Stuart Crystal Glasses
Lead crystal is popular with collectors as well as connoisseurs of fine eating and drinking. The distinct qualities of this material make it the ideal choice. Despite the widely available cheaper glasses on the general market, lead glass, and especially Stuart Crystal, offers a higher quality of glassware. Lead glass is created using lead oxide in place of the calcium that is found in a normal glassware compound. This chemical construction ensures a higher clarity which refracts light beautifully, and it has a reassuringly heavy weight when held in the hand.
For the discerning customer, the Stuart Crystal era is synonymous with good quality glassware. This name refers to the work of the influential Frederick Stuart, a pioneer of the Industrial Revolution. As an orphan, and aged only eleven years old, in 1827 he was sent to work in a glasswork located on the Crystal Mile in Stourbridge. Located a few miles to the west of Birmingham, in the Midlands of Britain, this area was home to a number of glass manufacturers including some of the most famous names in British crystal.
Whilst working amongst the smoky factories and growing urban surroundings, young Frederick learned the secrets of this craft. He showed his business skills when, after two and a half decades of work, in 1853, he was ready to establish his own business. Along with his business partners, Richard Mills and Edward Webb, he founded Mills, Webb & Stuart. This company rapidly gained renown for making high quality designs that were sought after by discerning customers.
Stuart Crystal Glassware
His business acumen did not stop there, and by the time of his retirement, aged 82, the business was entirely run by Frederick and his sons, with the result that it became known simply as Stuart Crystal. Subsequent generations of the family took the business to new heights, so much so that by 1936 the company was producing too much to stay in the existing building. They purchased the factory next door and used the previous building for storage and, later still, as a museum. During this period of growth, their craftsmen created many notable designs, including their Medallion Cameo Glass in 1887 and the still-used Beaconsfield Pattern in 1907. They also created ranges of Art Nouveau designs and novelty designs.
Sadly, the business no longer manufactures glass. In 1995, they were bought by Waterford Wedgewood, but despite this sounding like an ideal match which would give new strength to the veteran company, it was not to be. After only six years, in 2001, they closed the factory, ending 148 years of industry and creativity.
Stuart Crystal glasses and other designs remain popular with collectors, and in fact they can rightly be considered a piece of British history, to be prized and cared for. If you are fortunate enough to own pieces from the Stuart Crystal glass collections, such as Stuart Crystal decanters, take care of it because it is a piece of British craftsmanship that will never again be manufactured.
At Crystal Glass Replacement, we specialise in providing replacements and new pieces for many different ranges, including Stuart Crystal glassware. Whether you need Stuart Crystal tumblers, Stuart Crystal wine glasses or something else entirely, visit our online store or speak to our team. We can supply replacements and new pieces for a wide range of designs.