Stevens & Williams Glass Identification Guide + Gallery
Joseph Silvers rented the Moor Lane glassworks for his company Silvers, Mills and Stevens in 1819. When his two sons-in-law, William Stevens and Samuel Cox Williams, took over the company in 1847, the name was changed to Stevens & Williams. Frederick Carder joined in 1880 as a designer, and John Northwood in 1882 as artistic director. Stevens & Williams became well known for producing quality decorative glass, using techniques such as cameo, engraving, acid etching, enamelling and cutting. Intaglio engraving was introduced in 1893, produced by Joshua Hodgetts, often combined with transparent cameo glass, and was produced for many years in a wide range of colours. In 1902, John Northwood passed away, and Frederick Carder left in 1903. John Northwood's son, John Northwood II, continued his Fathers innovative work at Stevens & Williams. New designs included Silveria, Fibrilose, Fleurissant and Alabaster.
Stevens & Williams became suppliers of glass to the Royal Family in 1919. Following a visit by the Duke + Duchess of York, (approx 1931) the name Royal Brierley Crystal was used, either as a brand or product range. Some marked pieces can be found with both names. At this time, the company was run by Joseph Silvers Williams-Thomas, the son of Samuel Coz Williams, until 1932, when Joseph's son Hubert Silvers Williams-Thomas took over as chairman and designer, with Joseph's grandson Reginald Silvers Williams-Thomas as manager and designer. Reginald appointed Keith Murray as a designer in the same year, who produced a great many designs. Other designers at the factory between the wars included Archie Kirby, Sam Thompson, Charles Boyton, and Joan Lakin-Brookes. After the second world war, Deanne Meanley joined as designer, along with Tom Jones who became chief designer in 1956.
Stevens & Williams was officially renamed Royal Brierley Crystal in 1985. Royal Brierley was bought by Epsom Activities in 1998, but was closed down in 2000, and reopened again in 2002 with a new factory in Dudley. The company was bought and marketed by Dartington Crystal from 2005.
Sources: 20th Century Factory Glass by Lesley Jackson.
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20th Century Factory Glass | ISBN 978-1857322675