The Picardie glass was heralded by the Guardian as one of its top ten classic everyday designs and rightly so. This glass evokes a wealth of emotion, people who write about them, such as myself, have a passion for them, people remember them fondly from school and french holidays, when customers pick them up in the shop they very rarely leave without a box.
So what is it that makes this faceted drinking vessel so fascinating, after all thousands of styles of glass have been produced since 1927, why do we still love this one? I believe it’s because as well as its obvious good looks it is also fit for purpose, the faceted sides give you an excellent grip and the conical shape allows it to fit snuggly in the palm of your hand. The fluted edge not only makes it a pleasure to drink from and makes the edge of this sturdy glass feel delicate but works to make the glass completely stackable, no more smashing glasses off the kitchen counter to separate them. Makes you wonder why not all glasses have fluted edges!.
I love the fact that you can use these glasses for hot drinks, although the British haven’t adopted this idea, it feels a bit alien to us, but come Christmas they are perfect for mulled wine. HOW! I hear you cry can we use them for hot drinks, well let me bore you further, this is due to the tempering pressing process that was developed by the then owners of Duralex in 1939. Based on the principle of thermal shock where the glass is heated to 600 degrees and then cooled very quickly, giving excellent transparency and impact resistance doubling that of a normal glass. WOW! No wonder they had them in school, every child friendly home should have some!
Still produced in La Chapelle Saint Mesmin, near Orleans, there used to be two factories but this is the only one remaining. Duralex went through some tough times between 2003-2009, when there was changes of ownership, management buyouts and industrial action, administrators were knocking at the door but despite all the odds Duralex and the Picardie glass are the great survivors! Lets hope these iconic glasses never become extinct or else we’ll be hunting markets and antique stalls paying a fortune for them. You don’t find many iconic pieces of design that cost from £7 for 6 glasses.
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