Author Topic: Clayton Mayers, Johnsen & Jorgensen, AHW and United Glass/ Sherdley/ Ravenhead  (Read 3442 times)

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Offline Heidimin

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I've been going through the material David and I collected during our visit to the Alexander Hardie Williamson collection at Broadfield House earlier this year, and I think I can shed some new light on the connections between Clayton Mayers, Johnsen & Jorgensen and United Glass/ Sherdley mentioned in previous threads here (search on Clayton Mayers) and in Chris Stewart's excellent article on Davidson and Clayton Mayers: http://www.cloudglass.com/ClaytonMayers.htm.

Clayton Mayers were a firm of importers and distributors. One of their best known and most successful ranges was Jacobean, produced in what is now the Czech Republic by Vienna-based company Josef Inwald, which they started importing to the UK in 1923. In 1932, when currency fluctuations and new tariffs made imported glass unsustainably expensive, Clayton Mayers commissioned Davidson to make Jacobean in the UK. More detail in Chris's article and also in Glen's article here: http://www.geocities.com/carni_glass_uk_2000/Jacob2.html. Chris says that:

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In 1962 big changes occurred at Clayton Mayers. H. G. Mayers retired as chairman at the age of 76. Johnsen & Jorgensen, another wholesale supplier of glass (founded 1906), bought a substantial stake in Clayton Mayers. Johnsen & Jorgensen sold a wide range of glassware including Sherdley. It the early years of the century they were best known for making jars and decanters; some of their designs were registered ... The company announced that it was to expand into the new field of high quality decoration of domestic glassware ... New lehrs were also introduced to improve the enamelling process of decorating glass.

Intriguingly, there are some Jacobean items in the AHW collection: photos of jug, tumblers, bowls and sundaes among a set of photos of AHW designs for Sherdley and Ravenhead (see below), plus some items of glassware and some design work.

There is also another connection. A March 1963 article in PGGTR on Revolutionary production methods at Clayton Mayers' factory shows a picture of two goblets decorated with screen-printed stars captioned 'Stardust' in the new 'Monarch' range, as well as some pictures of the glasses being decorated using a new and very advanced lehr. The distinctive shape is identical to Sherdley's Merrymaker range, almost certainly designed by AHW and produced from 1960 - 1962, both plain and screen-printed with fleur de lys and later vine motifs: pics at http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9312, http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-7324, http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9271 and http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9213. Although Merrymaker was marketed by Sherdley and the decoration most likely applied at the Sherdley factory, the blanks were almost certainly produced by United Glass' other subsidiary Ravenhead, which was set up after WWII to produce stemware.

The text of the Clayton Mayers article says that:

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New designs of tumblers and wine glasses have been devised by Mr. A.H. Williamson, A.R.C.A., M.S.I.A., and will be produced exclusively for the company by United Glass Ltd. It is these high quality lines which will mostly be used as blanks in the decorating shops.

So it sounds like J&J used their stake in CM to establish a link between CM and AHW (who was actually employed by J&J rather than United Glass/ Sherdley/ Ravenhead until the late 1960s) and United Glass/ Sherdley/ Ravenhead.

One question this raises is whether after 1962 United Glass also produced Jacobean and possibly other glassware for CM? Any views from the Davidson experts?
Heidi


Offline Anne

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Fascinating Heidi, it all helps build up a picture of who did what and when.  :clap:

I'm just wondering if the Jacobean in the images you included is the later machine-made glassware, as it looks quite different from the earlier stuff I have? I seem to recall someone telling me that there are quite big differences between the earlier hand-pressed and later machine-made Jacobean items. Perhaps that's where UG came in?


Offline Heidimin

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Thanks, Anne. It's all so fascinating...

According to Chris's article, the move from hand-pressing to automated production came at the start of WWII:

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Part of the success of Jacobean was its low price and high quality. Clayton Mayers were always looking for ways to keep the price down and at the start of the war they turned to making machine-made Jacobean glassware. The switch to machine-made Jacobean meant that there had to be some small changes to the design. A side effect was that the machine made glassware was lighter and, they said, of a higher quality than the hand pressed kind.

