Notebook, 1993-


GLASS - Glossary - A List of Museums and Galleries

American - Bohemian - Chinese - English - French - Irish - Venetian

Glass Glossary - A-Co - Co-Fl - Fl-K - L-Ro - Ro-T - U-Z

Cork Glass-house, later Cork Glass-house Company. Established in Hanover Street, Cork, Ireland, 1793, as makers of plain and cut flint glass and black bottles. The firm specialized in light-weight blown-moulded hollow ware. Although heavily subsidized by the Dublin Society, such as £1,600 in 1787 and £2,304 in 1793, throughout its existence the Cork Glass-house appears to have laboured under financial instability and ever-changing proprietorship. A newly patented Donaldson Furnace was installed under a new proprietorship. This gave flint glass a clarity and brilliance never before achieved, and some outstanding handcut work was produced. The number of handcutters employed was such that they founded the Cork Glasscutters' Union.

In 1812 the firm, under the proprietorship of William Smith & Company, became the Cork Glasshouse Company. Pieces marked 'Cork Glass Co.' date no earlier than this. In 1817 steam power was installed in a final effort to survive against competition from the newly established Waterloo Glass-house. A year later, however, the glasshouse was closed.

Cork Terrace Glass-house. Established in Cork, Ireland, in 1819 by Edward and Richard Ronayne. Their productive capacity was equal to Waterford for when the firm closed in 1841 it was announced that they possessed tools and machines for forty glass cutters. They made all kinds of table glass as well as lustres and Grecian lamps , and were specialists in cut and engraved dessert services.

Corrugated handle. See Handles.

Covers. Made principally for compotes and bowls. [1] Domed: [a] low flattened usually on eighteenth-c. set-in type, occasionally individual pieces blown mainly in early nineteenth-c. U.S. Midwestern bottle-glass houses; [b] low or high round, flaring rim m, plain or folded edge; [c] low or high conical [sloping], flaring rim, plain or folded edge; [d] double, proportions of upper and lower dome varying; [2] set-in, flanged, with short, straight neck fitting inside bowl's rim so flange rests on bowl's rim; [3] set over, rare type, domed with straight-sided neck fitting over short neck of bowl and resting on moulding applied on bowl.

Cresting. Also termed bridge fluting, c. 1748-1800: an extension of faceting from the stem to bridge the junction of bowl and stem; [a] until about 1760 merely bridging the junction; [b] 1760-80 extending over the bowl base in simple designs; [c] from 1780 might extend halfway up the bowl.

Crimping. Dents or flutes impressed by a tool, usually diagonal, used on the foot or tip of handle.

Crisselling. Term applied to a process of deterioration which begins as a fine network of surface cracks. The cause is, apparently, the condensation of water on the surface of an unstable metal which dissolves some of the silicates. Were it allowed to continue, the object would eventually be destroyed, but under ordinary conditions of preservation this would take an exceedingly long time. The only way to arrest the process completely is to keep the object in an airtight, moisture-proof case, which is the course adopted by museums. Crisselling is most frequent on rare specimens of Ravenscroft glass [q.v.] made before 1676, [and probably occurs on occasional specimens thereafter], and on some Chinese glass made around 1700. In both cases the defect showed itself fairly soon after manufacture, and was overcome by modifications in the constituents of the metal employed.

Cristal-cristallerie. The word cristal does not mean only lead glass of the English type [though at times it means that], but describes fine table glass and decorative glass of all kinds. Correspondingly, cristallerie is a factory where any kind of fine and decorative glass is made.

Cristallo. The name given in Italy to clear uncoloured glass, known in England as white glass. Since the earliest times it had been the aim of glass makers to produce a glass as clear as rock crystal. Clear glass, [p. 266] cristallo, produced at Murano in the early sixteenth century - though somewhat grey and cloudy by modern standards - secured the fame of its factories throughout Europe. The decline of the Venetian glass industry dates from the time when factories in other parts of Europe, usually with the aid of Venetian craftsmen, produced a glass as clear, if not clearer.

Crown. Familiar name for a paper-weight composed of coloured canes radiating in straight lines from the top.

