barolac glass

Barolac Glass
Barolac glass from the
Barolac glass Glass Encyclopedia

Barolac glass vase in opalescent glass

Barolac Roses Vase

Barolac Mark

Barolac Mark

Barolac glass vase in opalescent glass
Barolac Naval Vase

Barolac glass vase in opalescent glass
Inside of Naval Vase

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Barolac Glass
Barolac Glass: A short explanation:

Barolac glass was produced in CzechoSlovakia at the Inwald glassworks during the 1930's for export primarily to England. The name "Barolac" and the crossed J's trademark were registered in the UK by John Jenkins and Sons Ltd, glass importers. The ideas for most of the original Barolac designs were contributed by Douglas Jenkins, son of John Jenkins. Douglas worked with the Head Designer Rudolf Schrotter and the senior draftsmen at Inwald to prepare drawings for the range of Barolac designs. When the drawings were completed they were sent to Douglas Jenkins for his approval, and Douglas sent back any changes he would like to see before the iron moulds for making the glass were commissioned. I have copies of letters between Douglas Jenkins and Inwald Directors relating to the Barolac designs. One of them reads:

Dear Sirs, With reference to your order of some time ago for 4 new iron Moulds we have now pleasure in sending you enclosed new sketches showing the altered design of all 4 articles, and we hope that these designs are now satisfactory. Works are now going ahead with the construction of these Moulds and we hope to let you have turnout samples very soon." This letter is from Inwald Glass Co (London) Ltd. It was passed to me by Timothy Jenkins, Director of John Jenkins and son of Douglas, together with a large number of original Inwald drawings for the Barolac designs.

Barolac glass comes in different colours, the most striking of which is their opalescent, like the two vases on the left. The most common is clear and frosted glass, but there are blue-green, custard and black glass versions.

One of the earliest designs depicts a naval battle and was inspired by a painting "The Loss of the Revenge" which Douglas Jenkins had seen in London. The drawing for this vase is shown here (courtesy of Timothy Jenkins). And on the left is a photograph of this vase in Opalescent glass. These vases are very beautiful and high quality glass, and the Naval Battle vase was followed by other designs with flowers, trees, leaves, fishes and animals. Jenkins was advised to bring the Barolac moulds out of Czechoslovakia before 1938 because of the threat of annexation by Germany and war, but iron moulds are very heavy and not easily transported, and the Inwald company also had a claim to them. They were left in Czechoslovakia and many years later, after the war, they turned up and have been used by a number of glassworks in that area of Europe.

Barolac original drawingBarolac original drawing

Barolac glass is often confused with French art glass of the same period (1920's and 30's) since it was often unmarked. Pieces that are marked have the word Barolac either moulded into the glass or etched. The Roses vase above on the left has "Barolac" in script moulded onto the base, and the words "Made in Czecho Slovakia" etched onto the rim of the base.

Barolac glass was also imported into the USA by the Weil company, importers of high quality ceramics and glass who usually added their own labels. These often stated that the glass was BAROLAC, made in Czechoslovakia, and an exclusive import by WEIL.

Many of the original designs and the moulds for Barolac glass were used again in the 1950's and 1960's, and some of them are still being used today. They often have contemporary labels from factories in the Czech Republic. Over the years the iron moulds have been worn and the detail features of the vases and other items have deteriorated. This can be seen in the following three examples of catalog versions of the same vase, the Sea Horses vase. The first, on the left, is the original Inwald/Jenkins drawing for this vase. In the Centre is the same vase as shown in the Weil Company catalog from about the 1960s. And the third picture is an example from the catalog of the Czech Republic company Halama from about 2003. The original Barolac vases had more detail; and they applied highly labour-intensive hand finishes to the glass.

Barolac original drawing barolac glass Barolac Weil Catalog pic barolac glass Barolac original drawing

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