Loetz Signatures and Marks Prior to 1918

By Deb Petersen Fitzsimmons

This article will cover the various signatures, marks and labels that there were applied by Loetz to their art glass during the period of 1898 through 1903. (Note: All quoted text in this article is from the “Signatures and Marks” article written by Dr. Jan Mergl and Earnest Ploil, “Loetz Bohemian Glass 1880 – 1940”, published by Hatje Cantz in 2003.)

According to the article, “Signatures and Marks” written by Dr. Jan Mergl and Earnest Ploil found on pages 330 - 333 of “Loetz Bohemian Glass 1880 – 1940” published by Hatje Cantz in 2003: "There seems to have been no exactly defined rule as to when glassware was to bear the firm's trademark or name".  Furthermore, no information has been found in the Loetz archives to provide an explanation for how and when these marks were to be applied.  However, Dr. Mergl indicates that while his “remarks represent hypotheses (they result) from legal and economic considerations, supported by the material which has become accessible so far, but are not conclusive”.

What we do know is that the marks used by Loetz were taken from the von Spaun family coat of arms. These marks include the half-figure of a ram rampant which was used on paper labels as well as the mark with the two crossed arrows and four stars. The crossed arrows mark was registered by von Spaun in 1891 and used primarily on paper labels until 1898. 1898 was the first time that the crossed arrows mark was intaglio engraved onto a piece of glass.

VonSpaun coat of arms engraved on a pokalVonSpaun coat of arms engraved on a pokalLoetz Paper label with registered trademark used prior to 1898Loetz Paper label with registered trademark used prior to 1898Loetz paper label used between 1900 - 1904Loetz paper label used between 1900 - 1904

I. Engraved Crossed Arrow Marks

There are four versions of the engraved crossed arrows mark. Each of these marks can be found within the polished pontil or on the bottom of the piece if no pontil was created.  All of the crossed arrow marks consist of a circle with four stars placed in each of the four quadrants created by the two crossed arrows. The difference between the four crossed arrows marks is mainly the writing or lack of it below and outside of the engraved circle.

1) Engraved marks with two crossed arrows and four stars but no writing outside of the circle were “used occasionally in 1898 and 1899”.

2) Marks with the two arrows and “Lötz” written below the circle were “used on pieces von Spaun gave to the Austrian Museum für Kunst und Industrie in Vienna” (MAK), and “occasionally found on top-quality pieces made in 1899 and 1900.”

 

3) The engraved mark with two arrows, four stars and “Austria” written below the circle were “found only on a few glass pieces made in 1898.” Note:There is a misconception that signed pieces with this crossed arrows mark are only found on high end Phaenomen pieces. However, the fact that many Papillion pieces that can be identified by their shapes as being produced in 1898 have also been found bearing this mark, even examples without ground pontils (see last photo), is evidence that the date rather than the décor was the deciding factor for the application of this mark.

4) Marks with two crosssed arrows and “Spaun” written above the circle were “applied only to pieces von Spaun gave to the Austrian museum in Linz in 1898” and “occasionally on pieces in private collections (gifts from von Spaun?)”.

 Neuwirth "Loetz, Austria 1900 - 1905-1918"Neuwirth "Loetz, Austria 1900 - 1905-1918"

II. Engraved "Loetz Austria" Mark

“The most common signature used by the factory” was the Loetz Austria mark. This mark “was most likely introduced in 1899 and no longer occurs after 1903”.

 

III. Authenticating engraved Loetz Signatures

Unfortunately, many signatures found in the market place advertising "signed Loetz" pieces are forgeries. The most common forgery is the “Loetz Austria” signature. Other Loetz mark forgeries have been attempted but these forgeries are usually quite obvious.

Fake "Loetz" signatureFake "Loetz" signatureFake Loetz crossed arrowsFake Loetz crossed arrowsFake crossed arrows markFake crossed arrows mark

Since only a few Loetz pieces were signed, these signatures and marks are considered rarities even when applied to the most common Loetz decors. Collectors and dealers are urged to familiarize themselves with authentic signatures, examples of which can be found in most of the Loetz publications as well as on this site. However, a signature should not be relied upon as the basis for documenting a piece of Loetz.  While an authentic Loetz signature is not one that is easily copied, any signature can potentially be replicated in such a way that it may look authentic. That being said, here are a few things to consider when trying to authenticate a "Loetz" signature:

1) Is the signature engraved and comprised of many vertical lines that look like this  /////////  for each of the letters or did a diamond point tool scratch the signature into the glass?

