Verlys Glass

Verlys Glass from the
Verlys Glass Glass Encyclopedia

Verlys glass vase
above:Verlys birds
glass vase c. 1938

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Verlys glass
Verlys Glass: A short explanation

The Societe Holophane Francais was set up as a subsidiary of the Holophane Company, USA in a glassworks near Rouen in northern France in 1920, making headlights for vehicles.

By 1925 they had expanded into making art glass vases and bowls and established a department for these products, which they named Verlys. Initially they made blown vessels with several layers of glass, smooth on the outside with internal decoration. From 1933 onwards they focussed on high quality press-moulded glass.

They produced clear, frosted, opalescent, and coloured items with designs typical of Lalique-style glass of the 1930's, - plants, flowers, birds, fish, and abstract geometrical patterns. Each year they produced a catalog with new designs. Their production normally has a moulded signature "Verlys France" or "Verlys Made in France".

In 1935 they established "Verlys of America" with a glassworks in Newark, Ohio. Moulds were supplied from France for the Ohio works, and the same items were made in France and in the USA, although not all the French designs were shared with the American works. Production in both France and the USA declined during the war, as the company focussed increasingly on industrial products.

The Verlys range was progressively abandoned in both countries from 1940 until it ceased altogether in the States in 1951-52 and in France in the early 1960s.

In 1955 some of the Verlys molds were leased to the Heisey glassworks, who produced a limited range of Verlys designs until 1957, and then returned the molds. These pieces were not signed. In 1966 the surviving Verlys molds were sold to Fenton Art Glass Company, who produced some items in distinctly different colours to Verlys, and did not use the Verlys name.

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References & Bibliography:

Click on the picture or title to read more about a book.

  • Verlys of America Decorative Glass (1972 revised 1992) by Carole and Wayne McPeek. Photographs and catalogue pictures of Verlys production in America, with very useful text.

  • Glass: Art Nouveau to Art Deco (Dec 1987) by Victor Arwas. An excellent book covering all the major glass artists and glass companies of the period.

  • Opalescence: Le Verre Moule des annees 1920-1930 (1986) by Banque Bruxelles-Lambert. Intoduction by Ph. Decelle. This 50 page catalogue of an exhibition of opalescent glass from the 1920s and 1930s is full of superb photos with dates and size details about opalescent glass from all the major European makers. The text is in French or German but even without understanding the text this book is invaluable. It covers them all - Lalique, Sabino, Etling, Verlys, P.d'Avesn, Hunebelle, J.Martel, Ferjac, Cesari, Verlux, Val St Lambert, Jobling, Barolac - some in more detail than others but all with photographs. This book is hard to find.

  • Verlys of France (1993) by Wayne and Carole McPeek. Complete pictures and text from the 1935 and 1937 Verlys France catalogues.

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    Pirelli Glass

    This is the 'go to' reference book if you are interested in Pirelli Glass. Often confused with Murano glass, Pirelli Glass is not Italian; it was made in London.

    This book offers a comprehensive history of Pirelli glass and its makers from its inception in the mid 40s to 1980 when the company closed.

    Filled with colour photographs, original black and white catalog pictures, stories and a miriad of information on Pirelli & Vasart glass.

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