Antique and Vintage Waterford Glassware

In 1783, brothers George and William Penrose established Waterford Crystal in Waterford, Ireland. They did not know anything about glass manufacturing, but they did see economic opportunity—demand was high for plain and decorative flint glass, and the supply was low in England, thanks to debilitating glass excise duties that did not apply to Ireland.

The Penrose brothers hoped to created crystal “as fine a quality as any in Europe… in the most elegant style.” To accomplish that goal, they brought in Quaker glassmaker John Hill, who supervised Waterford’s 50 to 70 employees for about three years. When he left, Hill gave the company’s glass formula to a clerk named Jonathan Gatchell. After William Penrose left the company around the turn of the century, Gatchell took over Waterford, along with two local families, the Ramseys and the Barcrofts.

Waterford blossomed in the early part of the 19th century—King George III ordered Waterford Crystal for his vacation residence. Waterford flint glass had become famous for its distinctive shade of gray, a color caused by sand imported from the King’s Lynn region used in Waterford’s glass recipe.

The company produced a wide array of table and ornamental cut glass, including claret and water jugs, glassware from wine glasses to goblets, bowls, candlesticks, dishes, chandeliers, and, of course, their famous decanters. These decanters featured three rings around their necks, with a mushroom-shaped stopper. One of the most collectible Waterford pieces today is the so-called apprentice bowl. At the end of his Waterford apprenticeship, the former student would carve a bowl that featured every kind of cut found in the entire Waterford line.

After Gatchell died in 1825, Waterford’s growth began to slow. Waterford submitted a hugely successful entry to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, but heavy British taxes on glass put the company out of business that same year.

In 1947, a small group of workers restarted Waterford as part of a renewed desire for Irish art driven by the independence movement. The new Waterford began with the old company’s designs and expanded from there. The perennially popular Lismore pattern was introduced in 1952, along with Alana, Carina, and Araglin, to name just a few.

In 1986, Waterford merged with Wedgwood, and the company has continued to enjoy a sterling reputation for quality. In fact, the world-famous Times Square New Year’s Eve ball has been decorated with Waterford Crystal triangles since the ball was redesigned in 2000.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Waterford Crystal 10" Overture Vase IrelandVintage Waterford Crystal Lismore Ships Decanter & StopperAuthentic Vintage Signe Waterford Cut Crystal Sailboat Sculpture, NrWaterford Crystal 5.5" Round Footed Bowl - LismoreWaterford Crystal Set Of 4 Lismore Pattern Brandy Snifters GlassesWaterford Crystal Small Letter OpenerWaterford Crystal Lismore Small Bowl - MintWaterford Crystal Kildare Claret And Water Glasses - Partial SetsWaterford Crystal Brass Base Electric Hurricane Lamp With TagWaterford Crystal "lismore" 6" Salt And Pepper Shakers Mib Waterford Lismore 6.5 Inch Footed Salt And Pepper ShakersWaterford Crystal Nexus 10” Vase Ireland9 Waterford Crystal Glasses Lismore Wine Hocks Goblets Signed Ireland Set LotWaterford Crystal 1982 Christmas OrnamentWaterford Vintage Wine/whiskey Ships Decanter Lismore Crystal W Stopper CorkWaterford Crystal Lismore Rose Bowl - Six Inch Round - Perfect!Waterford Crystal Millennium Champagne Coaster Dish IrelandWaterford Crystal 3.5" X 2.5" Diamond Shaped Desk ClockCrystal Waterford Lismore Water Glasses Goblets (6) Each 6 7/8" HighSet Six Waterford "lismore" White Wine Glasses Goblets8 Waterford Curraghmore Crystal Sherry Glass Goblet Footed Stem 6 3/8" Set LotWaterford Crystal Portraits Lismore 5 X 7 Picture Frame With BagVintage Signed Waterford Crystal Ship’s Decanter With Stopper, Alana PatternWaterford Crystal Cake Server With Original Box And PaperworkSet Of 6 Waterford Lismore Wine Hocks Glasses StemmedWaterford Crystal Red Bowl/ Snowflake Wishes CollectionWaterford Crystal Water Milk Juice Ice Lip Jug Pitcher Lismore Pattern New Waterford Crystal Candlestick HoldersVintage Marked Waterford Juice Or Water Goblet Crystal Lot Glasses KylemoreVintage Marked Waterford Juice Or Water Goblet Crystal Lot Of 4 Glasses KylemorePair Of Waterford Crystal Candle Holders CandlesticksMarquis By Waterford Canterbury 10.75" Crystal Cake PlateSet Of 6 Superb 4 1/4" Waterford Lismore Cut Crystal Dessert Bowls Footed ExclntLot Of 6 Waterford Crystal Lismore Water Goblets Glasses 6 7/8"Waterford Lead Crystal Standing CrossWaterford Crystal Lismore Irish Coffee Glasses Pair New In The Box Nib IrelandWaterford Crystal Elephant Calf Sculpture Mint In Box Waterford Lismore Crystal 32oz Pitcher Ice Lip Jug Excellent - With StickerWaterford Red & Green Christmas Globes In Box W/ Papers 3-1/2"Vintage Marked Waterford Rocks Crystal Glass 9 Oz Tumbler Lot 2 Glasses KylemoreWaterford Crystal Apple, A BeautyLot 4 Waterford Irish Crystal Lismore Claret 7" Inch Water Wine Goblets GlassesWaterford Crystal 8th Ed 12 Days Of Xmas Flute Eight Maids Limited Edition Waterford Crystal Lismore Claret Wine Glasses Goblets (6) Each 5 7/8" HighWaterford Crystal "the 12 Days Of Christmas Collection" Six Geese A-laying Flute Waterford Irish Crystal Small Desk Clock In Original BoxWaterford Irish Crystal Jewels Clown With Trumpet Art Glass Figurine W Box GgbWaterford Irish Crystal Jewels Clown With Cybmals Art Glass Figurine W Box GgbWaterford Crystal 12 Days Of Christmas Flute 1st Edition Partridge Waterford Crystal Small Digital Clock Made In Republic Of Ireland Signed NibVintage Marked Waterford Rocks Crystal Glass 9 Oz Tumbler Lot 4 Glasses KylemoreMarquis By Waterford Pumpkin Center PieceWaterford Crystal 12 Days Of Christmas Champagne Flute: 10 Lords A LeapingWaterford Crystal: 12 Days Of Christmas, Champagne Flute, 8 Maids A MilkingWaterford Crystal Lismore Two-tiered Server Mint In Box Waterford Crystal Artist Signed Large Elephant Sculpture Mint In BoxWaterford Irish Crystal Jewels Clown With Drum Art Glass Figurine W Box Nr GgbVintage Marked Waterford Rocks Crystal Glass 9 Oz Tumbler Lot Glasses KylemoreWaterford Crystal Letter OpenerWaterford Crystal O’connell 10" Star Cut Square Tray

