The market has changed, Chuck Kusak says, and hand engraving is a dying breed. Since the building has been sold, Kusak Cut Class Works will have to close.

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Kusak Cut Glass Works is world-renowned for its hand-cut glass and crystal stemware.

It also makes glass awards and recognition pieces, which CEO Chuck Kusak hopes his daughter will be able to continue. But the free-hand stone wheel engraving that produced works of art will end.

The market has changed, Kusak says, and hand engraving is a dying breed. Since the building has been sold, the business will have to close.

The business was started by Kusak’s grandfather, Anton Kusak, in 1914. He came to the United States, a Moravian/Czech master crystal engraver in 1910, and a few years later ended up settling in Seattle with his young family.

When fishing on the Olympic Peninsula, he saw a beautiful flower and drew its pattern on a tablecloth. He later engraved the design onto a piece of crystal and called it Jasmine. It is still the company’s signature pattern.

Tens of thousands of pieces with the pattern have been sold all over the U. S. The now 99-year-old lathes and stones he used are still what Kusak’s engravers use today.

This is the Jasmine pattern that Anton Kusak came up with when fishing on the Olympic Peninsula in 1919 and is Kusak Cut Glass Works’ signature pattern.  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)
This is the Jasmine pattern that Anton Kusak came up with when fishing on the Olympic Peninsula in 1919 and is Kusak Cut Glass Works’ signature pattern. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)

Chuck Kusak has worked for the company since he was 13. Other employees have been there nearly 50 years.

Customers have written a few comments in a guest book since hearing about the closing.

“Since I discovered Kusaks in 1993, you have been my favorite place to shop. No online, no big box, no boutique will replace you. I will miss the glass and the class.”

Another … “Your cut crystal and art glass is so beautiful…However, it has been you, the people of Kusak Glass that have made it all magical.” And a third … “Coming to Kusaks was always a special occasion. I will miss you forever.” And finally … “Thanks for keeping this great family business going for over a century. Smooth sailing with a following sea.”

Kusak’s plans to shut down in late April or early May.

A retirement and inventory reduction sale is going on.

“The second nicest thing about Kusaks is our crystal,” says Kusak.

“The first nicest thing is our customers. That’s what I’ll miss the most. It’s just so sad to say goodbye.”

Kusak Cut Glass Works owner Chuck Kusak stands in the showroom of his Seattle store.  (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)
Kusak Cut Glass Works owner Chuck Kusak stands in the showroom of his Seattle store. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times)