Crown glass. Early form of window glass; commercial product with bottles of early glasshouses.

Cruet. [1] Lipped bottle with or without handle; [2] caster bottle.

Cruet Frame. See Caster [2].

Crystal. Refers to finest colourless or clear flint glass.

Cullet. Cleaned, broken glass used in all new mixtures to promote fusion and improve quality of the metal.

Cup plate. Small plate from about 2 5/8 to 4 5/8 inches [6.7-11.8 cm] in diameter; used as saucer for cup: also used when beverage was drunk from saucer, a custom among some groups, not sanctioned by fashionable society; found mainly in inexpensive glasswares such as pressed; nineteenth century, mainly second quarter.

Cups and saucers. Made at Murano, Italy, in the 18th c., of opaque glass imitating porcelain and usually enamelled with little figures.

Cut corners. Chamfered; formed by bevelling the corners formed by the meeting of two sides, making eight planes, narrow at corners; term usually applied to square and rectangular bottles shaped in full-size piece moulds.

Cut motifs.
Diamond cutting.

Fan or escallop shell borders. The rim of the glass was cut into a series of deep arcs, each following the outline of an escallop shell. A fan was then cut with ten, eleven, or twelve flutes radiating to each arc. The extremity of each cut was notched.


Herring-bone or Blaze. Lightly cut upright or slanting lines in graduated lengths forming alterations of crests and troughs. [p. 267]

Notching. An intermittent series of nicks cut into the sharp crests of flutes.

Printies. Circular or oval concavities cut into hollow ware. These might cover the entire surface; two or three rows encircle the body of a decanter, jug, rummer, or bowl; or a single row might encircle a bowl rim.

Prismatic cutting. Horizontal parallel grooves cut in deep, sharp prisms and requiring metal of thick section for its perfect display. Fashionable 1800-20 and revived during the 1830s. Sometimes termed step cutting.

Slice or edge-flute. Flat cutting carried out by holding the glass at an incline against a rotating mitred wheel and removing a film of glass.

Split. A small angular groove.

Sprig. Three angular grooves placed to resemble a conventional arrowhead, usually found at the angles of other motifs. Late sprigs were cut more deeply than early examples.

Stars. The early radiating stars were cut with six or eight points: by the nineteenth century, twelve-, sixteen-, or twenty-four pointed stars were becoming fashionable. The Brunswick star had a considerable vogue on expensive glass: this was based on a sixteen-point radiating star with every seventh point joined. To produce this star twenty-four cuts were required; as many as seventy-two have been noted.

Step cutting. See Prismatic cutting.

Sunburst. A motif composed of closely spaced cut lines radiating from a printie or other plain hollow. Associated chiefly with Cork productions.

Vesica. A plain incised oval with pointed ends often containing an eight-pointed star. Where they join, springs are cut above and below. The vesica is usually cut, but is also found engraved and the oval filled with trelliswork. Associated chiefly with Cork productions.

Cutting. Depressions ground into the surface of glass by revolving wheels. Three fundamental types of cutting--hollow, mitre and panel cutting--are capable of producing some fifty variants of design: [a] pre-1740: edge cutting and scalloping; almost flat cutting in geometric patterns; giant diamonds and triangles in low relief; shallow slices; [b] 1740-1805: similar types of cutting with the addition of the sprig motif, fluting, stem faceting, incised zigzag, sliced motifs, and, from 1750, large diamonds double cut; [c] 1790-1803, more especially from 1805: cutting in deep relief [see below].

Cutting in deep relief. Some of the more frequent types are: [a] chequered diamond--the flat surface of a diamond in relief cut with four small diamonds; [b] crosscut diamonds or hobnail cutting--large relief diamonds each with a flat point incised with a simple cross; [c] herring-bone fringe, or blazes--a row of upright or slanting lines cut in an alternation of crest and trough; [d] printies--circular concavities ground into the surface of hollow ware; [e] prismatic or step cutting, 1800-20 and 1830-40--deep, horizontal prisms adapted to curved surfaces; [f] splits: formally arranged upright grooves; [g] strawberry diamonds from c. 18o5--the flattened point of each large relief diamond cut with numerous very fine relief diamonds.

