New and Old Marks on Glass from Eastern EuropeBy

New and Old Marks on Glass from Eastern Europe including Loetz, Moser, Czech

Mention "Czech glass" today and most collectors automatically think of the bright colors and Art Deco shapes made between 1918 and 1938. But that time period and those pieces represent only a fraction of the centuries-long tradition of glass making in Eastern Europe.

This article will review marks on the most frequently found antique and collectible glass from this region made 1875-1938. The date of 1938 was chosen as the cutoff because most glass manufacturing was stopped around that date as World War II loomed and most production stopped until the end of the war.

Many products and glass making techniques from this region have changed little over the years. Shapes, colors and styles of 100 years ago are continuing to be produced. Some of these pieces can be easily confused with old especially when they carry fake and forged marks. The examples in the this article show the correct versions of many major marks and how to avoid the most common fakes and forgeries.

Barolac

Barolac is a mark found on a line of frosted glass made by the Czechoslovakian firm of Joseph Inwald, ca. 1920-1938. Some original pieces are opalescent, as well as frosted. If marked, pieces usually have Barolac in molded cursive lettering. Other pieces are simply marked Czechoslovakia in molded block letters.

There is some confusion about the relationship between Barolac and the British merchant John Jenkins. Inwald glass will sometimes be found with paper labels having both Barolac and Jenkins' names. Some have interpreted Barolac labels as a trade name of Jenkins, but that does not appear to be correct. Inwald apparently did contract work for Jenkins and made certain specific items for Jenkins' exclusive use.

Czechoslovakia

The nation of Czechoslovakia did not exist until the end of World War I. The country was formed in 1918 from Slovakia, Bohemia and Moravia. After the collapse of Communism in the early 1990s, Czechoslovakia continued as one nation until January 1993. At that time, Bohemia and Moravia formed the Czech Republic; Slovakia became the Republic of Slovakia.

From 1918 and 1938, many pieces of glass were marked "Czechoslovakia." This mark is used by collectors to date Czech glass made between the world wars. Most glass marked Czechoslovakia only, however, can rarely be traced to a specific company (see Loetz and Kralik for exceptions).

Kralik

Wilhem Kralik Söhne was an important glass works in the Austria-Bohemia region of eastern Europe. It was founded in 1815 and made high quality art glass through 1933.

Although the name Kralik does not appear on its glass, the company used a very distinctive "Czechoslovakia" mark, ca. 1919-1933. This mark appears as an arched acid stamp. Note that the two letter Os are split down the center. Robert and Deborah Truitt, Bohemian glass experts, estimate 60 to 70 percent of pieces with this mark are Kralik products1.

Most authentic marks on ca. 1918-1938 Czech glass were rubber-stamped in acid or ink although some were molded or sandblasted. Until recently, it generally hasn't been worthwhile to forge marks on 1918-1938 Czech glass because prices were relatively low. Interest in Czech glass has being growing, though, and as prices have risen, forgeries have increased.

The best advice to avoid new marks is to never base your buying decisions on marks alone. Design, color and details of construction are better indications of age, quality and Czech origin than marks.

Loetz

Johann Lötz never owned the glass business that bears his name. The iridescent glass known by his name was made at a glass factory started by his widow, Susanna, in 1851. She named the business "Johann Lötz Witwe" (the widow of Johann Lötz). The business began making common objects but turned to art glass in 1879 when Johann's grandson Maximilian Von Spaun II took control of the business. Around the turn of the 1900 century, spelling of the business name was changed from Lötz to Loetz. Pieces made for export, if marked, usually read "Loetz, Austria."

Far more iridescent Loetz was originally unmarked than iridescent glass made by Tiffany or Steuben. Before Loetz prices began rising in the 1990s, many originally unmarked pieces of Loetz carried forged signatures of other makers like Tiffany or Steuben. Now that Loetz prices equal or exceed those of other makers, earlier Tiffany and Steuben forgeries are being ground off and faked Loetz marks applied. A number of relatively low-value pieces by other makers have even had their authentic original marks removed and faked Loetz marks added.

