VISIT US Bergdala glastekniska museum

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Our pantographs

We show two pantographs of different constructions. One is horizontal and takes 24 glasses, the other one is vertical and takes 12 glasses.

First: Let's figure out what a pantograph is. A pantograph prepares a number of glass (in our case 24 and 12 respectively) for etching. We have been told that Reijmyre glasswork had one for 36 glasses.

Etching is a way to decorate glasses. It is faster than the mechanical engraving.
Once you have seen sufficiently many glasses the differences becomes more and more obvious. With etching the lines making up décor are distinct, they are always about the same width and they all are about as deep into the glass. In the case of a pantographed pattern, or a Guilloché pattern, there will be no continuous surfaces in the pattern. These two machines can only draw lines. To give the impression of a continuous surface you will see closely spaced lines (compare hatching).
Thus: Line etching is an excellent technique for the decoration of tableware. The pantograph is an excellent machine to draw patterns with "loose ends" or other irregularities. The Guilloché machines will always generate continuous lines.
Read more about the difference between pantographed and Guilloché patterns here.

As we understand it has lots of glassworks had at least one pantograph as seen over time. Guilloché machines were even more common. We have attempted to compile information about where and when these machines were used in Sweden, see "etching machines" in Sweden.

We do not know where our vertical pantograph was used but we found it in a warehouse in Kosta.

The horizontal pantograph was used at Kosta glasswork from (as we think) the early-mid 1890's until the mid-1980's. That is almost 100 years. We have not bee able to identify the manufacturer but we can see that many details are different from the 24-glass pantograph hosted by the Center for cultural heritage in Växjö. Their pantograph was used in Åfors.

These things lead us to the conclusion that all three have different manufacturers. None of them carries a sign from the manufacturer.

So: In principle the pantograph is simple enough. Put a template with an engraved or etched pattern on the table. The operator uses a stylus to follow the lines in the pattern template. The movements of the stylus are transferred - by a rather complicated system of trolleys, wheels and beams - to those parts that actually draw the pattern on the glasses.
table with template
Each "station" consists of a disc, onto which the wax-covered glasses are placed.
The needles, in their holders, are mounted on the discs, max six needles per disc.
The number of needles mounted is determined by how many pattern copies are wanted around each glass: for instance, a restaurant might only want one logotype per glass, while for example the service Elon has six copies around each glass.
The arms holding the needles have a spring which allows the needles to follow the shape of the glasses. At the starting moment the needels are in the outermost positions, they do not touch the glasses. There is a pedal to bring the needles in contact with the glasses.
en nålarm med dragfjäder
From now on will our two pantographs separate.

The horizontal pantograph

takes 24 glasses - 12 to the left and 12 to the right. The discs with the glasses move up and down but cannot rotate. But the arms with the drawing steel needles do. And since the stylus can be moved in all directions will the combination of the needles and the discs provide for a perfect transmission of the pattern.
The patterns on the templates are much larger than the desired pattern on the glasses so as to be (comparatively) simple to follow. You will find a more detailed explanation on the page The pantograph, how it works.
the horizontal pantograph in Bergdala

The vertical pantograph

takes at the most 12 glasses; three levels with four glasses each.
Since the upper level discs are at a height of more than two meters it has a built-in staircase. (There is one on each side, but we have mounted only one.)

Unfortunately, the stylus and its trolley are missing. But it would look similar to what you can see on the horizontal machine.

The vertical pantograph is opposite to the horizontal one: In the vertical one the glasses rotate while the needles go up and down. To facilitate this there is a counterweight. It is about 120 kg and is situated in an almost one metre deep hole in the floor.

The scaling is done in the same way on both pantographs, as is the maneuvering of the needles.

the vertical pantograph in Bergdala
Some more pictures of our pantographs
from Steenberg-Simmingsköld: Glas
Illustration from the book Glas by Steenberg and Simminsgsköld, probably depictiong our pantograph.
the vertical pantograph
At right:
The vertical pantograph: the top (with the stylus) is missing; to the left a glimpse of the stairs can be seen.

"the movement apparatus"

"the movement apparatus"
The "movement apparatus" from two angles: it transfers the operator's movements to the needles and discs. The construction allows movements in two directions simultaneously, thus making the pantograph a good copy machine.

The pattern templates

With the horizontal pantograph came some one hundred templates. Most are probably standards for table drinking glassware but we have not been able to identify very many of them.
Among the templates we find some twenty-thirty aimed for export. To a great deal consisting of London-based hotels and restaurants. Some may also be private orders. (A number seems like monograms or name cyphers. Like "BH": does that mean "Börje Håkansson" or does it mean "Bergdala Hotel"?)
We have found some glasses displaying patterns from the templates. You will find some examples on this page and some more on our blog. (Both links open in new windows.)
In case you run into some (and especially if they are not already identified or on display) glasses of etched tableware, then please contact us at Then we can agree about the details of the transport and transfer of the glass.
And remember that is of no importance at all if there are shards, cracks or other harms in the glass. We only want them for display - not for use!!
a bunch of templates

Bringing these heavy pantographs to the museum was in itself quite an adventure. The blog contains videos showing how we got the horizontal one (here) and the vertical one (here) in place. (Both links will open in new windows.)
The blog is written in Swedish, but we provide g**le translate (for what it is worth).