Cyst. A round protuberance in the base of a wine-glass bowl.

Daisy-in-hexagon. Daisy-like flower within hexagon, in pattern-moulded diaper design; believed to be a Stiegel original; found mainly on pocket bottles.

English terminology generally used for shapes, but sugar loaf synonymous with mallet and semi-barrel instead of Prussian [see below]. Labelled decanters were made c. 1825-50: [a] occasionally engraved wine or with name of a spirit; [b] blown-three-mould with moulded labels in four geometric patterns and one arch. These include Wine, Brandy, Rum, Gin, H. Gin, Cherry and Whisky.

[a] 1677-1700: with loop handle and mouth expanded into an almost hemispherical funnel with spout lip and loose stopper; [b] 1677-1760 and after 1804: shaft-and-globe, near replica of the long-neck wine bottle. With a high kick to 1740; [c] 1705-30: straight-sided mallet shape; [d] 1725-50: quatrefoil body; [e] 1740-1800: shouldered decanter in two forms: narrow-shouldered with outward sloping sides, or broad shoulders narrowing towards the base: more slender of body after 1750 [1 and 2]; [f] 1755-80 and 1810-20: labelled with engraved, enamelled, or gilded inscriptions on the body [1 and 2]; [g] 1765-80: tapered body [3]; [h] 1755-1800: barrel-shaped body with shoulder and base of equal diameter, cut with vertical lines to represent staves and incised rings to suggest hoops: sometimes termed Indian club or oviform[4]; [i] 1775-1830: Prussian type, often mistermed barrel: a broad-shouldered type, sides having a greater inward slope than formerly, the lower portion encircled with narrow flutes extending halfway up the body [5]. Diamond-cut in relief from about 1790 [6]; [j] 1790-1830s: cylindrical body, cut in deep relief. Decanters of dark-blue glass were made at Bristol, [p. 268] and some of them have survived. These survivors are remarkable for the fact that each of them is decorated in gold with a simulated wine label suspended from its neck, and some are signed with the name of the maker: Isaac Jacobs [q.v.]. The decanters are of a slender form and the stoppers lozenge-shaped, which leads many people to attribute to Bristol [and to the Jacobs manufactory in particular] other decanters that are unsigned but of a comparably pleasing outline. This is understandable and convenient, but it is most probable that this style of decanter was copied in other parts of the country as soon as it became popular. Apart from the signed ones, it is extremely difficult to allocate coloured glass decanters to specific makers or even to specific localities.

The majority of Irish decanters were blown-moulded, the usual size being a quart. In lightweight metal a dozen might cost as little as nine shillings, but those of average thickness with neck rings were much more costly. The features on some marked examples are as follows:

Collins, Dublin. Have bases on which radiate carefully moulded V-shaped flutes extending to the edge. The vertical sides are encircled with narrow flutes extending halfway up the body, and the punty mark is larger than noted on other marked decanters.

Cork Glass-house Company. Prussian-shaped and mallet-shaped decanters were made by pure blowing and cut with all fashionable motifs of the period. Blown-moulded types were also made. Probably because of its bottle-making activities, decanters are characterized by their long, slender necks. Neck rings were mainly of the double-feather type, although plain triple rings, square-cut rings, and facet-cut rings were made. Stoppers of the shallow mushroom type pinched with radial gadroons were in the majority, but pinched target stopper and a conical type encircled with several ridges are found.

Blown-moulded decanters have sides only slightly off vertical. The flutes start a little above the lower rim and extend about two-thirds up the body. The shoulder is often decorated with vesica pattern.

Benjamin Edwards, Belfast. Pyriform blown-moulded decanters, bearing the name of this firm encircling the punty mark, have basal corrugations radiating to the rim, a pair of triangular neck rings, mouth slightly everted, and finished with a narrow, flat rim. The pinched stoppers are vertical, flat-sided, and impressed with trelliswork, or target type cut with a six-pointed star. Engraving encircling the shoulders consists of scrolls, swags, and stars, carefully executed. The shoulder from the lower neck ring might be encircled with wide-cut flutes.

