The history of paperweights had its beginnings in the early 1840s...probably first in Silesia (in Karlsthal) and then in Venice. They were first displayed at the Exhibition of Austrian Industry in Vienna in 1845, and within no time, these glass artifacts were being produced by glasshouses in Bohemia, France, England and - a few years later - in the United States of America. Paperweights were also made in the 19th Century - on a much smaller scale - in Thuringia (in Germany), Belgium and Russia.
Click on one of the countries/regions below - or in the left-hand column - for images and details
The classic period of French paperweight production is considered to be ca. 1845 to 1865, after which their popularity steadily declined, although they continued to be produced at a couple of glasshouses into the 1880s. The main French producers were the big 3: Baccarat, Clichy and St. Louis. Other early producers were St. Mandé and Grenelle. Later on - in the 1870s - Pantin produced a small number of weights.
Click below - or on the glasshouse in the left-hand column - for images and details