Afors Glassworks


Afors was founded in Smaland in 1876 by C.F. Fagerlund, Oscar Fagerlund, Alfred Fagerlund and Carl Carlsson. In 1916 the glassworks were purchased by Oscar Johansson, and in 1917, his son, Ernst Johansson, changed his name to Afors. He retained control of the glassworks until it was sold to Kosta Boda in 1976. It was then renamed KostaBoda AB. In the beginning, Afors produced only a variety of household wares, and in 1910 they began to produce painted, cut and etched glass. In the period up to the late 1940s, a variety of artists such as Karl Zenkert and Karl Diessner (both for painted glass), and Astrid Rietz and Edvin Ollers worked for the Afors. In 1953 Ernest Gordon joined Afors and made famous and classic designs for the company. In 1963, Ernest Gordon was succeded by Bertil Vallien, who came back to Sweden after having worked several years in the USA as a ceramics designer. Vallien had no experience in glass design when he came to Afors and he experimented with sand-casting, sandblasting and hot-glass ornamentation. His wife, Ulrika Hydman-Vallien, also a ceramics designer by trade, joined him at Afors in 1972. In the 1970s, Afors started its “Artist Collection”, which was art glass manufactured in small quantities that can be placed somewhere between unique design pieces and standard, mass produced models.  The description “Artist Collection” was also used for pieces that were signed Kosta or Boda, and is still in use as the KostaBoda Artist Collection today.  Most designers, such as Bertil Vallien, Ulrika Hydman-Vallien, Olle Bronzen (joined in 2000) and Gunnel Sahlin (joined in 1986) maintain studios close to the Afors glassworks.

There seems to be no consistent signature in use until the mid 1980s. Until then, pieces were signed, Afors, Boda or Kosta, with some numbers representing the model. Due to the inconsistency, dating glass from Afors and Kosta Boda, from that period remains tricky.