Waterford. Those by Penrose are usually of squat Prussian shape, with three neck rings, a wide, flat mouth rim, and a mushroom stopper pinched with radial fluting and a knop below raising it above the lip. The mark is more neatly moulded than on other decanters.

Waterloo Glasshouse Company. Decanter shapes and decorations closely followed those or contemporary Waterford. The majority of marked specimens are perceptibly wider at the shoulder than the base. Flutes are longer than those of the Cork Glass-house Company. The vesica pattern was frequent: an engraved band of stars between two pairs of feathered lines and ribbon scroll engraving encircling the shoulders. It is thought that engraved circles and loops encircling the body are a characteristic feature. Neck rings usually consist of three of the plain triple variety. Stoppers were low-domed mushroom-shape pinched with radial gadrooning, often with a ball knop immediately below. Pinched target stoppers were also used. [p. 269]

A very usual type of Swedish and Norwegian glass in the 1830s and 1840s is the rectangular decanter with a short, inset neck. This was the popular brandy decanter in a period of drinking unequaled in intensity before or since in either country. Another type of Norwegian decanter is the Zirat Fladske, an ornamental decanter made at Gjövik in the 1830s, in three different shapes: [a] simple bulb-shape; [b] rectangular, with cut corners and a long neck; [c] waisted . All three models are decorated with trailing prunts and flammiform fringes in našve profusion. The waisted type has parallels in Sweden and the bulb-shaped one in England, but the origins and dates of the English versions are obscure and the connection cannot be traced.

Decanter stoppers. Rarely ground until 1745. Afterwards ground as a routine process.

Diamond. [1] Diamond diaper, blown-three-mould motif, used either in square or in band; [2] expanded diamond, pattern-moulded and expanded in process of fashioning an unformed but patterned gather into an object; in the United States three principal varieties: [a] diamond diaper [units varying in size and number in different moulds]; [b] rows of diamonds above flutes. See also Chequered diamond; [c] strawberry diamond [cross-hatched relief diamond], pressed, and cut-glass motif.

Diamond daisy. U.S. design: daisy-like flower within square diamond, in pattern-moulded diaper design; believed to be a Stiegel original; found mainly on pocket or 'perfume' bottles.

Dip mould. One-piece open-top fluted or ribbed mould, varying sizes and depths.

Dishes. In Ireland date from early in the nineteenth century, and might be circular, oval, or octagonal. Early dishes were cut with shallow patterns in relief and later with deep diamonds. Sections are usually variable; sometimes one edge will be considerably thicker than the other.

Double-ogee bowl. In U.S., bowls with sides rising in distorted S, varying widely in proportions and lengths of curves; some like Haynes pan-topped, others like his cut-topped [Glass Through the Ages]; in so-called Stiegel-type salts, often an attenuated S.

Dram glasses. Known also as nips, joeys, ginettes, and gin glasses; [a] seventeenth c.: small tumbler with four tiny feet; [b] 1675-1750: cup-shaped bowl with short, heavy knop or moulded baluster; [c] 1690-1710: straight-sided bowl of thick section on flattened spherical knop; [d] 1710-50: short, plain stem on foot attached directly to bowl; [e] 1720-1850: short, drawn-stemmed, trumpet-bowled: some early examples have folded feet.

Drinking glasses. Westropp found the following named in the Waterford papers in his possession: 'Regents, Nelsons, Masons, Rummers, Hobnobs, Flutes, Draws, Thumbs, and Dandies.' To these may be added Rodneys, Coburgs, and Thistles. These names used also in England and Scotland.

Dublin-Chebsy and Company. An Irish company which made fine table glass, at a glasshouse known as Venice, from 1784 to 1798. Between 1787 and 1793 they sold glass to the value of £37,849, receiving meanwhile premiums from the Dublin Society [Westropp]. They made the magnificent lustres for Dublin Castle in 1789.

Eagle, American. Like or derived from [1] seal of the United States; [2] U.S. coins; most common historical motif in pressed lacy glass and historical flasks, occasionally engraved on blown glass.

