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Founded in 1767, the history of St. Louis closely parallels its rival Baccarat. On February 17, 1767 King Louis XV granted permission for M. René-Francois Jolly & Company to build a glass factory in the Munzthal forest of the province of Lorraine, France. This new company was named Verrerie Royale de Saint Louis after King Saint Louis who had ruled France in the 13th century. In 1782 under the management of Count de Beaufort, St. Louis became the first French glassworks to successfully produce a high quality crystal. In 1829 the factory name was changed to Compagnie des Cristalleries de Saint Louis to reflect the fact that they were now solely devoted to making fine crystal.
Paperweights were probably being made here by 1842 or 1843 although the first date to appear in a St. Louis weight is 1845. Like other French companies, production was the strongest for the first ten to fifteen years then gradually trailed off. The last year we have any indication of weights being made is 1867.
Eighty-four years later, in 1951, they began doing research to rediscover their lost secrets of paperweight making as Paul Jokelson had challenged them to again make fine weights as they had done a century earlier. In 1951 they began doing research to rediscover their lost secrets of paperweight making. In 1952, after an eighty-five year interval, St. Louis resumed making weights. St. Louis started an annual production of limited edition weights in 1970. Drawing on the classic period for their inspiration, the contemporary glassworkers at St. Louis have produced a variety of excellent weights that is unmatched by any other glassworks in recent decades.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.