Bristol blue glass
During the late 18th century Richard Champion, a Bristol merchant and potter, making porcelain, was working with a chemist, William Cookworthy. Cookworthy began a search for good quality cobalt oxide to give the blue glaze decoration on the white porcelain and obtained exclusive import rights to all the cobalt oxide from the Royal Saxon Cobalt Works in Saxony. It is uncertain when Bristol blue glass was first made but the quality and beauty of the glass swiftly gained popularity, with seventeen glass houses being set up in the city.
Lazurus and Isaac Jacobs were the most famous makers of Bristol blue glass in the 1780s. Their company held a royal warrant and made glass for the aristocrats of Europe. Bristol’s glass makers were invited to demonstrate their skills at the Great Exhibition of 1851, opened by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. At this period cranberry glass was made for the first time by adding 24 carat gold to lead crystal, giving the glass its ruby red tones.
Production ceased in the early 20th century. Bristol Blue Glass was revived in the 1980s, almost 70 years after the last Glass factory closed in Bristol around 1923. Today, there are two glass companies in the Bristol area: The Bristol Blue Glass Ltd in Brislington established in 1988 and Bristol Blue Glass South West in Bedminster established in 2008.
In the late 20th century, John Harvey & Sons of Bristol began to sell Bristol Cream sherry in bottles made from Bristol blue.
A stage in the manufacture of a Bristol Blue ship’s decanter.
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- Weeden, C. (December 1990). "William Cookworthy and Bristol blue glass". Glass Technology 31: 256–65.
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- "Heritage". Bristol Blue Glass. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
- "About Bristol Blue Glass". Retrieved 21 Dec 2011.
- Bristol Blue Glass Ltd website. The History of Bristol Blue Glass Accessed 23 May 2011
- Banks, M; N. Elphinstone and E.T. Hall (1963). "Bristol Blue Glass". Archaeometry 6 (1): 26–30. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4754.1963.tb00575.x. Retrieved 2007-09-01.