Recent News: Waterford Glass

Source: Google News

The Waterford Crystal Ball will support the Disabled Sailing Assocation this year
Torquay Herald Express, August 24th

The ball has been organised by Tarasa Van Martin, the owner of the Waterford Glass Centre in St Marychurch, Torquay. David Musgrove, chairman of the Disabled Sailing Assocation, said: "Tarasa was kind enough to ring us up and offer us the Waterford ...Read more

Waterford Crystal workers to receive €182m compensation over pensions
RTE.ie, July 31st

Waterford Crystal workers are to receive €182m in compensation for losses to their pension scheme after the company and its pension scheme went into insolvency. The High Court formally approved the closing of the Waterford Crystal pension case and ...Read more

A crafty trio make a success out of Waterford studio
Irish Independent, June 20th

THE COLLECTIVE: Jeweller Una O'Dwyer, goldsmith Moritz Schurmann and glassmaker Eugene Young 1 THE COLLECTIVE: Jeweller Una O'Dwyer, goldsmith Moritz Schurmann and glassmaker Eugene Young at Lismore Craft Studio in Lismore, Co ...Read more

Waterford Wedgwood sold to Finnish heritage brand
Telegraph.co.uk, May 11th

The Wedgwood fortune also funded the scientific career of Charles Darwin who married into the family. Wedgwood joined forces with Ireland's Waterford Glass Group in 1986. This blue and white jasper plaque features the Birth of the Roman god Bacchus...Read more

Treasures... Crystal is a clear winner
Irish Independent, March 5th

'Don't it always seem to go. That you don't know what you've got. Till it's gone…" sang Joni Mitchell back in 1970. Too true. I'm thinking about Waterford Crystal. Massively popular in America, but it was always a hard sell in Ireland...Read more

Cabinet signs-off on €178m Waterford Crystal pension deal
Irish Independent, December 9th

Waterford Glass and Crystal was the iconic industry in the South East. This double insolvency has been relatively rare. When the case was taken, it was in the context of Ireland being in breach of a directive in relation to insolvency," she said. "The...Read more

Crystal Clear: Waterford's problems need fixing…and fast
Irish Independent, November 11th

In its heyday the 3,500 employees of Waterford Glass, and its subsequent re-incarnations, were bringing home a relative fortune in wages. The money was spent locally giving life to local businesses. The streets were buzzing, the tills full and the pubs...Read more

European court rules in favour of Waterford Crystal workers in pension case
RTE.ie, April 24th

Unite Regional Secretary and former Waterford Glass employee Jimmy Kelly said it is a great day for former Waterford Crystal workers and for others who lost their pensions in similar situations. Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny, Mr Kelly said the ...Read more