Orrefors Glassworks was founded in 1898 on the same site where ironworks operations had been run since 1726. In the same year that the glassworks was founded, a hot shop was built for making technical, medical and household glass and stemware to make use of waste wood and labour. Glass now replaced the less profitable ironworks operations.

In 1913, Consul Johan Ekman from Gothenburg became the new owner of Orrefors Glassworks. He appointed Albert Ahlin as manager of the glassworks and this marked the start of a new era. In 1914, Orrefors started manufacturing crystal products, and as well as cut crystal according to purchased patterns and samples, Orrefors made art glass using the overlay technique with etched decoration. The new management quickly saw that artists were needed in the business, so Simon Gate was employed in 1916 and was joined by Edward Hald a year later.

That same year, Gate and Hald made their first tentative attempts at figure engraving. They also experimented with the new innovative graal (grail) glass technique that was developed at Orrefors by the master glassblower Knut Bergqvist. The major successes were achieved a few years later at the Gothenburg Exhibition in 1923, and in particular at the Paris Exhibition in 1925. The thin engraved glass was admired by the surrounding world, and both Orrefors and the artists themselves were awarded the Grand Prix.

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