A little under 50 years ago, a Swedish glassmaker named Eskil Vilhemson arrived in Torrington, North Devon, at the request of the Dartington Hall Trust. This was a charitable trust set up in the 20’s by a wealthy Devon heiress to help regenerate rural areas through education, industry and the arts. At the time, North Devon was losing population to the cities through lack of jobs and opportunities. The idea to set up a glass factory was intended to give local people a reason to stay.
Eskil brought with him a team of traditional glass blowers from Sweden, some of whom still work at the factory today. His team taught the 3000 year old craft of Swedish glass blowing to local craftspeople so that they could set up a factory specialising in unique glassware and crystalware.
The trust’s idea was a roaring success, and today Dartington Crystal employs 150 people, supplies to department stores and gift retailers in the UK and beyond, and attracts over 250,000 tourists annually to its visitor centre and factory.
Much of Dartington Crystal’s gift and tableware is still handmade, using the same ancient techniques the original founding staff was taught back in 1967. It is thought to be the last remaining crystal and glass tableware manufacturer left in the UK. Today Dartington’s product range includes bowls, vases, glasses, drinks decanters and wine glasses. They can also cater for bespoke commissions and produce excellent corporate gifts and unique engravable giftware. It also commissions special edition crystal products for national occasions, such as the 2013 Queen’s Coronation 60th Anniversary and the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.
The brand has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings in the late 60’s and really took off in the early seventies under the creative direction of designer Frank Thrower. Frank was the lead Dartington designer until his death in the 80’s and his iconic pieces are what differentiated the brand from its rivals. Many of his successful and original ranges from the 70’s are still manufactured for sale today. Dartington Crystal also owns the Caithness Glass and Royal Brierley Crystal brands.
Stylus Engravers are proud to be a supplier of Dartington Crystal. We offer a huge range of some the best crystal giftware produced by the brand, all of which can be engraved with a personal message or inscription. Click here to see our extensive Dartington Crystal collection.