Author Topic: Is it a salt or a piano rest...?  (Read 1972 times)

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Offline Anne E.B.

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« on: August 24, 2005, 10:35:26 AM »
I don't usually buy clear glass, but couldn't resist this little piece because it looks so elegant.  My first reaction was that it looked Georgian - but that is just a wild, uneducated guess.  I thought it might be a salt at first, but later thought it might even be a piano rest as it is quite chunky, although the recess is oval shaped not circular.  It measures 3" long x 2.25" wide x 1.75" high.  I'd be interested to hear what people think about it. :P  Many thanks :lol:

http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/glassie/base2006.jpg
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/glassie/base.jpg  Base.
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y195/glassie/base2005.jpg  Interior.

Regards - Anne E.B. :lol:
Anne E.B


Offline David E

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2005, 10:58:26 AM »
Hi Anne,

As it's rectangular I would say it isn't a piano rest. These often seem to be circular with smoother sides.

But an interesting piece and I wonder whether the "base" is actually the base IYSWIM!
David
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Offline Ivo

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2005, 11:45:53 AM »
I vote salt
Ivo
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Offline Anne E.B.

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2005, 12:26:44 PM »
Thanks Ivo.  I was half hoping it was some highly unusual piano (or other furniture) rest.  But I've double checked the recess, and there are no signs of wear, so I'm now with you on the salt.

Quote from: "DenCill"
Hi Anne,

As it's rectangular I would say it isn't a piano rest. These often seem to be circular with smoother sides.

But an interesting piece and I wonder whether the "base" is actually the base IYSWIM!


A good point David, it wouldn't be the first time I've got things the wrong way round. :roll: (recent black plinth mistake :oops: )  However, there is considerable wear to the base, and the top is smooth and shiny, so it appears the recess is uppermost and has been used that way.

Any thoughts on age and origins?  Am I being too optimistic in my wild guess at Georgian?  It appears quite old and looks as though its seen a bit of service.

Regards - Anne E.B.
Anne E.B


Offline Bernard C

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2005, 03:38:22 AM »
Anne — I agree with Ivo, a salt, also sometimes known as a low salt, to distinguish it from a pedestal salt or a pourer.

It is obviously pressed glass, but some of the surfaces could be cut, difficult to tell from photographs.   I reckon late C19 – early C20.   Difficult to attribute, but Sowerby, PV and M&W would be among the front runners in a large field.   Sowerby's Pattern book XI, second edition, Jan 1888, shows 13 cut and 74 moulded salts, none obviously exactly like yours, although it is difficult to be certain as my multi-generation photocopy is a bit rough around the edges.

As for piano rests, I always understood that glass is an extremely good conductor of sound, David.    

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


Offline Anne E.B.

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2005, 10:09:14 AM »
Quote from: "Bernard C"
Anne — I agree with Ivo, a salt, also sometimes known as a low salt, to distinguish it from a pedestal salt or a pourer.

It is obviously pressed glass, but some of the surfaces could be cut, difficult to tell from photographs.   I reckon late C19 – early C20.   Difficult to attribute, but Sowerby, PV and M&W would be among the front runners in a large field.  

Bernard C.  8)


Many thanks Bernard - you are a star :wink:  You've given me more than a great starting point for further research!   I was a bit out on the Georgian period.  I just assumed that because it has a classical design, and is not ornate/florid like Victorian style, that it was most likely Georgian.  However, it is still the oldest piece of glass that I have.   What stories it could tell!    My "low-salt" was for people "above the salt"   obviously :lol:

I'm not sure how to tell the difference yet between pressed/moulded and cut glass, but I presume that you are referring to the base when you say some surfaces may be cut?  I've looked at the base closely and the cuts do not seem uniformly regular in shape or width.  Is that an indicator of whether they could be cut?

Kind regards - Anne E.B.
Anne E.B


Offline Bernard C

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2005, 12:06:12 PM »
Quote from: "Anne E.B."
I'm not sure how to tell the difference yet between pressed/moulded and cut glass, but I presume that you are referring to the base when you say some surfaces may be cut?  I've looked at the base closely and the cuts do not seem uniformly regular in shape or width.  Is that an indicator of whether they could be cut?

