Dartington Crystal have been in business for over 50 years and are the UK’s only remaining glass factory. With stockists across the country and hundreds of thousands of visitors coming through our North Devon doors we are famed for our hand-crafted crystal products.
With all that experience under our belt we have quite a few stories to tell. For example, did you know...
A little bit about our history!
• The ‘Dartington’ name originates from when it was set up by the Dartington Hall Trust in South Devon
• The first piece of Dartington Crystal was made on the 12th June 1967 and was a limited edition Tankard called ‘FT1’ – See our Tankard range
• Originally, the glassing blowing was undertaken by 16 Scandinavian Glass Blowers who trained a few local apprentices. Today, Dartington Crystal maintains strong Scandinavian links with nearby streets named after our original secretary Arne Linden (Linden Close) and former Managing Director, Eskil Vilkelmsson (Eskil Place)
• The ‘Flower Bottle’ collection won the 2009 Gift of the Year Award – Made in the UK Category
Facts about our skilled creators...
• On average it takes 10 years to become a Master Blower! Our longest serving Master Blower is Brian Cooke “Bri” who has been with us since 1969 and an interview he did on BBC Spotlight featured on Radio 1s ‘Innuendo Bingo’
• The Blowing Room manufactures at least 4 different products a day depending on demand and stock levels
• Newspaper is used by our blowers to shape larger pieces of Dartington Crystal (our glass makers prefer to use the Financial Times)
Facts about their working environment...
• The Torrington factory is the only working handmade crystal factory remaining in the UK
• The working temperature inside the furnace is 1100 Degrees Centigrade!
• The Sharon Suite introduced in 1971 has earned its place in the Victoria and Albert Museum
• The clay pots which hold the glass inside the furnaces get so hot they have to be replaced every 6 weeks
• Our furnaces are fired by natural gas and run 365 days a year!
Some facts about the glassware itself...
• Gold is used to create our vibrant ruby colour
• Around 1,400 pieces of Dartington Crystal are made here each day, that’s around 350,000 pieces a year!
• Our best-selling crystal line is currently the Wine Master collection, it has won many awards since its introduction in 1996
• Dartington Crystal has produced commission pieces for companies such as Disney, Porsche, The Royal Household, Rolls Royce and many more!
And finally, about Dartington Crystal and our Torrington site shop...
• The Visitor Centre was opened in 1987 in honour of the late designer Frank Thrower
• Around 200,000 people visit our Torrington site in North Devon every year!
• Dartington Crystal won a licence to make products for the London 2012 Olympics
• Dartington Crystal also owns leading cut crystal brand Royal Brierley and paperweight specialist Caithness Glass
• Our Torrington Glass Shop is possibly the biggest glass shop in the UK!
You can find more facts and delve deeper into our history by visiting us and going on a factory tour. Plan your visit here: https://visitdartington.co.uk/