Verrerie de Nancy (Frères Daum) is a French glass factory which was founded in Nancy by Jean Daum (1825-1885) in 1875. Daum began by producing glass for everyday use, for instance, glass for windows and watches. However, the factory did not flourish. In 1885, its management was taken over by Jean-Louis Auguste (1854-1909) and Jean-Antonin (1864-1930); two of Daum's sons. They were responsible for a large change and they really brought the factory to new heights. Eventually, in 1891, the production was switched from historical glass and tableware to artistic glass in the Art Nouveau style.
The Daum brothers had adopted this idea from Emile Gallé, who was admired by Antonin Daum in particular. The studio d'Art à la Verrerie de Nancy was founded and it also had an education programme attached to it. Influenced by Gallé, the brothers Daum started creating objects of layered glass which were decorated with etched images of flowers and landscapes. The Daums also brought in a group of artists, designers and craftsmen to create innovative designs. This resulted in Art Nouveau style glass which was based on organic shapes and decorated with flowers. Nature created a fascination with colours but it was also used in the search for visual beauty.
Daum was a supporter of traditional Symbolism which is based on logics rather than poetry. In 1891 a workshop specialising in decoration was founded by Eugène Damman. Eventually, there were fifty labourers in that workshop. Emile Wirtz, Alméric Walter, Jacques Gruber, Henri Bergé and Eugène Gall worked there among others.
The factory had a total of three hundred employees. The two most successful products were engraved / coloured vases and glass lampshades. The latter were produced by Gispen's own design, as well as that of Louis Majorelle and, later on, that of Edgar-William Brandt (1880-1960).
In 1893, during the 'World's Columbian Exposition' in Chicago, the company showed their first artistically etched designs. Daum's first award followed in 1900 at the world fair 'Exposition Universelle' in Paris in 1900. Paul Daum (Jean's third son) started working for the company in 1909. While he was only employed shortly, a stylistic change took place: the work became a lot more austere and monochrome.
The factory of the brothers Daum kept on producing successfully in the twentieth century because they were open to innovative ideas. Shortly after the First World War, in 1919, the production was resumed and they began producing thick-walled glass with geometric Art Deco motifs.
The factory is still running and it has remained in the hands of Jean Daum's offspring. One of Daum's great strengths was to look for collaborations with major designers from various periods of time.