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History of Crystal Paperweights

globe paperweight Recently,crystal and glass paperweightshave became a top selling promotional item. They are perceived as a high value corporate gift, and are also practical. Paperweights are given to commemorate a business milestone such as; accomplishment of a project, establishment of a partnership, or business anniversary. In addition, paperweights are often used in launching and reinforcing name brands. Here at Crystal Art USA, we offer a great variety of unique paperweight designs. Ourcrystal paperweightsare packaged in attractive presentation boxes and make impressive corporate gifts. We encourage customer to personalize paperweights with their logo and/or special messages.

pyramid paperweightAdvertising on glass dates back several thousand years, to the days when Syrian glass workshops put the name of their workshop on their glass. However there is a difference between putting information on glass about the maker or the owner, or even the contents, and putting a message on the glass seeking to advertise something else. Around 1800 bottle makers started using two-piece hinged molds into which the molten glass was blown to make a bottle. One major advantage of this method was that a metal plate with letters could be inserted in the mold to form words on the bottle. And different plates could be used to make identical bottles with different wording. So it became achievable to mark the glass bottles permanently with the name of the owner and his products. This was not advertising, it was an attempt to stop other drinks manufacturers from stealing the bottles. But in the early 19th century advertisements were embossed onto bottles in this way, especially onto medicine bottles.

house paperweightThe use of glass as a means of advertising and promoting a business started in the 19th century. Advertising messages were embossed, engraved, etched, or painted onto a range of glass "e;give-aways"e; such as crystal and glass paperweights, mirrors, ashtrays. Salesmen carried these gifts and gave them to their special customers. Whiskey and patent medicine salesmen in the 1880s and 1890s carried sample glass paperweights with advertisements for their products.

Glass and crystal advertising paperweights had an interesting history. William H. Maxwell of Rochester, Pennsylvania patented a method (in 1882) of incorporating an advertisement painted onto a piece of glass, inside a glass paperweight. These pictures were often beautifully crafted in black on white, or sometimes two colours on white, and since the picture was incorporated into the glass, it does not deteriorate with time. The backs of these early paperweights are milky white glass. They are not painted and not usually covered with felt or metal, as occurs when a paper picture is glued to the back, like the little dish shown above left.

Maxwell's patented type of advertising paperweights were made from the 1870s until about 1917, for a range of businesses in the Pittsburg area. Other producers in the same area used similar techniques, and similar kinds of crystal and glass paperweights were made in the UK and Europe. There were many other methods of putting advertisements onto paperweights. Another example of a permanent advertisement is this one has the lettering molded onto the back. In 1893 the United States Glass Company purchased 500 acres of land near McKeesport in Pennsylvania. They built a major glassworks and a town there over the next decade, and these paperweights were produced to encourage people to buy land in Glassport and bring their businesses to the town.

Crystal Art USA, LLC. Copyright © 2002-2005
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