I joined Dent Glass in 1971 straight from Ediburgh College of Art. It was set up before I got there to be a glass cutting shop under the umbrella of a company called Heredities Ltd, makers of cold cast bronzes, however this fell through and the idea of glass engraving by sandblasting was mooted and this is where I came in.
At first there were just two of us trying to set up a bespoke engraving service using the retail outlets in use by Heredities. This ultimately proved un profitable as hand worked items cost too much retailed in this way. So the move was made into the world of mail-order. After 18 months I took over the running of the slowly developing company under the guidance of Timothy Abel-Smith the MD of Heredities. We built up a very good system, using hand cut masks and a small nozzled sandblating unit with each stage broken down so that I could teach/train local young people to do the separate parts of the work. The mail order system worked well as there were no middle men and we were also able to make use of the Heredities salesmen to gain larger orders (one such was 4800 goblets for BAT).
When the engraving was pottering along well we decided to try and set up a glassblowing studio as the area had a good tourist base. This I did, though the furnace was not the greatest and ate gas. I got in touch with John Lawrie at EC of A and we arranged for students to come in the summer and work the studio, some fun was had by all involved.
Later the company moved to Kirkby Stephen and eventually Heredities decided to pull out in 1982 and I took it on as a one man band in Kendal, engraving only. I had many interesting customers and recipients of my work, ranging from the Queen and other members of her family, through the likes of Spike Milligan and the Greater London Council.
Adversrse trading conditions forced me to close in 1989 and since then I have been out of the glass world
I hope this has been of help