There are a couple of simple rules to keep in mind when examining suspected Loetz marks. First, no original Loetz mark which included the word "Loetz" or "Lötz" was acid stamped. Any acid-stamped mark with the word Loetz or Lötz is a forgery. All original engraved marks with Loetz or Lötz are wheel engraved. Any mark engraved with a diamond-tip pen or electric pen is almost certainly a forgery.

Between the wars, ca. 1919-1939, some glass made by Loetz was marked Czechoslovakia in acid-stamped letters. Two marks in particular–Czechoslovakia in an oval and Czechoslovakia in a rectangular box–have about a 90 percent probability of being Loetz, according to Robert and Deborah Truitt1. Remember, though, that neither Loetz nor Lötz ever appeared in an acid mark; it was only the word Czechoslovakia.

Permanent marks of any kind are virtually unknown on authentic production-grade Loetz iridescent glass shades. Any iridescent glass shade marked Loetz or Lötz should be suspect unless the seller can provide convincing documentation.

Virtually all original Loetz vases have fire-polished top rims and ground pontils on the base. Many iridescent look-alikes with forged marks have sheared top rims and no ground pontil.

1. Truitt, R & D. Collectible Bohemian Glass 1880-1940 © 1995 and Collectible Bohemian Glass Vol II, 1915-1945 © 1998.

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Fig. 1 Brightly colored glass in Art Deco shapes made in Czechoslovakia between 1918 and 1938, was exported throughout the world. The examples shown above were offered in a 1930 Butler Bros. catalog in the United States.

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Fig. 2 This 10-inch iridescent Art Nouveau vase is being made today. These new products are frequently offered with forged marks of 19th and early 20th century makers.

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Fig. 3 Raised molded Barolac mark on the base of an opalescent vase. Made in Czechoslovakia, ca. 1920-1938.

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Fig. 4-A Typical ca. 1918-1938 authentic Czechoslovakia mark rubber stamped in black ink.

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Fig. 4-B Typical acid-stamped authentic ca. 1918-1938 mark. Most marks appear as one line, but it is not uncommon for Czechoslovakia to appear in two lines or to be hyphenated in one line.

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Fig. 5-A French spelling of Czechoslovakia, used 1918-1938,

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Fig. 5-B A number of pieces of Czech glass from 1918-1938 are marked with the French and German spelling of Czechoslovakia. The French spelling, Tchécoslovaquie, is shown at top as a molded mark in frosted glass. The German spelling is Tschechoslowake.

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Fig. 6 This arched acid-stamped mark is attributed to Wilhem Kralik Söhne, ca. 1919-1933. This is one of the few "Czechoslovakia" only marks that can be attributed to a specific company.

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Fig. 7 Original Loetz art glass vase in organic form. Opaque bits of glass are worked into an internally swirled glass body. The surface has a highly iridescent "oil spot" surface. Ground pontil in base, fire polished (smoothed at the furnace) top rims.

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Fig. 8 Art Nouveau-styled art glass shades, like these examples, were exported in large amounts from a number of East European glass houses. Most of these high quality threaded and iridescent art glass shades–including those by Loetz–were virtually never marked with a company or studio name. Finding a shade marked Loetz, for example, would be highly unlikely and probably a forgery. The far simpler shades made ca. 1918-1938 are commonly, but not always, marked with any of the various ink or acid-stamped Czechoslovakia marks.

Authentic Loetz Marks - Engraved

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Fig. 9 (Lötz)
with arrows in circle, wheel engraved.

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Fig. 10 (Spaun)
(nephew of Lotz) wheel engraved.

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Fig. 11 (Joh. Lotz WWE Klostermuehle)
paper label only, never engraved.

