Author Topic: Strange "paperweight" (?)  (Read 2636 times)

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Offline Wuff

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2007, 02:51:52 PM »
I would suspect that this is almost certainly another alternative style of Battery Rest insulator, the ability to move would allow absolute evenness in support if four of these were used, one on each corner.

Thanks for your comment - but the levelling will only work for a single "levelling device", not for several (three or four): the overall height of the device will be fairly independent of the position of the top part - so if the "table" is slanted, the plane defined by the tops of several "levelling devices" will still be slanted (just a bit differently).

Sad it got damaged as it is probably of great rarity and possibly substantial monetary value. The rarity is likely to make the damage not too important.

The images above were taken to show the item and explain the function, not the damage - which unfortunately is pretty bad:
(http://www.seelentags.de/pw/sonstA0e-100.jpg) Two major parts and lots of tiny bits.

Wuff, does the domed part fit smoothly into the concave part?  I'm wondering if it is the  kind of mortar used by a chemist for grinding powders very finely?

Thank you, Lynne - yes, it fits smoothly, but I would not consider a mortar as a likely explanation: in order to be a mortar I would expect the small part to have some sort of handle integrated, not just be flat.
Wolf Seelentag, St.Gallen
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Offline Frank

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2007, 03:09:14 PM »
Battery rests http://glassian.org/Battery/index.html#B13 Usually made in two pieces but there are quite a few sites that cover these and each has unique shapes not found on the other. I came across some similarities but not an exact match.

The amount of levelling needed is slight and could be as much for the irregularities in the cast glass battery boxes as for any surface.
Frank A.
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Offline Sue C

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #22 on: June 16, 2007, 03:15:38 PM »
Wuff, could they actually be lense's? the y may have come from a casement, posibly brass, pulling the two pieces apart?


Offline Wuff

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #23 on: June 16, 2007, 04:03:51 PM »
Wuff, could they actually be lense's? the y may have come from a casement, posibly brass, pulling the two pieces apart?
I doubt that: the "base" of the small part is ground flat - doesn't look like it was ever polished, which would be the case for a lens.
BTW - what do you mean with "the y"?

Battery rests [are] usually made in two pieces. ... The amount of levelling needed is slight and could be as much for the irregularities in the cast glass battery boxes as for any surface.
That could make sense: don't level a slanting "table" but adapt to irregularities of the bottom of the battery.

Thank you all for your comments! And it's not compulsory to stop here ;D.
Wolf Seelentag, St.Gallen
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Offline Sue C

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #24 on: June 16, 2007, 06:37:08 PM »
Sorry Wuff, the y should have been "they" bad spacing , i was in a mad rush to day  :-[


Offline ian.macky

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2007, 11:37:23 PM »
I love a good "whatzit".  It's even better if the riddle is solved, however-- and alas, I can't help with this one.  It doesn't look like a battery rest to me, because (1) the glass is too fine a quality and (2) the leakage path is too short.

By (1) I mean this appears to be nice, clear, fined glass-- almost optical quality.  And it has optical shapes, so: looks like a duck, quacks like a duck.  Is it a duck?  Fining glass is an expensive step, and unnecessary for utilitarian ware like battery rests, so it was not done.  OTOH, for a glass house that ran one tank, all articles would necessarily be of the same glass.  Leftover glass from a run of "nice" product would to be used to make lesser wares; what else would they do with the extra glass?  (Sometimes they would cut a channel in the ground and try to stream leftover glass outside to a dump, which is a good way to burn down the establishment)  If a house made a batch of colored tableware, cranberry or something special, and had extra glass, they might crank out a few insulators etc with what remained (much to the joy of later insulators collectors).

Could this be part of an optical system?  Lens systems often come in several parts.  Owner states it's not a very good magnifier, but not sure if that applies to one of the two parts, or the two parts combined?

By (2) I mean insulators leak current over their surface, so the shortest-path distance from the object to be insulated (battery jar, wire, etc) to the ground point (usually the bottom) is increased by the addition of ridges, sleeves, etc, which this item does not have.

Am reminded slightly of "piano insulators" (which are acoustical insulators, not electrical).  Here's one of my whatzits that is embossed "SNYDER's PATT. ELECTRIC INSULATOR" but I have no idea what it is.  It strongly resembles a piano insulator, yet is clearly says ELECTRIC and has an embossed lighting bolt so that's unambiguous:

(http://glassian.org/Gallery/snyders.jpg)

I'm dubious about battery jars etc that aren't plumb.  In the age of battery jars, they were of heavy glass with lead plates, a very weighty situation, so keeping things plumb would be very important.  On a ship, which is moving, tilting constantly, I'm not seeing how this would work.  Might as well just make things plumb there too-- when the ship's in motion, nothing will be plumb all the time, so why not go with the simplest solution?

Could the two parts be unrelated?  I've gotten two-part things before, where the two items are definitely NOT related, just that over the years whoever owned them figured out that they happened to fit, so married them.  This lid on that jar, etc.  The little thing fits the big thing, but that doesn't necessarily make it an original pairing.

Quite a shame about the packing.  I've given up on common sense (which isn't), and people saying they will pack "well", and now I dictate how glass is to be packed and get their agreement before I pay.

--ian


Offline Wuff

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Re: Strange "paperweight" (?)
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2007, 07:48:40 AM »
Thank you very much, Ian, for your clear argument!

You are right with both comments on the battery rest: it's very good quality glass (very clear and only very few minute air bubbles) and the shape is not such that it increases the path length for leakage currents over a given distance (no ridges, ...).

I am pretty sure, however, that it does not belong to an optical system: my brother used to be president of the "Club Daguerre", the German collectors' club of old cameras and photographs - in his collection I have seen the oddest optical instruments, and being a physicist have tried to understand their optics as well as their mechanics. My "mystery item" just doesn't fit in there.

I also have seen bits been put together which didn't belong to each other. In this case, however, I am fairly sure they belong to each other:
1. It looks the same quality of glass - I guess I better get my (self designed) "density meter" out and confirm that both parts have the same specific gravity as well.
2. When I say the radius of curvature is identical, I mean they fit exactly, not just. OK - also this could be coincidence - but not very likely. Also, at least the seller (on his photograph) put them together differently (in a way I couldn't imagine any function) - so almost certainly he will have acquired the item as a pair already (I have asked him about the "history" of the item - but no response yet).

Conclusion: Having said this I'm fairly sure that it's function is mechanical (some sort of levelling), though likely not being moved too frequently - as this would result in scratching (and consequently in bad function), whilst the glass quality may indicate that the item is openly visible, not covered (so nobody would care how it looks).

As far as using it on a ship is concerned, I may not have been clear enough: I meant it could have been used on the ship as well - but was not specifically designed for use on a ship, as I don't see how it could react (in his levelling function) to compensate a ship's movement. So I am looking for a function on solid ground.
Wolf Seelentag, St.Gallen
Interested in any aspect of Scottish glass? Have a look at Scotland's Glass.


 

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