Author Topic: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts  (Read 2264 times)

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Offline mhgcgolfclub

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Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« on: February 02, 2008, 09:59:04 AM »
I thought I put these on as they are a little different Sowerby slag glass salts, not a pattern I am familiar with, although when you first look at these you could easily confuse them with cloud glass as when you hold them up to light they are quite transparent with purple trails, both clearly marked with Sowerby trade mark, they made me think at first when I saw them slag or cloud glass
http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9152
http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9153
http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9154
http://glassgallery.yobunny.org.uk/displayimage.php?pos=-9155

roy
 


Offline jsmeasell

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2008, 04:25:18 PM »
These are number 1216 in one of the Sowerby pattern books. I note that the sides are angled. There is a similar item with straight sides that is number 1215. Both of these are shown on p. 108 of Simon Cottle's book. The slightly transparent look is due to the thickness of the glass and, to some extent, to the volatility of the opacifier ingredients for the opaque white glass.
James Measell, Historian
Fenton Art Glass Co.


Offline Bernard C

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2008, 11:39:16 AM »
Roy — What a delightful and interesting acquisition.

1. Colour.

I've not seen Sowerby malachite like this before.   I have long held the belief that Sowerby malachites were made with Opal, a soft translucent white glass, rather than the hard opaque white Blanc de Lait — a type of glass that you see, for example, used in Davidson's 1960s Marble.   It is unusual to find examples with enough white showing to be able to decide.   Your salts are strong evidence in favour of their use of Opal in malachite.

2. Cloud or malachite?

Quote from: mhgcgolfclub
... when you first look at these you could easily confuse them with cloud glass as when you hold them up to light they are quite transparent with purple trails ...

There are, to my knowledge, only three ways of mixing two colours available to the maker of pressed glass.   Mix the two colours in the pot, which then get further mixed as the gather is taken and dropped into the mould, and further mixed as the glass is squeezed around the mould, and you have malachite / slag glass / Davidson's Marble.   Float a small layer of the contrasting colour on top of the base glass in the pot, and take a gather of both, and you have cloud glass, with typical surface trails, just like your salts.   Add the contrasting colour to the gather of base glass already in the mould, and the outcome is what we now know as ribbon cloud.   Note that your salts cannot be ribbon cloud as there is contrasting colour on the underside of the bases.

So your salts are cloud glass.

However, if you define cloud glass as what Davidson and its imitators produced from 1923, then your salts are not cloud glass.

All this may answer the puzzle of where Davidson got the idea of cloud glass from.   Your salts introduce the possibility that Sowerby, the great Victorian innovator in colour and colour combinations, had already experimented with cloud glass, producing a few pieces like your salts, and that it was just such a piece (or its maker) that inspired Davidson in 1923.

3. The pattern — and a mystery.

As James has said, your flared salts are Sowerby pattern no. 1216, and the same pattern with vertical sides is 1215.   As Sowerby pattern numbers are sequential, we can date it fairly accurately by reference to patterns 1214 and 1217, which were registered on 22 March 1877 and 31 May 1877 respectively.   Pattern no. 1219 was the first of the Crane-inspired nursery rhyme pieces.   All the 1215 and 1216 salts I have seen carry the Sowerby trademark.

Now the mystery.   Your pattern was registered on 24 November 1887, registered number 87777 — actually it was 1215 that was registered, but the registration would have applied to both shapes.   This was more than a decade after its launch.   I wonder why?   Perhaps a competitor launched a similar design.   I've not yet found either shape marked with the registration number, and I usually check.

That's all I can think of, Roy.

These salts are an amazing and important find, Roy, in my not so humble opinion.   I am deeply envious.

Bernard C.  8)

Sources:- Cottle, Sowerby - Gateshead Glass;  Stewart & Stewart, Davidson Glass - a history.
Text and Images Copyright 200414 Bernard Cavalot


Offline mhgcgolfclub

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2008, 04:07:06 PM »
Thanks Bernard and James

A lot of information for me to take in, a lot of what you said is what I was thinking myself, everytime I look at the salts I see cloud glass not slag , its only from the underside they even look remotely like slag, are theyjust from one batch which went slightly wrong or the amounts of coloured glass was mixed wrong ,I suppose they were always trying new mixes, and it had crossed my mind wether cloud glass and slag glass were similar, I am still not sure if they are technically slag glass or cloud, if I were to sell as cloud glass 1887 I am sure I would get a lot of response from collectors saying no, I going to hang on to them for a while , but I hope to vist the Glass fair on the 24th and may bring them along for anyone who wants to have a closer look

 roy   


Offline Bernard C

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2008, 09:00:40 PM »
Quote from: mhgcgolfclub
... if I were to sell as cloud glass 1887 ...

