Marius Sabino, founder of Sabino Glass company, was born in Sicily in 1878 and moved to France while he was still a young boy. He studied at L'Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs and the Beaux Arts de Paris, where he became particularly interested in the challenges that the advent of electricity would have on glass manufacture. It was through electric lights that Sabino came to the production of glass. In fact, on his return from the first World War (where he had joined as a volunteer), he founded a factory which manufactured traditional lights fittings of wood or bronze and then quickly changed to glass.In 1925, Sabino created an opalescent glass with a blue hue and iridescent impressions of either clouds in a blue sky, light striking a soap bubble or a reflection from water surface. He designed and made special lighting for a luxury cruise ship (Ile de france) in 1927, and a lighted fountain column for the Grand Salon of Normandy in 1935.The glass of the chandelier was no longer part of the design, it was the principal component. His chandeliers, which were often monumental in size, were made to compliment the architecture of the day. Apart from chandeliers, he also created a multitude of vases and decorative objects, making great use of his expertise as a sculptor. In particular, busts and statues of women, and an exceptionally large range of animals with stylized features-sometimes in extraordinary large sizes. For example, in 1931 he created a large fish in a limited edition, two of which were bought by Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier.
Some words about SCC (Sabino Crystal Company) and its new items still made today
Sabino's early opalescent glass had a higher arsenic content than most of his competitors, but his glass formula is reported to have changed after World War II to reduce this component. The earlier glass is said to feel and look different with a softer and "soapy" feel.
Early Sabino glass was marked "Sabino France" if intended for export, or "Sabino Paris" if intended for sale within France. Larger pieces still carry the "Sabino Paris" signature, which was etched onto the base of the pieces. Smaller pieces are marked "Sabino France" moulded into the side of the item. Some components as some shades were not signed. They were sold to other makers for special orders or productions. "Verart" and "Vernox" were two other trade marks used by Sabino during the 1930's. They were developed to compete in the cheaper market for opalescent glass that had been opened up by companies like Holophane (trademark "Verlys").
After World War II M. E. Sabino transferred operations to his nephew and adopted son Gripoix-Sabino. The elder Sabino died in 1961, by which time the company was again producing opalescent glass using the same moulds that he had designed. No new post WWII designs were created. All their output was exported to the USA. In 1978 Gripoix-Sabino sold the entire Sabino operation (moulds, factory, designs, rights and glass formulae) to the company's American agent Richard Choucroun and his "Sabino Crystal Company". The factory is still in France because the moulds are cultural heritage and are not allowed to leave the country. The company still uses the old moulds to reproduce badly finished decorative objects in a poor quality opalescent glass which are all transported to the US or proposed on eBay (there, the most often, the Sabino pieces are new from SCC). The shades in normal white pressed glass are not reproduced nor re-edited and authentic Marius Sabino pieces.