2) If the words "Loetz" or "Lötz" appear on the vessel, check the signature to make sure it is "wheel" engraved. No acid stamped or diamond point signatures were used on pieces with the "Loetz" name on them.

3) Is the mark placed on a Loetz décor that was introduced after 1903?

4) Even though a decor may have been produced on or before 1903, some decors were never signed. These include but are not limited to: Astraea, Aeolus, Arcadia, Astglas, Aventurin, Chiné, Ciselé, Delphi, Diaspora, Empire, Formosa, Martelé, Nautilus, Neptun, Norma, Orpheus, Pampas, Rusticana, Violetta, Vulcan, Wellenoptisch and Zebra.

5) Is the signature located anywhere other than the pontil?

6) If the signature is located on the wall of the vessel, is the signature engraved or one that is "etched in relief" such as the signatures typically found on Cameo or unique designer pieces?

IV. Etched in Relief Marks

The "etched in relief" signature is typically found on the wall of a vessel that has an overlay or additional layer of glass. The signatures shown below are examples of the style of signature that was etched onto pieces created between 1909 and 1914 that were designed by artists such as Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Beckert, Franz Hofstoetter, Dagobert Peche, etc.  Note: For information on the more common "Loetz" signatures that were etched in relief on later cameo pieces see the article, "Loetz Marks after 1918", by Warren Gallé.

V. Etched Silberiris Marks

A simple mark found etched into the pontil of various "Etched Silberiris DEK" examples may seem out of place because it appears similar to newer marks that are associated with those created by a "diamond point" tool. However, this mark accurately matches the specific decor number that was assigned to the floral pattern that was etched through the Silberiris layer of glass.  These etched Silberiris decors with their inner casing of colored opal glass and strong iridescent layer of Silberiris were only produced for a short time between 1902 -1905.  So while the thin lined etched number found on these pieces may seem odd, we know that these marks are original to the piece and over 110 years old!

 DEK 295DEK 295DEK 296DEK 296

VI. Etching Ink Marks & Signatures

Etching ink was applied to Loetz pieces for various reasons. These signatures were used to denote important pieces exhibited at events, an early "Patent Pending" or the many different decorations (DEK's) that were painted and etched on Loetz vases.  Here are a few examples of these etching ink signatures.

 

 Dek 221Dek 221DEK I/117DEK I/117

VII. Matte Intaglio Designer Marks & Other Intaglio Marks

Matte intaglio designer marks were placed on the underside of a vessel that was designed by a particular artist. In the case of pieces commissioned by Marie Kirschner, her initials were only placed on the pieces that she sold herself. Other designers such as Leopold Bauer, Marie Wald and ,rarely, Koloman Moser placed their monograms to mark vessels that they designed.  Here are a few examples:

Kolo Moser markKolo Moser markMarie KirschnerMarie KirschnerMarie KirschnerMarie Kirschner

Another matte intaglio mark "used to mark individual pieces of the table decoration Domino, produced by the Loetz factory in 1908".

Domino MarkDomino MarkDomino - mark found on crystal dish Domino - mark found on crystal dish Domino Mark found on Ausf 123Domino Mark found on Ausf 123

VI. Marks after 1918

For information on Loetz signatures and marks used after 1918 visit the article, "Loetz Marks after 1918", by Warren Gallé.

Acknowledgements: The information found in this article comes from many different sources, both written and electronic, as well as the author’s own collection and the Passau Glass Museum. For further reading, see www.loetz.com, as well as the following publications:

  • Lötz Böhmisches Glas 1880-1940, Band 1 (Werkmonographie) and Band 2 (Katalog der Musterschnitte), Prestel, Ricke
  • Loetz Bohemian Glass 1880-1940, Neue Galerie, Hatje Cantz
  • Das Böhmische Glas 1700-1950, Band VI Art Deco – Moderne, Passauer Glasmuseum
  • Glasmarken Lexikon 1600-1945 Europa und Nordamerika – Signaturen, Fabrik –und Handelsmarken, Arnoldsche, Carolus Hartmann
  • Loetz Austria Glass 1905-1918, Waltraud Neuwirth

2) Even though a decor may have been produced in 1903 or earlier, some decors were never signed. These include: Astraea, Aeolus, Arcadia, Astglas, Aventurin, Chiné, Ciselé, Delphi, Diaspora, Empire, Formosa, Martelé, Nautilus, Neptun, Norma, Orpheous, Pampas, Rusticana, Violetta, Vulcan, Wellenoptisch and Zebra.

3) Is the signature located anywhere other than the pontil?

4) If the signature is located on the wall of the vessel, is the signature engraved or one that is "etched in relief" such as the signatures found on Cameo or unique designer pieces?