metsa – SOLD

Mid-Century Glassware

Mantsala Cow Parsley

Pukeberg Sweden

Pukeberg was founded in Sweden in 1871 and has produced decorative glass from the 1930s to the present day.

Uno Westerberg designed for Pukeberg Sweden from 1935-1978 and is responsible for the shattered glass range.

Designers Goran Warff and Ann Warff (later Wolff 1937-) joined Pukeberg in 1958 and left in 1964 to go to Kosta Boda.

Goto http://www.glassfromsweden.com/pukeberg.html for more background info.

The Indiana Glass Company U.S.A

The Indiana Glass Company of Dunkirk can trace its roots in glass back to 1897. By 1908 the company was a powerhouse within the U.S. glass industry and produced a wide variety of domestic and commercial glass through till the 1980s.

Among the items produced early were Carnival glass, Depression-style, Art Deco glassware and other patterns.  Later came coloured glasses in green, pink, crystal and white milk glass.

For more on the company goto http://www.collectorsweekly.com/glassware/indiana

Whitefriars England

The glass factory at Whitefriars boasts 300 years of glass making back to 1720. James Powell & Sons took over in 1834 and developed new technologies for glass making.  “Their glass always reflected the fashion of the day.”  In 1923 they built a new factory in London and post WWII their business boomed. For a history of Whitefriars goto http://www.whitefriars.com/about_whitefriars.php.

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Whitefriars Glacier

Mid-Century Glassware

Geoffrey Baxter Bowl

During the mid-20th-century they kept up with the Scandinavian style that was in fashion.  There most well-known designer was Geoffrey Baxter (-1995) who joined them in 1954 and came up with a completely new approach to glass design that resulted in the Textured Range that came out in 1967 and was produced in many colours.  Other designers included Peter Wheeler for the Studio Ranges.  In 1972 they produced the Glacier Range.

Whitefriars is probably the most well-known English mid-century glassware maker.

They stopped producing studio glass in 1973 and the factory closed in 1980.

Humppila Finland

Humppila Finland operated from 1952 till 1979 when it was taken over and later became part of Nuutajarvi Glass Finland.

Glass designers who worked there in the 1970s included Pertti Santalahti and Kai Blomqvist.

For a short history goto glass_home.htm” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>http://www.20thcenturyglass.com/glass_encyclopedia/scandinavian_glass/humppila_glass/humppilaglass_home.htm

Please have a look at the retro homewares in my shop..  SHOP

Mid-Century Glassware

Happy bargain hunting and collecting


  1. Adela Belcastro

    Thank you for this information, am trying to research a bowl that I feel is Scandinavian, but no luck so far…although the base leads me to LASISEPAT – maybe ….

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