Crystal had some unusual ingredients!
Crystal is also known as lead glass, because lead is a necessary ingredient to make crystal. During the middle ages people would ‘recycle’ lead from Roman ruins or Church roofs!
An early scandal changed everything at the factory
The main glassmaker at the factory, John Hill, left Waterford because he was accused by Rachel Penrose of some indiscretion. He left the secret of glass making formula to his friend Jonathan Gatchell, who would eventually replace the Penroses as owner.
Quaker businessman George Penrose added a glass factory to his portfolio of businesses with his nephew William and the story of Waterford Crystal began.
The business was sold to Jonathan Gatchell with other investors and the Penroses were no longer part of Waterford Crystal.
Jonathan’s son George was forced to close the factory after profits declined.
Waterford Crystal reopened by Charles Bacik, a Czech emigrant who came to Ireland after the Second World War. He brought his fellow Czech, Miroslav Havel, who became the head designer at the factory. Havel created the Lismore pattern, the most popular design ever produced.