Who we are
Glasstone is a small Estonian glass manufacturer with rich and diverse heritage, dating back to the 18th century through Tarbeklaas, Johannes Lorup's glass factory and Meleski glass factory. All glass that we sell is handmade and carefully engraved by our in-house engraving artist.
Glasstone as a brand has been active since 2005, when we set up shop in the old factory and premises of Tarbeklaas and former Lorup glass factory. Today, Glasstone is a niche producer of fine handmade glass, carrying on the legacy left by Lorup and Tarbeklaas. Glasstone uses many of the designs from the 1930s, reflected in the shapes and engraving pattern as seen in vintage Lorup glassware.
Glasstone is located in the Kopli peninsula in Tallinn, Estonia. Our shop is open every weekday between 10.00 and 17.00.
In 1924 Estonian entrepreneur Johannes Lorup took over the run-down Meleski glass factory, in its hayday the largest glass producer for the Russian Empire in the 19th century. He expanded the production and as a savvy businessman, secured profitable governmental orders to produce vodka and milk bottles, for instance. Within five years Lorup had turned the business around and grown fast, which forced him to optimise costs and resources by moving all production into the capital, Tallinn. Johannes Lorup continued expanding and innovating, investing all profits into attracting well known glass artists across Europe to Estonia, continuously training and improving his own glassblowers, widening product catalogue and moving into crystal manufacturing.
What set Lorup's glass apart from competitors was its impeccable quality and clarity of the glass. Although Lorup imported a lot of technical expertise and all of the raw materials to ensure the high quality of the production, he never copied the designs of other producers in Europe. Instead, he hired numerous talented designers from Estonia to create unique shapes and patterns that have become an inseparable part of Lorup's heritage. Lorup sold his glass not only in Estonia but also to the USA, UK, Egypt, Germany, Israel and Turkey. In modern day original Lorup glass is still kept in high regard and can be found in antique shops specializing in vintage glass.
When Soviet Russian forces moved into Estonia during WWII, many successful private businesses were nationalised and their owners deported to Siberia to never return. Johannes Lorup, the founder of Lorup glass factory, shared the same tragic fate as so many others in Soviet occupied territories.
After Lorup glass manufacturing was nationalised in 1940, it was reorganised and renamed as Tarbeklaas. Tarbeklaas supplied glassware - both handblown and pressed glass - to meet the needs of the entire Soviet Union as well as fulfilling orders from different Nordic and European countries. Tarbeklaas was active between 1940-1993, coinciding with the rule of Soviet powers in Estonia.
Predating Johannes Lorup, Estonian glass manufacturing was set up in 1792 in Meleski - a small village in central Estonia. In the 19th century Meleski glass factory became the largest glass producer in the Russian Empire and the Baltics, continuing to operate until 1916.
Before 1792, the first glass manufacturing in Estonia was founded in 1628 by Jakob de la Gardie, a Swedish entrepreneur on the island of Hiiumaa in Hüti village. The Hüti glass factory (1628-1664) location was chosen because of access to deposits of clay and sand, nearby forests for fuel, cheap labor, and proximity to water transportation for the finished product. Glass production at Hüti reached a high artistic level and a variety of form. In its prime around 1644 Hüti was one of the largest glass manufactories in northern Europe.