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Quezal Art Glass & Decorating Company

Queens, New York

1902 – 1924

The Quezal Art Glass & Decorating Company was incorporated on March 27, 1902.  It was founded by Martin Bach, (Sr), Thomas Johnson, Nicholas Bach, Lena Scholtz and Adolph Demuth.  The factory was located on the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan  Avenue in Maspeth, Queens, New York.  Their trademark was    "Quezal" was successfully registered.  By 1904 they had roughly 50 glassworkers.

Martin Bach, (Sr) was the president, proprietor, and guiding force behind this successful company.  He was born in 1862 in Alsace-Lorraine to German parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1891. Before his emigration, Bach worked in Saint-Louis, France, at the Saint-Louis Glass Factory. After Bach arrived in this country, he was hired by Louis C. Tiffany as the first batch-mixer or chemist at the newly established Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, in Corona, Queens.

After a period of about eight years, Bach left Tiffany and established his own glassworks. By this time, Bach had already started his small family. He and his German-born wife, Anne-Marie Geisser, whom he married in the fall of 1889, in Paris, France, had three children. Two daughters, Jennie and Louise, were born in France and a son, Martin, Jr., was born in Corona.

Bach was assisted by Thomas Johnson, an English immigrant, and Maurice Kelly, a native of Corona, both of whom were gaffers or master glassblowers. Johnson and Kelly helped pave the way for Quezal’s early accomplishments and later recognition. Thomas Johnson, like Bach, was a founding member and also previously employed by Louis C. Tiffany.

Johnson’s association with Quezal, however, was relatively short lived. Around 1907, Johnson left for Somerville, Massachusetts, where he became involved in making Kew Blas glass, under William S. Blake at the Union Glass Company. Maurice Kelly’s tenure with Quezal was also brief. Kelly worked at Quezal from January 1902 until July 1904, but by November 1904, he was making Favrile glass at Tiffany Furnaces, where he would happily remain until 1918.

Martin Bach, Sr. was often given to generous actions and gave away a good many pieces of his beautiful Quezal glass to neighbors, friends, and even settled his local debts with his wares. When he died of cancer on August 1, 1921, at the age of fifty-nine in the Greenpoint Hospital in Brooklyn, unfilled orders for Quezal art glass totaled some $350,000 a considerable sum in 1921. Complicating matters, Quezal was experiencing financial difficulties under the management of Robert Robinson, president, and Martin Bach, Jr., vice-president.

In December 1923, the Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company was sold to Edward Conlan and in January 1924, the Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company was reorganized as the Quezal Glass Manufacturing Company. Dr. Ferguson served as president and Martin Bach Jr. served as general manager. The reorganized company continued to make both commercial and artistic glassware and even introduced many new articles.  The company closed in 1924.

It is often thought that there existed a man by the name of Quezal, who worked for Louis C. Tiffany, and that is who the company was named for.  Truth is the founders of the Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company named the company and its products after one of the world’s most beautiful birds, the elusive and rare quetzal, which dwells in the treetops of the remote tropical forests of Central America. A rare company promotional brochure provides a vivid description of the quetzal: Of all the birds of the Quezal is known for beautiful flora forms vases and art glass, glass shades. 

As to Quezal’s glass, Quezal’s art glass differed from other makers because it was not iridescent.  In addition, the high-gloss body of the glass is always opaque and usually consists of a subtle and artistic blending of colors that include dark and light brown, olive green, gray, pale blue, lavender, dark orange, and pale yellow

Some shades are formed and decorated as lilies while others are bell-shaped and have ribbed or textured decoration. Rims are usually plain but sometimes are notched or ruffled. Common motifs include feather or hooked feather, leaf and vine, applied flowers, drape, fishnet, King Tut, and spider webbing. The workmanship shown on most Quezal shades is of the highest caliber. The sale of these shades represented a significant portion of the firm’s revenue.

Quezal Art Glass

I am not aware of any Quezal produced rose bowls, however I will insert a few photos of Quezal Art Glass for the read to see their beauty.

 

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