In 1783 the first glass house was in Waterford city and was established by the Penrose Family. The lords and ladies in the time would come into the glass house to have a chandelier or stemware commissioned to be made. This is how the crystal business grew. The House of Waterford Crystal was originally called Waterford Glassworks.
Lismore design was the very first pattern named after the Lismore Castle, which is located close to Waterford. The leaded windows of the castle along with the turrets were used as inspiration in the cutting pattern. Lismore design is now the lead and most popular design. Each pattern has formal, traditional and contemporary pieces in the collection. The simple cuts and beauty make this pattern a classic in the Waterford brand.
Each crystal piece begins in the molding department. Beech wood and pear wood are used for the moldings. The Pear wood is imported from France or Spain due to the better climate for growing. Pear wood is found in the forests of Ireland. All of the molds are soaked in water before being used.
The glass blowing department was amazing to watch the blowers transform this hot molten glass into shapes of vases, globes and other pieces. They have the painstaking job of being sure to always only blow into the blowpipe since the temperatures are upwards of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the Marking Department, they draw each specific design on the piece before it is then sent to the cutting department. There are several hundred patterns that the craftsman memorize regarding the cutting area. In the 1990’s Waterford started to work with other designers to create new designs. The factory in Waterford is where they design and make a majority of the crystal.
Some of the crystal on display were basketballs and footballs used in the championship awards ceremonies for the NFL and the NBA. The craftsmen were currently working on a Shamrock bowl to be presented to President Barak Obama in celebration of 100 years since the Battle of 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland. Another piece on display was a bowl crafted of the four seasons of the year. There was also a beautiful display created in memory of Father Judge and is dedicated to all of the Rescue Workers of 9/11. The piece had the three last standing walls of the Twin Towers along with an etched picture of the firefighters carrying out Father Judge’s body along with angels and a cross.
The name Waterford embodies quality and Mr. Penrose wrote in 1780’s “If it is not perfect, it is smashed, unworthy to bear the name Waterford.” There are no seconds of Waterford Crystal. On a trip to Waterford, it is a must to take a factory tour of the House of Waterford Crystal to see all the creativity that goes into each unique crystal piece.
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