In 1878, Jean Daum (1825-1885) bought the Sainte-Catherine glassworks in Nancy. He made both of his sons partners in the business – Auguste in 1879 and Antonin in 1887. Upon finishing his classical education in Bitche, Metz, and Nancy, Auguste Daum received a law degree from the university in Paris. He abandoned his law career in order to manage his father’s factory and, in 1904, he became the president of the Nancy Commercial Court. Upon his death in 1909, his brother Antonin took over the family business. Antonin was a student in Lunéville and then attended a secondary school in Nancy. In 1887, he graduated from the Ecole Centrale de Paris and joined the glass factory to attend to the renovation of forms and decorations.
Auguste’s management and Antonin’s creative talent gave the business a new economic and artistic dimension, most notably with the creation of an artistic glassmaking section in Nancy in 1891. The business developed several new techniques, the vitrification des poudres amongst others. In 1899, they patented their décor intercalaire.
Over the years, numerous talented artists were in charge of Daum’s decoration workshop. Jacques Gruber, decorator and glassblower, was responsible from 1893 onwards and Henri Bergé from 1895 onwards. Amalric Walter’s arrivel in 1904, after an apprenticeship at the Sèvres factory, extended the pâte de verre technique within the Daum glassworks.
The Nancy Museum of Fine Arts has housed since the mid 80’s almost 600 examples of Daum glass, crystal, light fixtures and pâtes de verre, all of which illustrate a century of Nancy glass production.
Antonin Daum was vice president and treasurer of the Ecole de Nancy from its creation in 1901.