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Fig 12. Loetz, Austria only was used almost exclusively on glass made for export, particularly for sale in the American market. All original Loetz marks permanently applied to glass that include the words "Loetz" or "Lötz" are wheel engraved, not acid-stamped or applied with a diamond-tip pen.

Loetz Marks - Acid Etched

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Fig. 11

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Fig. 12

Figs. 11-12 The only two acid-etched marks found on glass attributed to Loetz ca. 1919-1939 known at this time, are the oval above (Fig. 11) and the box below (Fig. 13). Neither "Loetz" nor "Lötz" ever appear in authentic acid-stamped marks, only the word "Czechoslovakia." The oval Loetz acid marks generally appear on only two types of glass. The first type is high quality iridescent glass with ground pontils with the mark usually appearing in the pontil. The other glass found with the oval mark is on a line Loetz called Tango. Tango was made in bright Art Deco colors, frequently red or orange, with applied edges and handles in contrasting colors, usually black.

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Fig. 13

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Fig. 14

Figs. 13 & 14 This is the other acid mark attributed to Loetz, ca. 1918-1939. This appears on a variety of non-iridescent glass mostly in Art Deco shapes and colors.

Loetz - Raised (Cameo)

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Fig. 15

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Fig. 16

Figs. 15 & 16Cameo glass sold under the Loetz name was usually marked Loetz in raised script like these typical examples, ca. 1900-1920s. Exact appearance varies. Marks on Loetz cameo may also include the mark of a glass designer.

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Fig. 17 Richard has long been assumed and is recorded in most books as a separate French cameo maker. It is actually one of the names registered by Loetz, ca. 1922-1925. Appears in raised glass. There is considerable variation in appearance among old marks.

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Fig. 18 Loetz cameo made expressly for the American market is marked "Ca. Loetz" in raised glass. Used ca. 1922-1925.

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Fig. 19

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Fig. 20
Figs. 19 & 20
Two of the French-styled names used by Loetz were Velez, Fig. 19, and Veles, Fig. 20. Both appear as raised glass marks, ca. 1922-1925.

Lucidus

Lucidus name is registered but no example available

Typical Fake and Forged Loetz Marks

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Fig. 21 New art glass vase in the Art Nouveau style. This vase includes the "oilspot" iridescence typically associated with vintage Loetz.

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Fig. 22 The new vase in Fig. 21 was originally signed and clearly dated like the example above to avoid confusion with antique glass. CAGJ is the mark of Chicago Art Glass Jewel.

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Fig. 23-A The CAGJ mark was ground out and the pontil was polished. Then a forged Loetz mark was engraved.

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Fig. 23-B Close-up view of the faked mark. It was engraved with a vibrating electric pen. Note the typical skips particularly in the letter Z. All authentic engraved Loetz marks were applied with a wheel.

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Fig. 24 Two fakes now in the market appearing as acid-stamped marks. No authentic vintage Loetz mark that contained the word Loetz or Lötz was ever applied with acid stamps.

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Fig. 25 Typical fake mark engraved with diamond-tip pen. The vast majority of all authentic engraved Loetz marks are wheel engraved. No authentic production-grade Loetz was rountinely marked with a diamond-tip device.

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Fig. 26 Most fakes and forgeries of acid marks are applied with rubber stamps like these three typical examples. From upper left: Czechoslovakia in oval; Czechoslovakia in single line; Loetz Austria in script.

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Fig. 27 Fake acid stamp mark, virtually identical to original Loetz mark in Fig. 11. Acid marks are easily forged and widespread in the market. Marks alone are never a guarantee of age or quality.

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Fig. 28

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Fig. 29
Figs. 28-29
Richard is so firmly regarded as a French cameo glass maker, it is among the mass-produced cameo glass fakes commonly found in today's market. The Richard mark above is on the new 6-inch cameo glass reproduction in Fig. 28 which is made in China.

