The Czech glass industry poses many difficult challenges for collectors, particularly given the lack of records for most of the major manufacturers. The lack of records is primarily as a result of wars.
One notable exception to this informational black hole are the Loetz archives, which were discovered at a regional museum in 1989.
As a result of these archives there is a large amount of factory documentation regarding Loetz production shapes, decors, designers and customers. There are, unfortunately, very few resources covering such firms as Pallme Koenig, Rindskopf, Kralik, Ruckl and Welz. Books and catalogs from the 70's and 80's barely distinguish between Loetz and other manufacturers. There is simply no reference material. Therefore, in order to identify Czech Bohemian glass, an alternate methodology, with some basic premises, must be developed.
1) Some Czech manufacturers of the Art Nouveau period held Loetz as the model to be followed, not copied but imitated. Some surface treatments and decors, such as threading, the use of rigaree, the hammered effect (martelé) or spots (papillon, ciselé, oil glaze) were shared by several companies. Although glass houses shared many common decors, close observation in many cases, will allow us to differentiate the source of an example. The mimicking of decors was not limited to Loetz decors.
2) Therefore one will have one company’s version of another’s decors which will contain significant though subtle differences. For example, Loetz Nautilus has a characteristic rigaree and rim in gold or silver. Kralik's is almost always green and mostly cut from the top. Rindskopf produced vases almost undistinguishable from Loetz Papillon, except for one crucial difference: ground color. These similarities in decors are referenced on this site as “Decor Shifts”. In some cases the decors are common, and in others they are so artistically unique as to leave no doubt as to the origins. It is also apparent that the practice of “decor shifting” was not limited to mimicking Loetz decors. Both Decor and Design shifts were also apparently developed specifically to penetrate some foreign markets.
3) As a result of companies having a stock of shapes, most appearing in different decors and sizes, shape can become a contributing factor in determining possible attribution. In many cases these shapes are too simplistic or common to be used as identifiers. In other cases, the uniqueness of particular shapes can leave no doubt as to the house that produced it. In some cases it appears that some companies mimicked shapes, and in these examples, the corresponding shapes are referred to on this site as a “Design Shift”.
4) The aim of this site is to evaluate existing information and combine it with new research, in an attempt to develop a more comprehensive understanding of this regions glass production.
5) In an attempt to provide a more comprehensive resource for those wishing to learn about and identify this glass, this site does not claim to be comprehensive or infallible. We only strive to offer more information in one location than any other available internet resource.