Anne — An attempt to clarify:-

Most of the glass relevant to us is cut in one way or another, in fact, the only glass items I can see from this PC that are not cut are a Pyrex measuring jug, a Marmite jar, a milk bottle, a pavement light, and a Davidson dome flower block (and I had to check the dome, because sometimes they are cut, to level them up).   All the handmade art glass I have on the shelves behind me — Webb, S&W/RB, Walsh, and Nazeing — have ground out pontil marks, so are technically "cut".   All the rest of the pressed glass and the handmade Frank Thrower avocado set has either a cut rim or base.  And the rest is traditional cut glass.

If you divide the manufacturing processes up into hot processes that take place before the glass goes through the annealing oven or lehr, and cold processes that take place afterwards, it makes all this a lot clearer.   There is no relationship between the two, and any combination of hot and cold processes are possible.   So press-moulding, blowing with or without the assistance of one or more moulds, centrifugally spinning, altering the shape with formers, lampwork, iridizing, etc. are all hot processes, and can be combined with any cold process such as cutting to tidy up and/or decorate, enamelling, gilding, acid-etching, sand-blasting, etc.

And, to make life more complicated, a few objects go through this process again!   For example, if you found an iridized bowl with a cut base that was also iridized, you would know that it had been re-heated after cutting, and, in effect, gone round a second time for iridizing.

Sowerby's classification above (13 cut and 74 moulded salts) is confusing.   All their salts were press-moulded, many also cupped with formers.   I suspect that all their salts were cut to tidy them up.   What Sowerby meant was that 13 were decorated by cutting, the other 74 were either undecorated or mould-decorated.

The only parts of your salt that are definitely the original moulded surfaces are the inside ribbed base depression and the inside where the salt goes.   All the other surfaces, including the chamfers around the edge, could have been cut.   On glass this old look for a mirror-like surface that shows slight striations in the direction of rotation of the cutting wheel or disk.   Sadly, on glass produced in recent years it is not so easy.   I recall a few years back looking at some Jasper Conran Stuart cut crystal in John Lewis, and being horrified to find all these lovely cutting marks had been removed by intensive acid-polishing.   I don't know why.   Not only does it remove the unmistakeable signature of hand-cutting, but these striations help to break up the light when it falls on the piece, giving it added sparkle.   I try to avoid such glass as I cannot help but think of it as defective, which makes selling it to clients who trust my judgement something of a problem.

Please let me know if you find my explanation confusing.

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


Offline David E

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2005, 12:13:44 PM »
Quote from: Bernard
And, to make life more complicated, a few objects go through this process again! For example, if you found an iridized bowl with a cut base that was also iridized, you would know that it had been re-heated after cutting, and, in effect, gone round a second time for iridizing.

Indeed and well described. Glen also recently helped me when trying to define the differences in the base of Carnival Glass – see this topic thread:
http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,2266.0.html
David
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Offline Anne E.B.

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2005, 12:58:14 PM »
Thank you so much Bernard for taking the time to explain about pressed and cut glass.  I found your comments to be informative and very helpful.

I really must learn to look :shock:  far more closely at pieces of glass.  I hadn't noticed that the top and the bottom had chamfered edges.  I've used an eye glass to look closely at these edges and can see minute lines/striations appearing to be in one direction, but I am unable to see these with the naked eye.  I can see these clearer on the bottom edge using the lens.  These edges certainly catch the light better.

I think what I personally need to do, is to visit a glassmaker and watch how pieces are made, and talk to them about the process.  I'm heading down to Falmouth in a couple of days and have discovered a local glassmaker in Penryn, so hopefully will be able to visit.  He makes beautiful vessels decorated with stormy seas.  If I am able to take some pics. I will post them when I return.

Back to the salt, I've just found some small old silver spoons which I suspect are for salt and/or mustard, so have no excuse to not use it now, rather than being consigned to a box with all the other oddities that I am prone to buying.

Kind regards - Anne E.B. :lol:
Anne E.B


Offline Bernard C

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Is it a salt or a piano rest...?
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2005, 01:01:53 PM »
Anne — Salt spoons have round bowls, mustards pear-shaped, if you have a choice.   At least that was and is the convention in the UK.   Is it so worldwide?

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

 

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