Who we are
Hello, I'm Ryan, owner and glass artist here at Luscious Playthings. We are a cottage company dedicated to offering the finest adult glassware in the world! I've been working in the art glass community since 1998, and was right there on the front lines when glass sex toys were first introduced to the market. The non-porous, super smooth properties of borosilicate glass lended a well-received attribute over its rubber, plastic, and silicone predecessors, and also brought with it a more artistic value which piqued the interest of customers not only to the product, but to the world of glass art.
I had been working in the contemporary tobacco pipe industry as a ceramicist, and when hand-blown glass pieces started to emerge on the scene, an instructor was quickly called in to teach me the fundamentals of this new and exciting medium so the company I was working for could stay on the cutting edge of the paraphernalia business. I learned very quickly and was making basic catalog items within weeks. Shortly after, the first borosilicate glass sex toys were introduced - but were met with much skepticism. That is, until they were featured on an HBO special (HBO Real Sex S1 E27) that explained in detail their manufacturing and safety testing procedures which were masterfully executed by the talented scientific glassblower, Dave Sager. This program reassured the public that these new, intimate glass products were not only very admirable and pleasurable works of art, but they were also undeniably safe to use...even demonstrated by driving over them with a car!
So the gates were opened to an entirely new material in the adult novelty industry, and being the sexual deviant that I am...I was eager to be a part of it. I left the company I had been working for and began making my own lineup of products, which were relatively small due to the size torch I was using, but nonetheless attractive - and effective. My then exotic dancer girlfriend and her band of bisexual cohorts became my first research & development team, letting me know which designs were most beneficial...and the word of my newly attained skill began to spread. After vending at a couple local Gay Pride festivals and educating the enormous number of customers we attracted, it was then time to take to the online community. I already had a couple pipe shop accounts that had added a sex section in one corner of their store and displayed my products there, but I also began to sell on eBay and an online sex forum. I continued to make and sell both my glass pipes and sex toys for the next few years and work directly with my customers which helped to evolve my product line, and in 2004 I joined forces with a high profile local glass sex toy company, which coincidentally was owned by a fellow glassblower who was trained by the same instructor as myself :) This turned out to be a great partnership, and in time I ended up letting go of the pipe business to focus solely on the sex toys. For 11 years we sold some of the best glass on the market - and remained the last, larger USA manufacturer. Over time though, the cheap import glass DID begin to encroach on our sales and we lost some of our retail accounts to it. Struggling to stay afloat, my partners were seeking out other opportunities in the adult novelty industry which created conflict with me, wanting to hold strong to the 100% USA handcrafted aspect of our business. 2014 brought about changes in both our companies, and a year later it was time for us to part ways. So here I am, the little worker elf behind the curtain, offering my signature adult glassware to you direct with a sexy and whimsical attitude that I hope will make your experience with us just as intimate and fun as the products themselves!
Our products are not actually blown since they are solid. Blown glass commonly refers to hollow vessels, and a different type of glass called soda-lime or "soft glass" that is manipulated in semi-molten form from a crucible furnace in the traditional Venetian style. This type glass is worked at a lower temperature, and possesses a higher coefficiency of expansion (104 COE) which makes it not react well to fast temperature changes . The borosilicate glass we work with is constituted of primarily silica sand and boric oxide, where it gets it's "boro" prefix, and is much more durable for utility purposes and scientific applications because of its lower coefficiency (33 COE). The addition of boron makes this glass stronger and more resistant to scratches and thermal shock. It comes to us in pre-formed solid rods of differing diameters and we cut it down and manipulate it with a benchtop propane/oxygen torch, which is a process known as lampworking. After shaping, the pieces are placed in a kiln for annealing. This relieves the pieces of any stress incurred from stretching, bending, gathering, shaping, welding, etc., basically realigning the molecular structure of the glass which makes it very durable and safe to use. After the annealing process, each and every piece is inspected using a polariscope to ensure that there is no internal strain remaining in the glass. This is very important, as glass stress is not visible to the naked eye! The materials we employ are of the highest quality available. Our glass is predominantly Kavalier Simax from the Czech Republic, which has been the leading European producer of borosilicate glass for more than 175 years. Its use in domestic, industrial, laboratory and technical fields is unrivaled. We also use Schott Duran glass from Germany, winners of the German Industry Innovations Award for their ultra-thin sheet glass to be used in the electronics and semiconductor industries.
Luscious Playthings began as an artisan, handcrafted goods small business, and although I plan to expand a little now that I am operating solo, I vow to maintain that boutique element and level of quality. We operate as a collective of skilled glass artists who work from our individual home-based studios. This allows more convenience, flexibility, time with family, and keeps production costs down. I am fair and pay our artisans well, and receive superb craftsmanship and loyalty in return. We're all happy to make an honest living doing what we love and staying true to our core beliefs. Many of our larger competitors have moved their production to China, India, and Mexico to keep up with demand & make more profit. This inevitably leads to an inferior product and promotes the exploitation of foreign laborers, and also contributes to a foreign economy. We're all for fair world trade, but these products demand the finest craftsmanship and safety standards, which we feel they do not receive by being made in "sweatshops" abroad.
We are also proud to offer alteration services to our customers, something that the larger companies cannot. We understand that one design or size doesn't fit everyone, as our bodies and needs vary. Working directly with our customer base for so many years has provided us with valuable information and helped our products to evolve, and we will continue to learn and grow by maintaining this open line of communication.
Our most important goal however, is SAFETY. We are working with glass here, to be inserted into your body...very sensitive parts of your body. It is crucial that these pleasure products provide just that...pleasure! I know for a fact that there are many adult glass items being sold that do not receive the level of workmanship and inspection that ours do, and they are completely unsafe. We want to educate the public on this, and hopefully convince the manufacturers that are cutting corners to step up their game and make their products safe to use instead of just focusing on the almighty dollar. If one company's product is faulty and somebody gets hurt, it effects us all. Our blog will offer information to help educate the public on this subject, including photos and video of our manufacturing process and safety testing from start to finish.