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lead glass

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Mike M:

And also the colour.....

it gets very complicated but in simplist form

lower lead more yellow
higher lead more blue

not unlike the difference between standard artificial light and flourescent



'Pinging' a glass will only tell you about its pinginess - due to shape and thickness of the glass.

Being serious this time!
A couple of facts found at random, Lead-oxide glass invented in 1673 by George Ravenscroft,
used the addition of red lead(lead oxide) increased the working life and density of glass.
Main ingredients are 3 parts silica 2 parts red lead and 1 part potash, plus saltpetre, arsenic
and borax.
Lead glass sometimes referred to as flint glass because early example used silicaa derived
from English flints, rather than Venetian pebbles. It has a distinctive Grey tone and is much
heavier than soda glass.

Hope this helps a bit.
Andy :)

Flint is also used as a term for soda glass... so never assume.

Soda glass of fine quality will also ring. Monart which is know for its thunk, also throws up the occasional melodious chime. Again, all such hints are part of the arsenal of the collector, none of them are definitive....

See also this message from Sept 2004:,342.0.html

Regarding the Ravenscroft "invention", there are some folk who suggest that the "glass of lead" of those times was "invented" by another person! Also, lead oxide was, apparently, used in glass long before the time of Ravenscroft. It was the amount of lead oxide included that was the crucial factor.

I am fascinated by Mike's comments: "lower lead more yellow; higher lead more blue". I can understand that this may well be true. But, bearing in mind the different colour perceptions of peoples' eyes (or brain), and the fact that women and men generally see colour slighlty differently, how many of us can actually see, or make sense of, the difference in shades of glass with lead oxide? Or is it only in the extremes of "yellow" and "blue" that we could all agree on a difference? Could we be in danger of getting into discussions akin to the "blue tint of Irish glass" as happened in the 1920s :)


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