1877, not 1887 when the design was registered.

Quote from: mhgcgolfclub
... if I were to sell as cloud glass ... I am sure I would get a lot of response from collectors saying no ...

Roy — you can't be serious.   Anyone who says no to this without examining all the possibilities is simply demonstrating their own stupidity.   Like you, Roy, I don't take much notice of idiots.

Quote from: mhgcgolfclub
... are they just from one batch which went slightly wrong ...

Roy — you are talking about the largest and most innovative pressed glass house in the world, with a large R&D department, constantly experimenting with new materials and methods.   Nothing "went wrong", although some experiments would have had unexpected outcomes.   This is the company that developed and had "Clutha"-style aesthetic glass in production nearly three years before Christopher Dresser is supposed to have invented it!

Bernard C.  8)
Text and Images Copyright 200414 Bernard Cavalot

Offline Glen

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2008, 10:29:56 AM »
We have a Sowerby boat (salt) in their #1921 suite (date of introduction 1886) that is "sort-of" malachite, but also semi-transparent. It's teal blue with white swirls, but it's not opaque. Photos here:

http://www.geocities.com/carni_glass_uk_2000/Sowerby_1921_Boat.html

Glen
Just releasedCarnival from Finland & Norway e-book!
Also, Riihimki e-book and Carnival from Sweden e-book.
Sowerby e-booksthree volumes available
For all info see www.thistlewoods.net
Copyright G&S Thistlewood

Offline Sid

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2008, 05:48:15 PM »
Hello:

Here is an example with the vertical sides with the registration mark:

http://www.stylendesign.co.uk/classic/G202.html


Offline mhgcgolfclub

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2008, 08:48:01 PM »
Thanks for all your replies and Sid for the link to the Sowerby pattern 1215, I agree they are similar but also totally different, mine on the 1216 have tapered feet / pillars narrower to the base than the top, the sides are smooth and not ribbed like the 1215, while the base is also different the 1216 with a concaved base and the 1215 with petal style base.

Bernard you said you thought that they were an important find, is there any way you think they should be properly photographed and a record of them for future reference, as when I do decide to sell them any records of them may be lost forever

roy

Offline Sid

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 01:16:57 AM »
Hello:

I think that Sowerby's 1949 salt is a match for the example with the registry mark not the 1215 salt.  Perhaps the vertical ribbing was an essential element of the No. 87777 design registration.  But again until somebody goes and actually gets a copy of the registration documents, we are speculating.  A comprehensive digitization of the registrations with online access similar to what the US Patent Office has done would be an awesome project that would advance collective glass knowledge immensely.

Offline Bernard C

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Re: Sowerby Slag Glass Salts
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2008, 09:27:52 AM »
Quote from: Sid
... Perhaps the vertical ribbing was an essential element of the No. 87777 design registration. ...

Sid — It was.   Thompson clearly distinguishes between text taken from the registration application and observations made from the accompanying illustration, enclosing the latter in round brackets or parentheses ().

Her description of registration 87777 reads:-
Pattern of salt (hexagonal with mitres)

Thompson is also quite specific about the two types of decoration, consistently using "mitres" for the zigzag profile and "gadroons" for a series of semicircles.

So the 1887 87777 registration is of no relevance whatsoever to Roy and his salts.   I wonder why Simon Cottle made this error.   I suggest those with a copy of his book pencil in a correction on page 106.

It is hardly surprising that I never found a 1215 or 1216 carrying this registration number!



Glen — There are two published photographs of 1215 salts in my reference books.   One, in colourless flint, is in Thompson, p.55.   The other, in a malachite colour combination not dissimilar to your boat, is in Cottle, p.58, which also indicates to me an early date for the boat.   If you still have your pencil handy, note that the captions of the two illustrations on this page have been exchanged.



Roy — Thanks for your interest in making the information on these important Sowerby salts available in some way.   Your existing photographs are fine, but could easily be improved by taking a set from a variety of angles with a white background in daylight in a light tent to eliminate distractions, a duplicate set with a black background, and another set with a grey background.   My own experience is that the more the better, as you can never tell which photographs are best going to show the surface nature of the cloud effect.   Obviously keep to the finest quality setting on your camera (maximum file size) so that enlargement is not compromised.

I would offer to help at Cambridge, but my light tent is too big and unwieldy, and there are too many distractions.  I like it nice and quiet when taking photographs, and I have to be in the right mood!

Do you own a light tent — or, if not, do you know someone near you who does and would be willing to help?

I would be willing to help produce a web page if OK with you.

Bernard C.  8)
Text and Images Copyright 200414 Bernard Cavalot

 

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