A brief history of Sowerby's glass

Sowerbys' Ellison Glass Works Limited were a major British pressed glass manufacturer in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.

What's their history?
  • In 1847 John Sowerby founded his glassworks in Gateshead
  • In 1850 production moved to the Ellison Road glassworks
  • In 1879 John died and his son George took over the business
  • In 1887 they introduced Vitroporcelain or milk glass, which looks like porcelain but is coloured and moulded like glass
  • In the 1920s they introduced their iridescent, Carnival glass using selenium
  • In 1956 they went into receivership
  • In 1957 they were bought by Suntex Safety Glass Industries
  • In 1972 production of domestic glass ceased
Maker's marks for Sowerby's Glass

The later, domestic items weren't marked, but their output is well-documented and catalogued, so it's often possible to identify pieces by shape.

Where can you find out more?

20th Century Glass

CINOA

Inchicore Pressed Glass Museum

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