Riihimaki Glass – Finnish Glass Factory

Riihimäki Glass was a Finnish glass factory. The factory, established in 1810 for the production of domestic glassware, began production of window glass in 1919. It purchased various small factories, including the factory in which the Finnish Glass Museum is located today. After buying the Kaukalahti glassworks in 1927, Riihimaki became the largest glass factory in Finland.

Riihimäki glass
Riihimäki glass

In 1928, they sponsored a glass design competition won by Henry Ericsson. In the mid-1930s, the factory was refitted and upgraded. In 1933 and 1936, sponsored competitions entered by Alvar Aalto, Gunnel Nyman, Arttu Brummer, and others. During the late 1930s, they had expanded into a medical and technical glass.

In 1941, the Kauklahti and Ryttyla glassworks merged with Riihimaen. After World War II, new designers included Helena Tynell and Nanny Still. In 1976, the factory was fully automated and discontinued blown-glass production.

Set of 5 Helena Tynell vases
Set of 5 Helena Tynell vases

It manufactured glassware and art glass for everyday use until 1976 and cut glass until 1977. It produced only glass and plastic packaging after that. In 1980, Ahlstrom Corporation bought the business and closed the Riihimäki plant in 1990.

Henry Ericsson, Arttu Brummer, Gunnel Nyman, and after 1945, Tamara Aladin, Greta-Lisa Jäderholm-Snellman, Aimo Okkolin, Sakari Pykälä, Timo Sarpaneva, Erkkitapio Siiroinen, Nanny Still and Helena Tynell were among the celebrated designers affiliated with Riihimäki in its early decades.

A 25 piece 'Harlekiini' glasswear
A 25 piece ‘Harlekiini’ glasswear

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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