Arc International is a French manufacturer and distributor of household goods. The company was established in Arques, Pas-de-Calais, where it is still headquartered, as a glass-making firm under the name Verrerie des Sept Ecluses in 1825. In 1892 the name was changed to Verrerie Cristallerie d'Arques, and after a series of acquisitions in the 1990s the group was renamed in 2000 to the current name. It is the leading manufacturer of crystal and glassware in the world. It is privately held and has been owned by members of the Durand family since 1916. Arc International currently licenses the Pyrex brand of cookware for sale in the European Union. Competitors include Lenox Group, World Kitchen and Waterford Wedgwood.
Arc International was established in 1825 in the village of Arques in northern France by Alexander des Lyons de Noircarm, who began production by manufacturing glass storage containers known as "dame-jeanne" (demijohns in English), which were popular at that time. In subsequent years, the company diversified into consumer cooking and dining glassware. By the 1960s, the company had mastered the process of manufacturing stemware and other finer glassware products. One of Arc's signature products is the thick-walled ten-sided "working glasses" that were a workhorse in French kitchens after their introduction in 1978.
From the 1897 onwards, the company was dominated by the Durand family, who eventually purchased the firm entirely in 1926. To this day, the family continues to be the sole proprietors. The firm adopted a number of practices that positioned it to become one of Europe's leading mass production glassmakers. Examples include the usage of tank furnaces (1933), the construction of modern glass presses (1947), the use of automatic blowing machines (1950), the usage of industrial tempering (1963) and the automation of lead crystal production (1968).
Luminarc is the oldest brand currently sold by Arc, launched in 1948.
Brands under the Arc group include its own Luminarc (launched in 1948), Arcoroc (launched in 1963 for use in restaurant industry), Cristal d'Arques (launched in Europe in 1968), Longchamps (launched in the US in 1968), Salviati (acquired in Italy in 1999), Pyrex (under license in Europe from World Kitchen since 2005) and the fine crystal brand J. G. Durand.
Arc-manufactured 16oz glasses used by McDonald's in promotion of the 2010 release of the movie Shrek Forever After were recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on June 4, 2010. The recall encompassed about 12 million glasses distributed to all McDonald's restaurants in the USA. The recall specified that due to concerns over cadmium levels in paint pigments, all the affected promotional glassware was subject to the recall.
Arc International Americas (the subsidiary of Arc that manufactured the glassware) asserted in a statement that the glassware " ... meet the highest standards of quality and safety." McDonald's in their own press release stated that the glassware was tested by a third party laboratory, and that the glassware was " ... determined to be in compliance with all applicable federal and state requirements.
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