Collecting Antique Moser Glass
Antique Moser glass is an engraved art glass that was made in Czechoslovakia. The company made everything from vases to wine decanters and it is a favorite of many antique collectors.
The History of the Moser Glass Company
The Moser Glass Company was founded in 1857 by Ludwig Moser, a talented artist who created high quality art glass. When he received a medal for his work at the Vienna International Exhibition in 1873 all of Europe became interested, and familiar with his work.
Because of the popularity of the glass, Moser was able to expand the company and employ over 400 workers by the mid 1890s.
The Imperial Court of the Emperor of Austria discovered the glass and hired the Moser Glass Company to supply the court with glassware of all types. This made it a prestigious acquisition and soon wealthy people from all over the world were placing orders with the company. Moser clients included
- Edward VII
- Pope Pius XI
- Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Soon the company coined the slogan, King of Glass, Glass of Kings because of all of the royalty that boasted Moser glass in their collections. This created even more of a market for the products and the company thrived.
During World War II the company was taken over by the Germans and the workers put into concentration camps. Those that were left were forced into slavery at the glass company, creating a variety of types of glass for the war effort. Much of it was used for tank and military vehicle windows. In rebellion, and a show of solidarity, these workers cunningly created glass with minute flaws that could not be detected but would cause it to shatter on impact with the smallest stone or other trajectory.
When World War II was over the communists took over Czechoslovakia and most of the country’s companies were taken over and run by the government.
After the war Moser was one of 15 companies granted independent operation by the communists. It is still in business today.
Identifying Moser Glass
Moser Glass Company signed most of their items so it is a simple matter to identify it by the both the look of the piece and the hallmark on it. However, like many companies, there were some designs that missed being marked.
Although Moser has a distinct look and is relatively easy to identify if you know what details to look for. The glass has been duplicated many times over, and while it is not nearly as high quality as the original, it can be difficult for the novice to recognize authentic Moser glass from the reproductions.
Tips for Identifying Moser Glass
- Beware of any Moser glass that is too inexpensive or seems like it is a “great deal”.
- Carvings, when present, are always deep and skillfully executed.
- Moser glass is perfect. They maintain the highest standards in manufacture, both in the past and presently. Look for a beautiful item with sparkling clarity.
- Look for a pontil scar. Moser glass is mouth blown and always has been. The pontil is the mark at the bottom of the piece where the glass blower’s tool was attached to the glass item.
- Enamel, like any other aspect of Moser glass, will be applied perfectly and may be covered with gold leaf.
Finally, always look for the signature. If there is one you will definitely know that the glass is authentic Moser. Spend time looking at authentic items, reading about Moser and talking to collectors. The more experience you have the easier it will be to determine the authentic from the fake.
Tour of Moser Glass Factory
Different Eras of Moser Glass
Like any manufacturing company, Moser Glass can be classified into different eras and styles
Ludwig Moser created both molded clear glass that had brightly colored glass insertions, and the thick colored glass which was carved with beautiful patterns in shallow relief.These were most often vases done in dark blues, purple and amber. Another favorite was the clear glassware that had purple or green carved cameos decorating it.
Ludwig Moser’s designs were generally precisely done, with perfect edges and skillfully wrought floral and figural motifs.
Hoffman was one of the first designers for Moser. His designs generally were done in opaque glass; usually a dramatic purple or ebony. He created a variety of items and liked to use animal figures and female nudes.
In the 1890s Moser began to use gold leaf that was pressed between two layers of glass. This was then decorated with flowers and signed with the Moser hallmark. The process of embellishing glassware in this way is called zwischengoldglas and is still used today in some factories – although not with the finesse of Moser.
In the early 1900s the company began adding rare and unusual metallic and other elements to the glass mixtures, creating unusual colors and textures.
Examples of Moser Glass
Caring and Displaying Moser Glass
- To keep your glass at its best you should never wash it in a dishwasher.
- Since some of the glass was made with a variety of elements it is not a good idea to put it in the microwave.
- Never place it on a hot stove or in the oven.
- Always place a tea towel in the bottom of the sink when washing and rinsing to guard against chips and breakage.
- Wash with a gentle soap – never detergent.
- Rinse carefully and dry with a soft, lint free cloth.
- Store it away from direct sunlight.
- Keep it away from sudden temperature changes; heat registers, air conditioning vents, etc.
- Store your glass safely in a glass front cabinet if possible. This will protect it from dust as well as accidentally being knocked off and broken.
Having a Moser Glass collection is a great way to add color and beauty to your home. Don’t overlook some of the new pieces; they are sure to become highly sought after collector’s items in the future.