Beautifully enamelled opaline glass
vase in quatrefoil form by Thomas
Webb, decorated in the so-called
“Moroccan” pattern, ca. 1880
Thomas Webb, the son of a successful
Stourbridge farmer, became partner in several
glassworks in the Stourbridge area near
Birmingham, in the first half of the 19th century.
Around 1860 he changed the company's name to
Thomas Webb and Sons and welcomed into the
business his two sons, Thomas and Charles.
The company specialised in high quality engraved
crystal glass and also speciality coloured glass.
Frederick E. Kny, a Bohemian master glass
engraver worked for Webb from 1860 until 1896.
He joined the company at the age of 27 and had
his own separate workshop within the factory.
William Fritsche, another Bohemian master
engraver, joined Thomas Webb and Sons at the
age of 15 in 1868, and he too had his own
workshop within the factory until he died in 1924.
Kny and Fritsche were the most famous and
successful of the crystal glass engravers at
Thomas Webb's, and examples of their artefacts
can be found today in the world's leading glass
museums, including the Victoria and Albert
Museum in London and the Corning Museum in
In 1878 Thomas Webb & Sons were the only
company awarded a Grand Prix for glass in the
Paris International Exhibition, and the official
catalogue of this exhibition described the
company as "the best makers of Crystal Glass in
England, and consequently in the world".