The Crown Crystal Glass Company of Australia

The Second Period 1934 - 1939

For the first six years, Crown Crystal struggled financially, apparently due to competition with cheap imported glass. 1932 was the first year it was able to turn a profit. Items from the first period were phased out slowly, appearing in catalogues up to 1934 (although some were clearly made until much later). After this, it is difficult to know what happened because there are no catalogues in public hands for the time 1934 until after World War II. Marjorie Graham spoke of the company going towards Art Deco styles. It is possible to piece together an approximation of this range from items which have eventually turned up with labels.

From the items that are available, it is obvious that around 1936 Crown Crystal went very heavily into amber glass, which was incredibly popular with Australians. Interestingly, amber is now almost a dirty word in glass collecting circles. Some of the Australian amber is a beautiful rich colour with warm tones, which looks beautiful on a south-facing windowsill (in general it is not a good idea to leave old glass in direct sunlight for prolongued periods.)

One of the more successful ways of competing with overseas glass that seems to have become particularly prevalent after 1935 was to copy the patterns (see controversies. The same trend was seen in the Australian potteries - apparently the Sydney potters were able to gauge success of a pattern by the time it took for Melbourne potters to copy them. The potteries would also make moulds from Crown Crystal glass.

"Petals". This vase, which reputedly came out in 1933, is one of the first to show the acid treatment (to make satin glass). This was a deliberate attempt to cash in on the success of Lalique (who was referenced several times in the original documents). There were several post-moulding treatments used. Stippled, frosted or otherwise textured alternate panels are all very typical of Crown Crystal glass of this era.

?????. This vase has been lumped in with the "Waverly" series, although initially the name Waverly referred to another pattern altogether. It has classical, art deco lines. The Waverly name has also been used for other pieces.

The famous "Harlequin" pattern. The name Harlequin was originally given to tumblers, which came in sets of different colours. This pattern was designed in 1937 and predates this fashion, but was brought back into production after the war. The texture on these pieces is almost always spot on - perhaps reflecting the later production date.

Ah. Now this vase has been assumed to be Australian for years on the basis of the pattern turning up with labels. However, I've recently gone back over the sheets I have, and I can't find this vase, in this shape with this base. What is there is a very similar vase, with the same pattern panels, but which has a circular base, a band without the pattern of about 1 cm at the top, and much slimmer. So it's possible that the pictured vase is NOT Crown, and that people have mistaken this pattern for the one which has turned up with Crown stickers. It's also possible that this is the European original, and that Crown copied the pattern. At this stage, this is just a theory.

"Shell Panels", ware no. 8820 from 1935.

"Waverly" pattern, apparently appears about 1935, continuing production to WWII. Many items were made in this pattern, including salads and nappies, sugar and creamers, and plates.

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