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A guide to Chance glassware
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Cut Pearl detail


Detail from Cut Pearl Intaglio


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Please Note: If publishing any photograph of the internal of Broadfield House, they should be credited 'Courtesy of Friends of Broadfield House Glass Museum'. With thanks. These photographs may only be used for any purpose associated with the protest to close Broadfield House.

If possible a recipricol link to would be appreciated!

New Book:
Lighthouses: The Race to Illuminate the World
by Toby Chance and Peter Williams
Publisher: New Holland Publishers

A new book, available in late October, which explores the efforts by Chance Brothers from 1851 to produce lighthouse parts that were eventually found all around the world. Using technologies pioneered by James Timmins Chance, this optical glass became world-renowned.

Visit Toby Chance's web site

Chance Expressions

Chance Expressions
The History of Domestic Glassware from Chance Brothers

Which is the odd one out?
No prizes, but e-mail with your guess!



Foreword by Charles Hajdamach
Abridged History of Chance Brothers
Complete Catalogue & Reference Guide
1950s Design Philosophy & the Media

148 pages, A4 in size (210 x 297mm)
Fully illustrated with over 750 photos!

Find out more...

Buy Now...
from Cortex Design

Chance Encounters:

An insight into Chance, with recorded reminiscences of former workers.

Why Bother! Try a Free Listing on Specialist Auctions!
(and they accept Google Checkout!)

With thanks to everyone from who helped identify and contributed their examples. Current news on Fiestaware or Pressed glass

Orlak: 1929-33

The first domestic glassware produced by Chance was 'Orlak'; a range of heat-resistant ovenware and tableware designed by Harold Stabler, who was better known as part of Carter, Stabler & Adams partnership, that later became Poole Pottery.

Some ovenware is identifiable as being octagonal-shaped with recessed handles on the lid. The orange enamel decoration on the example shown (right) is not generally known.

Production started from 1929 to 1933 before Chance sold the rights to Jobling, who were at this stage manufacturing Pyrex and probably purchased Orlak purely to stifle the competition – whatever the circumstances, Orlak never reappeared.

Chances' first foray into tableware. Heat-resistant.

Pressed Glass: 1934-53

Prior to Fiestware, Chance were major producers of quality pressed domestic glassware that including bowls, jugs and vases, and were developed with intriguing and exceptional optical characteristics.

Seven designs were created from 1934 and these continued until 1953 in a variety of shapes and styles, when the manufacturing process proved uneconomical and was ceased.

The predominant feature of Chance pressed glass from this era is it's all created from clear glass. Examples shown in colour are actually enamel sprayed onto clear glass.

The Spiderweb pattern drew inspiration from lighthouses

Fiestaware: 1950-1981

With the advent of 2006, Chance's most popular creation, Fiestaware, has now reached 'Vintage' status throughout the entire range!

Fiestaware was Chance's most successful creation: mass-produced glassware for the domestic market that stood the test of time over a period of thirty years. This glassware was produced flat-rolled sheet glass with decorative screen- and transfer-prints applied prior to it being formed to shape, by reheating and slumping.

Their most popular creations were from the 'Fiestaware' range that eminent designers like Michael Harris and Margaret Casson helped create, with the most popular designs being Swirl (1955 — see 50th Anniversary page), Calypto (1959, Harris) and Lace. One well-known and highly collectable pattern, is Margaret Casson's 'Night Sky' (1957).

Fiestaware was often finished with a gilt rim, but this is not always the case, and while the common dove-grey (often called white) silk-screen-transfer on clear glass is seen as the norm, in fact there are many other variations; for example green, black and gold transfers on clear glass and gold transfers on ruby-flashed glass can be found.

Additionally, Chance Brothers produced a wide range of 'Crestware' (items containing the names of towns, for example) and a wide range of 'Floral' ware (produced between c.1961-81).

The use of silk-screen and transfer printing as the design medium had another advantage; using regular production lines for the glass blanks, Chance could create new designs quickly to cover special commemorative events, like the Queen's Silver Wedding in 1977. The commercial side was also exploited successfully and 'Adware' became a popular way for salesman to leave their customers a permanent reminder: more often than not, this took the shape of a dish/ashtray.

An unusual serviette holder in the familiar 'Swirl' design, but was not made by Chance!

The Anemone pattern was the most popular floral design

'Night Sky', as designed by Margaret Casson

Handkerchief Vases

An entire subset of the Fiestaware range; these vases represented a bewildering array of sizes, patterns and colours. If all these combinations were used up, you'd probably be looking at well over 500 different vases to collect! However, we estimate there are 'only' around 100 different varieties.

Phew, that's alright then...!

Copyright ©

All images on this site are copyright of the site, If you wish to use any image, please contact us first!

All data on this site is provisional until confirmed.

A stack of Gingham Posy Vases: red, burgundy and the 'choc & cream' models


  • If you do use information from this site, it would be nice to be acknowledged!
  • The absence of any pattern from this site does not indicate rarity — it could just mean another manufacturer made it...!
  • Avoid using the term 'RARE'. Much of the less common items should be termed 'SCARCE'. Very little Chance glass is truly rare.


Chance Brothers operated exclusively from Smethwick, England, from 1824 until 1981 when flat glass production was absorbed into the parent company's plant (Pilkington) at St. Helens. Chance Brothers at one time was one of the leading lighthouse, scientific and optical glass producers in the world.

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Also note our Copyright
With thanks to: Broadfield House Glass Museum and Smethwick Heritage Centre.

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