Ashtrays, 1957-1958

Ashtrays, 1957-1958
Pressed and Cut Glass
Design by Václav Plátek

Honorable Mention, EXPO 58 in Brussels

The second half of the 1950’s was marked by a gradual easing of tensions surrounding the possibility of another world war. The countries of the capitalist and socialist blocs took their first cautious steps to begin communicating, which was reflected in the revival of the tradition of International Expositions. EXPO ‘58 in Brussels, which comprised of 52 countries including the United States and the Soviet Union, was visited by 42 million people. Czechoslovakia garnered great success with its large collection of functional and art glass, receiving 14 different awards, including an honorable mention for ashtrays designed by Václav Plátek for the Jablonecké sklárny (Jablonec Glassworks). The pavilion itself was declared as the best of the show. Plátek’s ashtrays were then also successfully introduced at the spectacular exhibition of Czechoslovak glass in Moscow (1959) and at the XII Triennial in Milan (1960).

In the Czech Republic and Around the World

1957 The first Frisbee is sold; the Fiat 500 comes on the market; John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet for the first time; Juan Manuel Fangio wins a record fifth Formula 1 World Champion title; Jack Kerouac publishes his novel On the Road; Leonard Bernstein’s musical West Side Story premieres on Broadway; the Soviet Union launches the first space satellites Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 (with Laika the dog); Albert Camus is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

1958 LEGO is founded; the first automatic washing machine is introduced; the first pacemaker is implanted; Barbie first appears; Pope Pius XII designates St. Clare as the patron saint of television; the first video game Tennis for Two is presented in the North American city of Brookhaven.