The book is based on the diaries of one of the principal protagonists in the Victorian handmade glass industry, Samuel Cox Williams – the Dynasty Builder. Samuel lived near Stourbridge for forty years, founding Stevens & Williams in 1846 and building it into the most important Art Glass manufacturer in the world (it was later to become Royal Brierley Crystal). This book is principally about Samuel, his business and family life and is based on the diaries he kept from 1869-1883. It also covers the history of the firm from the end of this period up to 1998, when the family’s involvement in the business finished. The author David Williams-Thomas is Samuel’s great-great-grandson and ran the business throughout his own working life.