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TURNING GLASSWARE INDUSTRY
UPSIDE DOWN

A recycling phenomenon that started in South Africa in 1992 and rapidly spread throughout Europe is turning notions of tableware fashion, art and environmentalism upside down in the United States as well.

Revered throughout Europe and other parts of the world as collectable art glass, Green goblets have even been chosen for the table of King Carlos of Spain, movie sets and celebrity dinners. In addition to their popularity with consumers and collectors, Green products are quickly becoming a valuable marketing tool in the corporate world. Etched with a company name or logo, the glasses not only provide enduring brand exposure, they also contain a special ingredient the magic of a potent story behind the origin and crafting of the glass.

Humble beginnings

Late one night while clearing the table after a dinner party, Sean's wife, Mara, mentioned that it was a shame there was no further use for the attractive empty wine bottles they were about to toss in the refuse bin. As soon as she said it, inspiration struck turn the bottle upside down remove the base and reattach it to the neck and voila a drinking glass. And with the striking colors and shapes of many glass bottles, the result is unique stemware that combines environmental consciousness with exquisite taste.

Though the initial idea came in a flash, the first experiments weren't exactly what could be called a "smashing" success. The lip of each glass had to be smoothed and the base had to be permanently joined to the stem without shattering the bottle.

"We thought it would be so easy, but it was a technical nightmare," said Penrith, who smashed literally thousands of bottles in attempting to develop a prototype. "It took us eight months to produce the first glass."

The challenge of joining the base to the stem had big glass companies perplexed. But with the help of Tetley, they eventually developed a successful bonding technique on their own and applied for a worldwide patent as soon as they were sure it would work.


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