Mid-Century Glassware: This article on Mid-century Glass Makers covers the makers that I have become aware over the last 10 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 catalogue of makers I have found items from rather 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. I will try to update this article regularly to include the glass items that I have found.
I often pick up pieces of glass because they have a certain feel, are heavy for their size, have imperfect shapes (a sign of being hand made) or have unusual (or one-way up) patterns or pictures.
This type of glassware does not usually have makers marks so it is often difficult to identify if you are not familiar with the patterns. Most brands do have stickers and if you are lucky enough to find a piece with a sticker you can then verify it quickly on the internet. If there is no sticker it can take a lot longer to identify the maker and designer but it is usually worth the effort. I usually find that the longer it takes to identify the provenance of an item, the rarer it turns out to be.
See my MCM Glass items for sale on eBay.
Mid-Century Glassware: Glass Makers and Designers
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.”
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).
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.
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.
Go to 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 go to http://www.collectorsweekly.com/glassware/indiana
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.
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 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.
I had this below Sunflower plate for a year before I realised it is not an Humppila piece. It is very similar but looking closely at the detail of the edge gave me the truth of it. So who made it?
Muurla produced glass in the 1970s and is still producing glass today.
They made a range of handkerchief glass vases and candle holders. Plates they made included images of a peacock, swans and reindeer.
Glass designers who worked there include Raija Luoto.
Nuutajarvi Notsjo Finland
Nuutajarvi Notsjo was started in 1793 and merged with Iittala in 1988.
Designers who worked for them in the mid 1900s included Kaj Franck and Oiva Toikka.
Sklo Union Czechoslavakia
See my MCM Glass items for sale on eBay.
Happy bargain hunting and collecting