Heidi


Sklounion

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Hi Heidi,
Chris's comment above is a little misleading, as Clayton Mayers, were for the most part wholesalers. Thus the decision to change to machine-made would have been made by Davidsons, in response to requests for lower production costs from Clayton Mayers. As Davidsons by then employed the grandson of Josef Inwald, they would have had some-one to hand, J.K. Inwald, Edler von Waldtrau, to help with making changes to the mould design.
Regards,
Marcus


Offline ChrisStewart

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Hi Marcus

Chris's comment above is a little misleading, as Clayton Mayers, were for the most part wholesalers. Thus the decision to change to machine-made would have been made by Davidsons, in response to requests for lower production costs from Clayton Mayers. As Davidsons by then employed the grandson of Josef Inwald, they would have had some-one to hand, J.K. Inwald, Edler von Waldtrau, to help with making changes to the mould design.
Regards,
Marcus

My comment is not misleading and is correct. The descision to go to machine made Jacobean was made by Clayton Mayers, not Davidson. As Davidson only made handmade pressed glass, the move to machine made glass cost them the business.

The source of this information was a from a lengthy Pottery Gazette article where Clayton Mayers talked about the difficulties and length of time taken to get a new machine made line up and running. I'm afraid I do not have the reference to hand, but I think it is April 1957.

Altough Clayton Mayers were a wholesaler they also commisioned their own designs. For example Eric Mayers started the design of the Claymer range in 1953 and it took until 1957 for the first design to role of the production line. A tumbler in this range won a Council of Industrial Design award.

We must not forget that Clayton Mayers were an innovative company and introduced many new marketing techniques and ideas as well as new ranges in glass and pottery. They even patented new packaging technology!

Regards

Chris
from Chris Stewart

http://www.cloudglass.com - The Cloud Glass Reference Site
http://www.davidson-glass.com - Information on Davidson Glass

All images (c) Chris and Val Stewart unless otherwise stated


Offline Heidimin

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Quote
As Davidson only made handmade pressed glass, the move to machine made glass cost them the business.

Oh that's interesting, Chris. Do you know who took it over?
Heidi


Sklounion

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Hi Chris,
I am not being argumentative. :)

I was making a serious point, in that Clayton Mayers themselves had no production capacity.
So any decisions made by CM, refers to production from other companies, not their own production units.

Ok, Clayton Mayers commissioned glass, but that does not imply that they had production capability. The same could be said of Wuidart.

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Clayton Mayers talked about the difficulties and length of time taken to get a new machine made line up and running
. Does this actually refer to their own production facilities, or the units from which they were purchasing glass?

Imho, we need to be certain that we do not attribute, via loose interpretation, a role that goes beyond what a company actually did.

Respectfully,

Marcus


Offline ChrisStewart

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Hi Marcus

Imho, we need to be certain that we do not attribute, via loose interpretation, a role that goes beyond what a company actually did.

Isn’t that what you were doing when you said:

Thus the decision to change to machine-made would have been made by Davidsons, in response to requests for lower production costs from Clayton Mayers. As Davidsons by then employed the grandson of Josef Inwald, they would have had some-one to hand, J.K. Inwald, Edler von Waldtrau, to help with making changes to the mould design.

You were making assumptions about the relationship between Clayton Mayers and Davison and also the capabilities of Davidson. Clayton Mayers owned the moulds and presumably they felt that making the range machine-made would cut costs. As Davidson did not then have any capability to make machine made glass then naturally they would have looked elsewhere. Davidson did not feel the investment in automatic glass machinery was worthwhile or they did not have the money to invest. We do know that when Claude Fraser died in 1959, Davidson was loosing money. Perhaps Adam could comment on this?

Interestingly, although Jacobean production moved elsewhere, Davidson must still have been making some pieces of Jacobean as a few Jacobean moulds did go to the Pricing Committee in the early 1950s.

The Pottery Gazette article did not make it clear whether Eric Mayers commissioned the design of ‘Claymer’ or designed it himself. I would not be surprised to learn that he did the design himself.

When talking about the difficulties of setting up a new line, I think they must have been talking about the glasshouse that was making the line for them. I do not believe they had their own glass making facilities, although they did have a small furnace at the North London headquarters for experimentation.

In my research I have not found out who made the machine made Jacobean line or how to tell it from Davidson or Inwald Jacobean glass. Intriguingly Clayton Mayers did say in the article that they had to make some slight changes to the design for an automated production line. If we new what these changes were then perhaps the machine made Jacobean could be easily identified.

Regards

Chris
from Chris Stewart

http://www.cloudglass.com - The Cloud Glass Reference Site
http://www.davidson-glass.com - Information on Davidson Glass

All images (c) Chris and Val Stewart unless otherwise stated


Offline Anne

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Cross-referencing to Tony's earlier discussion on CM and Davidson:
http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,1800.0.html


Offline Frank

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Website is running now http://www.jjpack.com/our_pedigree.htm gives 1884 as their start date beside the Thames.

oops meant to tag that on to the other thread. Perhaps the two threads can be merged...
Frank A.
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