Edkins, Michael. Michael Edkins was a painter of pottery and of white and coloured glass. He received the freedom of the city of Bristol on 21 February 1756, but prior to that time is said to have served an apprenticeship in Birmingham. In 1755 he married Elizabeth, daughter of William James, a glass maker, and it is not unexpected that he should have turned his hand to decorating that ware. He would seem to have started to paint glass soon after 1760, and to have continued at least until 1787.

Edkins's business ledger, now in the Bristol Museum, records that he was employed by the following firms, no doubt in the capacity of a freelance worker:
1763-7 Little and Longman
1767-87 Longman and Vigor, and successors
1765 William Dunbar and Co.
1775-87 Vigor and Stephens
1785-7 Lazarus Jacobs

In the same volume are noted the low payments he received for his work, of which these examples are typical:
1762 Jan. 19 To 1 Sett of Jars and Beakers 5 in a Sett 2.6
July 26 To 1 Pint Blue can ornamented with gold and letters 0.8
1764 Oct 1 To 4 Enamell Cannisters 1.0
1770 Nov 6 To 12 Hyacinth glasses blue gilded 2.0

Michael Edkins was said by his son, William Edkins, senior, to have been 'a very good musician and charming counter-tenor singer', and to have performed on the stage both in Bristol and in London. He had a family of thirty-three children, and died about the year 1813. His grandson, also named William, formed a fine collection of pottery and porcelain, which was sold by auction in London in 1874.

The glass decorated by Michael Edkins is unsigned, and much that is claimed as his is the subject of dispute. W.A. Thorpe wrote [English Glass, 1949, p. 206] that 'Edkins is known for his characteristic perched birds and his intense curly flower-bunches'. A tea caddy in the Victoria and Albert Museum was once owned by William Edkins, junior, and is stated to have been painted by his grandfather. One of a set of Bristol Delft plates, from the same source, also in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is initialed on the back MEB [for Michael and Betty Edkins] and dated 1760.

Elstermann, Kristoffer. Of German origin, Elstermann introduced engraving into Sweden. He first appears at Kungsholm in 1698 and is mentioned in the factory records up to 1715. He died in 1721.

Enamelling. In England, white, 1720-1800; coloured, 1760-1820: [a] advertised as 'white japanned flint glass' in late 1720s; a thinly applied wash enamel in white; [b] from c. 1750, a dense, full enamel thickly applied [see Beilby, William].

End-of-day glass. Misnomer for marble glass [q.v.]

Engraving. This seems first to have been used for the decoration of glass in the sixteenth century [first recorded 1530-50]. Two methods were used [a] diamond point: patterns hand-inscribed, using the point of a diamond or graver. In England armorial work during 1720s; arabesques and scroll patterns 1725-40; spontaneous efforts of amateurs throughout eighteenth century; early Victorian revival with sporting and coaching scenes. Rare usage in the United States. [b] Wheel engraving; patterns cut into the glass surface by pressing it against the edge of a thin rapidly revolving wheel. Early wheel engraving was left matt; from 1740 it might be partially polished, the tendency to polish increasing as the eighteenth century progressed. Wheel-engraved rim borders popular from late 1730s to the end of the century: at first simple designs of intertwined scrollwork and leaf arabesques; from 1740 wider borders of flowers and foliage, daisies predominating and, from 1750, individual motifs sometimes extending the full length of the border.

Etched glass Glass decorated by biting out designs or motifs by means of acid applied to unprotected surfaces.

Ewers. These, and jugs, of Venetian glass were first made in the fifteenth century and a few survive from this period. Sixteenth-c. examples are often very elaborate. A delightful ewer in the form of a ship is in the museum at Murano. Polychrome glass flowers were occasionally applied to them in the eighteenth century. Made in English flint glass from the late 1670s.

Excise Duty. The duties levied on British glass during the eighteenth century caused much concern to the glass trade, and are supposed to have driven the makers to ornament their wares with engraving, cutting, gilding, and painting to compensate for the use of less glass in the making of any one article. A further result was the making of any one article. A further result was the widespread introduction of the coloured glass, with which the names of Bristol and Nailsea are linked.

