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The Compagnie Française du Cristal Daum is a crystal factory founded by the Daum brothers in 1878 in Nancy, Lorraine. The workshops of the Daum brothers, Auguste (1853-1909) and Antonin (1864-1930), also trained some of the great names of Art Nouveau such as Jacques Grüber, Henri Bergé, Almaric Walter and the Schneider brothers.
Following the 1870 war, Jean Daum (1825-1885), notary in Bitche, sold his office and opted for France. He moved to Nancy in 1876 and, the same year, lent money on several occasions to Avril and Bertrand, owner of the Sainte-Catherine glassworks in Nancy, a factory which produced bottles and ordinary gobletware. The company did not find its financial balance and Daum was forced to buy it back in 1878 and became head of a company with 150 workers, in a field of which he knew nothing. In 1878, Jean associates his son Auguste with it, but he does not know the first successes of the company. When he died in 1885, Auguste took over the management of the glassworks alone before being joined in 1887 by his brother Antonin, who had just graduated from the École centrale des arts et manufactures in Paris. Faced with the poor financial health of the glass factory, Auguste, who was training as a lawyer, found himself forced to take charge. Antonin begins by embellishing common table services. Familiar with glass techniques through his training, he directs production towards artistic creation. The two brothers prepare, between 1889 and 1891, the setting up of an artistic department which is entrusted to Antonin. Auguste gives him all the means to work to follow the furrow dug by Émile Gallé in Art Nouveau glassware.
Antonin Daum starts with a few simple models to quickly continue with acid etching, then moves on to models using wheel engraving techniques, two or three layer glasses. From 1890 to 1914, he created no less than three thousand references.
Jacques Grüber is the first glass artist. Recruited in 1893, he was entrusted with the creation of pieces with a view to appearing at the Universal Exhibition in Chicago in 1893. This was the first great success that propelled Daum into the closed circle of art industries. The Daum brothers won participation in the Nancy exhibition in 1894. There were then the exhibitions in Lyon (1894), Bordeaux (1895) and Brussels (1895 and 1897), during which they received distinctions. A design school was created in 1897 within the company, which trained its own decorators and engravers. Henri Bergé is master decorator there, he is the second artist of the company. He will have Émile Writz at his side from 1898.
The consecration of the adventure comes when the first grand prize for art glassware at the Universal Exhibition of 1900 is awarded to Daum and Gallé. Daum presents pieces prepared with care: vases with an intervening decoration (patent of 1899) and lamps which become a specialty. In 1904, Almaric Walter developed molten glass there, he remained at Daum until 1915.
In 1901, the statutes of the École de Nancy were officially laid down. Émile Gallé is the man at the origin of this group and becomes its president. Antonin is vice-president. Antonin is also one of the personalities of the Chamber of Commerce of Nancy. He played an important role in 1909 during the International Exhibition of Eastern France which marked the end of the School of Nancy. Auguste died in 1909, Antonin was active until his death in 1930, but shared responsibilities with Auguste's sons: Jean, Henri and Paul. Jean dies in 1916, Henri is manager like his father. Paul is a graduate of the Institute of Physics and Chemistry of Nancy, he will gradually take the place of Antonin. After 1918, the Daums ensured the adaptation of the company to the new production conditions, anxious to maintain quality, techniques and aesthetic orientations more than utilitarian ones. The company continues to participate in major exhibitions: Barcelona in 1923, International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris in 1925, Colonial Exhibition in Paris in 1931.
In the 1920s, Paul Daum directed production towards Art Deco in the face of the public's loss of interest in Art Nouveau. Demand is high and the business is thriving. He opened a second Belle-Étoile crystal factory in Croismare in 1925, of which he was the director. Pierre Davesn creates models from 1928 there. The economic crisis of the 1930s affects Belle-Étoile which is closed in 1934. A few large orders allow the company to continue its production: in 1935, the Transatlantic company orders 90,000 pieces in glass and crystal for the Normandy liner.
After the Second World War, crystal took a prominent place, under the direction of Henri and Michel Daum. The eldest of Antonin's grandchildren, Antoine Froissart (1920-1971), an engineer from the École centrale de Paris, came to the point of manufacturing a particularly transparent and brilliant crystal. This new crystal promotes the creation of pieces with thick and flexible shapes, and a luminous appearance. Jacques, Auguste's grandson, brought a breath of fresh air in 1965 by calling on contemporary designers.
The pieces in this collection of fake lighting glassware signed Daum are engraved "Daum + Nancy" or "Daum + Nancy France". Some signatures are fanciful, but others are identical to original ones