Moser

Ludwig Moser founded several glass decorating studios in the middle of the 19th century and a glass factory in the early 1890s. From the 1860s to 1893, the Moser firm decorated blanks from other glass houses. Moser began making its own glass in 1893, when Ludwig Moser's four sons were brought into the business.

The business went bankrupt during the 1930s and production was severely limited until the end of WW II in 1946. After the war, the company resumed production and remains in production today.

The Moser specialty was enameling for which it is best known but also worked with cutting and engraving as well as cameo and acid etching. Moser designs have spanned many different styles of decorating including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernism.

Forgeries of Moser marks are frequently applied to new glass as well as genuinely old but unmarked wares of other makers. The most common targets of forged marks are enamel decorated pieces and cut tableware.

The Moser marks shown below are only some of the many marks the company used. A more extensive list can be found in Truitts' Collectible Bohemian Glass Vol II, 1915-1945

Authentic Moser marks

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Fig. 30 (Ca. 1880-1893)
This mark is applied in gold or colored enamel.

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Fig. 31 (Ca. 1880-1890)
Early cursive mark, usually engraved.

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Fig. 32 (Ca. 1911-1938)
Monogram of the letters LMK (Ludwig Moser, Karlsbad) in raised glass. Don't confuse this mark with the monogram of Kolo Moser, the glass designer (see separate Kolo Moser listing).

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Figs. 33-35 (Ca. 1911-1938)
Moser Karlsbad in script is a standard mark which may be in gold, colored enamel, raised glass (middle) or acid stamped (right). This style is the most widely forged and imitated Moser mark.

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Fig. 36 (Ca. 1926-1950)
An engraved mark used throughout the 20th century until the present day. Earlier uses include acid-stamping and enamel.

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Fig. 37 (Since ca. 1946)
Used continously since the end of WW II as an acid stamp. Karlovy Vary is Czech for Karlsbad.

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Figs. 38 & 39 (Since mid-1990s)
These two marks have been used since the mid-1990s and are applied by sandblasting.

Common Moser Forgeries

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Fig. 40 Acid-etched mark with only the outline of letters. The person using this mark sells primarily through online auctions. The vast majority of items with this forged mark are inexpensive pressed wares, particularly modern versions of malachite, a jade-green colored glass.

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Fig. 41 New malachite glass from the Czech Republic and other countries is frequently found with forged Moser marks. The new malachite horse head above is made in America.

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Fig. 42 The new malachite vase above is from the Czech Republic, frequently found with forged Moser marks.

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Fig. 43-44 Two fantasy forgeries of Moser, Austria, usually acid etched. The mark on the left has also been reported in diamond-tip script. "Austria" never appeared in any registered Moser mark.

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Fig. 45 Fantasy cursive mark in elaborate type style; acid etched.

Moser, Kolo

Kolo Moser was an Austrian glass designer who worked for Loetz, Kralik and Egermann. His monogram, below, appears on some designs he made for Loetz, as well as independent work made from his designs at other firms. Usually appears as a raised glass monogram. Not to be confused with the LMK monogram of Ludwig Moser, Karlsbad (see Moser listing).

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Fig. 46 Monogram of Kolo Moser, in raised glass.

Harrach

Harrach is a Bohemian glass works founded ca. 1714, still in operation today. The so-called "propeller" mark, generally attributed to the English firm of Thomas Webb, is actually a Harrach mark. Research by Robert and Deborah Truitt have positively traced the origin of the mark to Harrach family coat-of-arms. The Truitts have documented examples of the mark on various Harrach pieces as well as printed uses of the mark such as the label shown here. The "propeller" marks may be stamped or painted; usually found in black but occasionally in red. Forged propeller marks applied to pieces which are offered as Webb, are fairly common.

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Fig. 47

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Fig. 48

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Fig. 49

Figs. 47-49 Paper label with Harrach family crest showing the triple-feather plume design, Fig. 47. This design was the basis for the so-called propeller mark, Fig. 49, mistakenly attributed for many years to Thomas Webb of England.