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History of Scottish Glass

The birth of Scottish paperweight making is credited to the glass making family of Salvador Ysart, who moved to Crieff, Scotland in 1922.  They worked first at John Moncrieff Ltd and made the earliest Scottish paperweights during that period.  In 1946 Salvadore and his sons Augustine and Vincent founded Ysart Brothers Glass and produced glass wares under the Vasart label.  Salvador Ysart died in 1955  The company name was later changed to Vasart Glass.

Stuart Drysdale was hired manage the business side of the enterprise in 1960.  Vincent Ysart was the Works Manager.  George Dunlop provided a portion of the financial backing.  The senior craftsman, Jack Allen, was assisted by two glass blowers and a few apprentices.

Strathearn Glass was formed in a reorganization of Vasart glass in 1963.  The new company was owned by Teachers Whiskey.

In 1967 Drysdale was sent a magazine article on antique paperweights (Woman's Day, July 1965).  The inspired him to try to produce weights comparable to the French antiques.  With this goal in mind, he and several of the glass workers left Strathearn to found Perthshire in 1968.  From that start we have several Scottish Paperweight companies, including Caithness, John Deacons, William Manson,  Peter McDougall, Phoenix, and Selkirk.
Peter McDougall was one of the very young glass workers who left Strathearn in 1968.  When Perthshire closed in 2002 he was the head craftsman of  Perthshire.  Peter now has his own studio PMcD Glass Studio and makes paperweights under his own name.  John Deacons, another Scottish glass worker, also started his glassmaking career at Strathearn Glass in 1967.  A year later in 1968, he left Strathearn and joined the new Perthshire venture.  After about ten years at Perthshire he decided to leave and start his own company, Jay Glass, in 1978, which remained in operation until 1983.  During that period, it produced paperweights under the Jay Glass label and also others signed St.K for St. Kilda and JD for John Deacons.  John Deacons continues to make paperweights with his son Craig  under his own label today.

Caithness Glass was founded by Robin Sinclair in Wick in north eastern Scotland in 1961.  The factory did not start making paperweights until 1962 when Paul Ysart joined Caithness.  Colin Terris joined Caithness in 1968 and started the modern line of paperweights in 1969.  A second factory was opened in Oban in 1969 and the Perth factory opened in 1979.  In 1980, Caithness purchased the Whitefriars name and designs.  More recently Caithness recently went through a number of changes of ownership.  It was purchased by Edinburgh Crystal in 2004 and then by Dartington Crystal in 2006.  The company remains in business today.

Allan Scott apprenticed at Perthshire and then joined Jay Glass shortly after it started and was responsible for much of the lampwork.  When Jay Glass closed in 1983, he joined Caithness Glass where he stayed until 2007.

Another Scottish factory was Selkirk founded in 1977 by Peter Holmes and Ron Hutchinson.  Peter apprenticed under Paul Ysart at Caithness from 1963 and continued at Caithness until 1977.  Ron Hutchinson was also at Caithness.  Selkirk produced a wide range of paperweight styles including abstract, lampwork and millefiori paperweights.  The company was located in Selkirk, Scotland in the Borders Region.  At some point they were purchased by Edinburgh Crystal and remained in operation until 2006

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