The Orrefors glassworks was founded in 1898 with early production focussing on the production of bottles. In 1913 te company was acquired by Johan Ekman a wealthy owner of a cellulose factory.
A number of new designers were brought in to extend the range to include art glass, this was initially based on copying existing techniques such as cameo glass. This copying of existing was not very successful in commercial terms but it did allow Orrefors workers to gain experience in a range of techniques.
This experience allowed Knut Bergkvist to develop the Graal technique, pieces made by this techniques were unique up until 1920, further developments by Simon Gate and Edward Hald allowed them to produce more Graal objects.
However, Graal was never a mass production technique and could not on its own sustain the glassworks. Orrefors reputation was built on the cut and engraved glass that it produced using a copper wheel technique and highly skilled craftsmen.
This reputation was firmly established by the end of the Paris Exposition in 1925. During the 1930’s Orrefors designers developed thick walled glass on which the designs seemed to be almost suspended on of the best examples of this exploitation of the new designs is the Pearl diver series by Vicke Lindtsrand.
The 1940s & 50s brought the introduction of the Kraka and dusk ranges developed by Sven Palmqvist and Nils Landberg respectively. These ranges kept Orrefors at the very forefront of Scandinavian art glass.
In 1989 Kosta Boda and Orrefors merged to form Orrefors Kosta Boda AB. Further consolidation led to the company being sold to the New Wave group in 2005, who in 2012 closed the Orrefors glassworks concentrating on the Kosta Boda label.
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