A version of this post was originally published on June 2, 2016.
Two rare Art Deco period catalogues in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Design Library include illustrations with accompanying specifications and prices for more than 100 glass lighting fixtures manufactured in about 1930, by Meissner Glasraffinerie of Dresden, Germany. The factory was located at Coswig on the river Elbe, situated between Meissen and Dresden. Not much is recorded or has indeed survived of the firm’s work from the interwar period although like many glass and porcelain makers in this region, their focus was on one type of manufacturing expertise. In this case, the firm described itself as a ‘Spezialfabrik fur Beleuchtungslas’ (Specialist in lighting glass).The product range included a great variety of lighting types, principally of Art Deco fittings in molded, mottled, hand-painted, marbleized, etched and engraved patterns, some with Japanese influence and some clearly modelled after Bauhaus designs. The production was mainly central lighting fixtures including uplighters and other types adapted to the familiar three bulb circuit. Bold oval and rectangular forms of colored glass with floral and geometric patterns can be found throughout this rare German lighting catalog of the Art Deco era.
Stephen Van Dyk is the former Head Librarian at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library.