Author Topic: What is missing from this old amber object?  (Read 876 times)

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Offline Bernard C

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What is missing from this old amber object?
« on: October 02, 2005, 11:33:22 AM »


Click images to enlarge.   The scale is in centimetres.

This rather beautifully made utilitarian amber glass object was unearthed by an excavator driver working close to the old Roman Watling Street in Northamptonshire.   Sadly there is a clean break at the top, so what is missing was probably in the excavator's previous bite.

Paul Woodfield, local archaeologist, brought this round to me yesterday, and asked my opinion.   It shows light iridescence from being buried for a long time.   Its location suggests a date of between early Roman and modern.   It looks to me as if it was blown while being rotated in an opening two-part lubricated wooden mould, like those I have seen in Murano and in use by Okra, as it is nicely symmetrical.   I am not sure about the circular mark on the base; it is not what I know as a pontil mark, as within the ring it is the original blown surface.   The glass is a good clear amber, reasonably free of imperfections (I recall Adam Dodds' words: "A lot of the earlier amber was made using horse manure as the colouring agent.").   The handle is a nicely made "pump" handle, as defined by Hajdamach, which dates it to the 19th century or earlier.   Hajdamach (p.274 and note the typographical error in centuries) gives the date of introduction of "dab" handles as 1867.   The join at the base of the handle was rather poorly finished, with a little surplus glass twisted to one side.

So — what is it, what was it used for, and how old is it?   Is it British or imported?   And what is missing from the top?

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


Connie

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What is missing from this old amber object?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2005, 12:11:32 PM »
Bernard - It looks like finger lamp and the only thing missing is the collar and burner.  I don't think that top is broken, it was just never finished since a brass collar went over the top.


Offline Anne

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What is missing from this old amber object?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2005, 03:14:03 PM »
Bernard I agree with Connie's suggestion that it looks like a lamp. I have a collection of oil lamps (mine are mainly metal bases not glass) but they look very similar in style to this glass one. There would have been a metal collar which would cover the rather rough looking neck so it did not need to be well-finished as it was not normally seen. There would then be a chimney supported on the metal collar. If you go to Google and enter "finger oil lamp" and search for Images you'll see quite a few similar pieces.  HTH :)


Offline Bernard C

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What is missing from this old amber object?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2005, 02:13:54 PM »
Connie & Anne — grateful thanks.   It is so obvious when you know, isn't it!

Anne — You will be amused to know that I had some trouble with "HTH".   The best of my wildly inaccurate guesses was "Helvellyn Tops Hardknott", particularly suitable I thought for someone from Wordsworth country (the poet, not the real ale).   ... reminds me of my student days in the '60s when I did the Hardknott in my battered old 100E converted van with a knackered clutch, in reverse with everyone else pushing!   We did all the peaks in less than two weeks, and we weren't even trying.

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


Offline Anne

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What is missing from this old amber object?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2005, 02:55:56 PM »
Quote from: "Bernard C"
Connie & Anne — grateful thanks.   It is so obvious when you know, isn't it!


:)

Quote from: "Bernard C"

Anne — You will be amused to know that I had some trouble with "HTH".   The best of my wildly inaccurate guesses was "Helvellyn Tops Hardknott", particularly suitable I thought for someone from Wordsworth country (the poet, not the real ale).   ... reminds me of my student days in the '60s when I did the Hardknott in my battered old 100E converted van with a knackered clutch, in reverse with everyone else pushing!   We did all the peaks in less than two weeks, and we weren't even trying.Bernard C.  8)


I'm sure that you know now, Bernard, that HTH = Hope this helps. :) It gives away my newsgroup origins where such TLA's (three letter acronyms!) are/were in common use. ;)

The idea of going over Hardknott with such a clutch sounds a little hairy! It's some while since I went along that road. Although it's not the worst road in the Lakes for sure... it pales beside the road up Martindale on the far side of Ullswater, which we explored one day after finding a property which was available at the very top of the valley. The climb up was hairy, coming back down really scary! The idea of trying to get a furniture van up that road with all its hair pin bends and sheer drops put us off the idea of moving there! It was the sort of place that could easily get snowed in for months over the winter.  :shock:  Shame, as the views were spectacular!  8)

 

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