… to the inventor of them:
Before George Ravenscroft’s invention of lead glass in London in about 1677, most quality drinking glasses used in Britain were fragile luxuries imported from Venice, or made in England in the Venetian style in glasshouses often run by glassmakers from the continent. Ravenscroft’s formula using lead oxide instead of soda produced a new type of glass which was brilliantly clear and strong, and much more like rock crystal than ‘cristallo’, the Venetian soda glass.
The physical attributes of lead glass together with changes in fashion meant that glassmakers began to produce a more simple style of drinking glass, with straight-sided funnel shaped bowls, robust stems with plain baluster shapes, and large feet for stability.
(Hat-tip to Sundries.)