The Act of 1745 laid down that from March 25, 1746, flint glass should pay a duty of 9s 4d per hundredweight [112 lbs], and bottle glass 2s 4d per hundredweight. Ireland was excluded from this, but more devastatingly the export of glass from Ireland was prohibited. In 1780, when the American War of Independence was harassing the British Government, Ireland asserted herself and was granted free trade: all export restrictions were abolished. Within five years glasshouses were established at Dublin, Belfast, Waterford, Cork, and Newry, all operating on a large scale and underselling English flint glass tableware, upon which excise duty had been doubled in 1777. In England, as from July 5, 1775, '. . . upon the material or metal of all Plate or Flint Glass, and of all Enamel Stained or Paste Glass 18/8d. for every hundredweight'. From May 10, 1787, the rate was raised to 21s 4 1/2d, but bottle glass paid about a fifth of this: 4s 1/4 d per hundredweight.

Irish glass making continued as a prosperous industry for forty-five years. Then in 1825, under pressure from English competitors labouring under [p. 271] a heavy excise duty of 19 1/2d a pound, the Government laid the impost on Irish glass too. Each furnace in a glasshouse was also required to be licensed at an annual cost of £20.

The duty was reduced in 1835, and finally repealed in 1845. The Irish glass trade had meanwhile rapidly declined, competing unavailingly with the glass presses installed by the English glassmen from the mid 1830s.

Eye-and-scale. Cut, blown-moulded, and pressed U.S. motif having round or oval disc or boss, plain or ornamental, at top of relief scales in vertical or swirled line, usually forming band; called horn-of-plenty in blown-three-mould glass.

Favrile glass. Name meaning 'hand-wrought' used for U.S. art glass made by Louis Comfort Tiffany [1848-1933]. See Tiffany glass.

Figures. Of Venetian glass, usually intended for table decorations and resembling verre de Nevers, were made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Those of religious subjects were probably intended for private chapels.

Filigree glass. Described as filiganati or a retorti: an improved and elaborated version of reticello [q.v.], is decorated with interweaved spirals of white, coloured, and gold threads. Glass of this type was first produced in Murano, Italy, in the sixteenth century, and seems to have remained popular ever since.

Finger bowls. In England from c. 1760: known variously as wash-hand glasses, finger cups, finger glasses until 1840. Not to be confused with wine-glass coolers. In Ireland large numbers of blown-moulded finger bowls and two-lipped wine-glass coolers were made. They are usually in clear flint glass. English examples are found in blue, purple, amethyst, red, and green. The finest were in heavy cut glass.

Finials. Cover knob, drawn or applied, usually with short stem: [a] ball; [b] ball and button; [c] plain and ribbed. Or decorative finish of plain cover knob, including [a] chicken, nineteenth-c. hen-like bird into which the eighteenth-c. 'swan' degenerated, used on nineteenth-c. pieces of U.S. South Jersey Type; [b] swan, unswanlike in having crest, in the United States similar to Continental forms, found occasionally on late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-c. glass; [c] turned with or without ornamental fins [wings].

Fire polishing. A method of processing blown-moulded ware to obliterate tool marks and produce a smooth, even surface. This gave to moulded diamonds, flutes, scrolls, arches, and other motifs smoothly defined edges easily mistaken for cut glass.

Firing glasses also known as hammering glasses. Used for thumping the table as form of acclamation. Stumpy glass with drawn bowl on thick stem and heavy, flat foot.

Flashed glass. Thin coating of coloured glass over clear glass; a ruby stain in imitation of Bohemian glass, the most popular.


NOTE: References to MARKS may refer to illustrations of these marks which are not included in this document.
NOTE: * represents a configuration not available on the computer

[L. G. G. Ramsey, F.S.A., ed. The Complete Color Encyclopedia of Antiques. Preface by Bevis Hillier, Editor of The Connoisseur. Compiled by The Connoisseur, London. New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc. 1962. Revised and Expanded Edition.]



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