This is one of the oldest techniques of glass decorating. It has been used to great effect at Orrefors, which won prize after prize at the beginning of the twentieth century for its engraved glass, thereby firmly putting swedish glass on the map. The glass engraver gets a sketch or drawing from an artist, which he then draws onto the glass using chalk and adhesive ink. The sketch is then “fixed” with a clear layer of varnish, so that it stays in place and so that the surrounding surface is protected from the dust and emery powder solution that lubricates the engraving wheel. Orrefors´ engravers work with fixed copper wheels, which require great skill, patience and endurance of the workmen. Some of the most spectacular pieces of engraved glass, like the Parispokalen, took hundreds of hours to make. Edvard Hald and Simon Gate designed a lot of engraved glass during their time at Orrefors. Other designers at Orrefors that have created stunning examples of engraved glass are Sven Palmqvist and, to a lesser extend, Ingeborg Lundin and Olle Alberius. The latter combined very discreet but detailed engravings of figures with colours on his plates and vases.
Vicke Lindstand also designed some well-known examples of engraved glass while at Kosta Boda and at Orrefors.
You can find a comprehensive list of engravers at Orrefors here.
As you can see from the picture below, the engravings were spectacularly life-like until the smallest detail. The vase featured is a model designed by Simon Gate and dates to 1923.