University Museums

Title: Toilet Bottle with Stopper
Name: Toilet Bottle with Stopper
Date: c. 1830
Medium: Glass, Lithyalin
Country/Culture: Bohemian
Dimensions: A: 4 3/8 × 3 1/8 in. (11.1 × 7.9 cm) B: 2 1/4 × 1 1/16 in. (5.7 × 2.7 cm)
Classification: Decorative Arts, Glass
Credit Line: Gift of Ann and Henry Brunnier. In the Ann and Henry Brunnier Collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: 3.6.81ab
More Information
The Bohemian Art glass industry had been thriving for three hundred years by the time Friedrich Egermann was born in 1777. From his studio in Novy Bor he transformed the industry and revolutionised the economy of his homeland.

After studying manufacturing processes at Porcelain factories including the great Meissen works at Albrechtsburg Castle, Egermann returned to Bohemia and began to experiment with methods of coloring glass. His first major breakthrough was his perfection of a yellow stain, achieved by introducing ions of silver to the surface of the glass, in 1818. In 1828 he patented his process for producing Lithyalin glass – an opaque marbled product that was designed to resemble precious stones. This finish proved extremely popular and Egermann and his imitators prospered on the back of a lucrative export market throuhgout Europe and America.

Egermann’s finest moment came in 1832 when he discovered how to create a red Stained glass using copper. Despite their best efforts, no member of the pioneering Bohemian glassmaking fraternity had yet achieved a satisfactory red tone and it was seen as something of a holy grail. Egermann’s rich ruby red was a phenomenon and, by carefully guarding his secret, he made a fortune through his monopoly. His disgruntled competitors finally snapped one day in 1840 and broke into his workshop to steal his formula. Egermann’s method thence spread quickly across Europe and to America.