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Importers of Japanese art glass

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Japanese Art Glass99 of 131Avon "Venetian Swirls" vase, 1985, JapanKurata for Mikasa Shell plate/charger
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    Posted 2 years ago

    (835 items)

    I am adding to artfoot's posts regarding Japanese art glass which was imported into the U.S. before 2000. My approach is to start identifying the importers of Japanese glass into the U.S., learning about their history and potential connections to Japanese exporters and glass makers. This will likely not prove to be helpful in identifying most makers of imported Japanese glass, but may start to build a picture of the export business in Japan, provide some additional avenues of research and identify makers of glass for some importers.

    So far I have found ten U.S. importers who used their own labels on their imports. I have discovered significant information about seven of them which is included at the end of this post. I am showing pieces from four of these importers in this post; Lefton, Wales, Enesco and Kreiss. I am duplicating a couple of makers from artfoot's posts, but they are later pieces and may be more representative of the styles of some of the established glass houses of the 1960s-1990s. I will attempt to find good examples of glass with labels by each importer I am researching.

    Image 3:
    Enesco vase: 7.75" high x 4" largest diameter, cased glass (white/red/clear), hot worked and polished bottom, gold trim and peacock. very nice work, heavy and well finished. Deeper red than my photos capture.
    Lefton vase: 3" high x 5" diameter, cased glass (red/white/clear), hot worked and polished bottom. Copy of Bohemian/Murano ashtrays?

    Image 4:
    Kreiss vase: 6.75" high x 4.5" diameter (top), multi-layer glass (clear/green/white), hot worked and polished bottom. Possibly formed by swinging in a mold. A bit crudely made as the marks from the tool used to pull the extrusions on the top were not worked out. The marks are on both the inside and outside.
    Wales vase: 3.5" high x 5"-5"-5" sides x 2" diameter bottom, slag glass (yellow/white/brown), bottom is deeply concave with ground edges. Not sure that I have seen Japanese slag glass before. Very well done, complex, small vase.

    I would be happy do to an additional, individual post for any of these pieces if anyone wants to see that.

    Artfoot's posts:

    American importers of Japanese art glass:

    Norcrest - This article is about who I think was the founder of the Norcrest China Company which imported what seems to be higher quality Japanese art glass.

    *Wales - Wales with crown trademark first used in 1950 by New York Merchandise Co.,32 W. 23RD ST. New York. Trademark last renewed in 1975 so faded out by 1995.

    *Enesco -

    Nasco -,31712.0.html a multiple page of discussions about what they heck Nasco was/is. Unfortunately, Nasco seems to have been an acronym for several unrelate companies.

    *Kreiss - Kreiss Corp. v. United States, C.D. 4732, Glassware, suit was about debris included in glass vases imported by Kreiss from Japan in 1964 and 1965. As part of this suit Mr. Hirao Nagase, import manager for Kreiss Corporation, was the plaintiff in the case. Nagase's testimony revealed that he had visited the factory where the glass was made in Japan, but does not disclose exactly where the factory was located. His testimony does include some detail about how the vases were made.

    *Lefton -

    Norleans - Norleans was a line of porcelain china and glass products started in 1949 by United China and Glass Company. United China and Glass was founded in 1850 in New Orleans and began trading with Japan in 1932, though this was suspended during World War II. Norleans was part of the revival of that trade after the war. Norleans’ products at least in the 1950s were mainly dinnerware products manufactured by Meito China, a Japanese manufacturer. United China and Glass was sold to Sammons Enterprises, a holding company, in 1962. Norleans continued to exist in some capacity, but it’s possible it simply became an importer. The Norleans trademark expired in 1992.

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    1. racer4four racer4four, 2 years ago
      Hey, great post Kevin.
      So much was exported to the states and this is such good info on some of the companies. Working hard there, keep it up!!

      That green Kreiss vase is a take on pieces like your blue Iwata bowl. He was very influential, but it took a while for others to copy his style.
      Not his standard though :)
    2. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      @racer4four - Thanks for your comments Karen.

      Thanks for loving my wad of Japanese mystery vases!

    3. kwqd kwqd, 2 years ago
      Thanks for loving my Japanese glass smorgasbord Vynil33rpm and Broochman!

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