Tour the Crystal Room, featuring Waterford
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A World Class Brand Dating Back to 1783
The company of Waterford was first established in 1783 on land adjacent to Merchants’ Quay in the heart of the Irish harbor town of Waterford. Its founders were two brothers, William and George Penrose, who were important developers and principal exporters in the city. Their vision was to “create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home.” More than two hundred years later, the reputation they established for creating glass of unsurpassed beauty and quality has transcended the intervening centuries.
The beginnings of glass making in Ireland are lost in the mists of time but there is sufficient archaeological evidence to show that, from the early Iron Age, glass was regarded with respect. Indeed, medieval documents can prove glass making existed in Ireland back in the middle 13th century.
In the beginning, William and George employed 50 to 70 people, led by a fellow Quaker, John Hill, from Stourbridge in England, and succeeded in producing crystal with a purity of color unmatched in Ireland or England. Merchant ships sailed regularly from the port of Waterford with cargoes of crystal bound for Spain, the West Indies, New York, New England and Newfoundland.
But less than 100 years later, the initial company failed due to lack of capital and excessive taxation. Nevertheless, in what seems a remarkably short amount of time, Waterford Crystal had acquired an unequaled reputation that transcended the intervening century. In 1947, while Europe was still in ruins after the second World War, the enterprise was revived, and a small glass factory was set up in Waterford just 1 1/2 miles from the site of the original glass factory.
From 1783 to today, Waterford Crystal continues its dedication to purity of color, design and quality. Waterford Crystal is considered the leading brand of premium crystal, sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world. The Little Traveler is proud to be a trusted retailer of Waterford crystal. Each piece of Waterford can be recognized by the signature on the base with the word “Waterford.”
In November 2000, Waterford Crystal was named as the top world class brand in the United States by a survey conducted among 30,000 people by the Princeton, New Jersey based independent market research company, Total Research Corporation. Total Research said that Waterford Crystal was judged by American consumers as the brand with the highest quality out of 19 world-class brands in the US market.
In 2002, Waterford celebrated the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Lismore pattern of crystal. Almost every year since its inception, Lismore has topped the popularity list and has been the biggest selling pattern of crystal in the US and the world. But there are others among the repertoire of Ireland’s most famous export that have gained their own following – Alana, Carina, Araglin.