The best known of the Belgian glass factories is certainly Val-St-Lambert. As the largest crystal factory in a small country they also co-operated with, bought and sold and employed their neighbours whenever the need arose, and factories were frequently repurposed as the markets shifted. Orders for non-crystal, semi-crystal, pressed glass and undecorated blown glass were often outsourced.
The VSL site at Seraing on the Meuse (Maas) provided a vital transport link downstream to the port of Rotterdam. Meanwhile upstream the river Meuse and its tributary, the river Sambre, linked them to numerous small producers in the 'Region du Centre' around La Louvière, in smaller towns like Manage, Soignies and Havré-ville. After the war the Albert Canal gave them rapid access to the port of Antwerp.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of these 'glass huts' were dedicated to 'cylinder glass' (used for windows), but in time some of these 'verreries a vitres' evolved to making bottles, and jars ('flaconnerie') and improved their factories to become 'gobeleteries' making household glassware.
There was also market for glass lampshades ('lustrerie')and a good demand for local beer glasses; Belgian beers always liked to have distinctive (labelled/branded) glasses for display behind the bar, and this provided steady work for many of the small factories.
In a turbulent economic market, names and factories were volatile. They opened and closed and opened again, were repurposed and/or taken over. Owen's bottle-making machinary and Colburn's hot-sheet process produced better bottles and windows, and quickly killed the need for cylinder glass, and led to accelerated closures in the 1930s. After WW2 government planning subsequently tried to fight the declines in the industry through interventions, conglomerations, and subsidies, (etc.) but any success was short-lived. Each new crisis brought a round of closures. Most studios and decorators were part of the factory, but a few were independent.

Ultimately very few glass entrepreneurs were able to evolve or survive for long, especially after the mid-century, against the accelerating rate of industrial change. Only Durobor's factory in Soignies remains today as Belgian producer of glassware for the catering industry.

These pages are about Belgium's production of identifiable/collectable glassware, domestic glass, decorative glass and art glass in the 20th century.
The main glass producers and decorators are discussed here by name, but, in a country where places have two names anyway, the makers are also sometimes identified by several/various/changing names. On this site we try to summarise these histories, and assimilate the research of previous authors and collectors. The relevant sources are cited and credited, and their books for sale in our bookshop.

Read on... (Details about Belgian Glass Industry and Factories) >>

Copyright Hogelandshoeve & McLellan-Verhoeven, 2019. All rights reserved and images copyright unless otherwise stated
Copyright (C) Hogelandshoeve & McLellan-Verhoeven, 2019.
All rights reserved and images copyright unless otherwise stated.