Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. > British & Irish Glass

glass lamp,lidded jars + Pointers on OLD GLASS

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I had a good day at a carboot sale today. Can anyone help identify these finds (age, origin...)?
1.I'm told that these were from a sweet shop. Are they sweet/apothecary jars? Do you think the lids are original. I have 3 of these in all, a pair and a smaller one , the lids all fit well. They have fairly rough,snapped pontils.
2.I think these jars are later in date.
3. A cut glass lamp
4. The etched mark from the lamp might just be visible. It reads  ENGLISH H.     DGE    CRYSTAL. Does this mean anything to anyone?.
5.Small cut glass. Ive no idea of the age or origin of this piece.

NICE TRAWL, David - your apothecary jars (counter jars, candy jars) seem to be all correct for 19th Century. Unable to say if they're British - I would (at the drop of a chapeau) think French because the set looks much like the tickwalled glass made by Arques at that time, but I heard rumours that Sunderland produced very similar items.  The lids are absolutely original, and quite unique that you have them all.
No idea about the lamp.
The glass looks like a sweetmeat glass.

In old glass you first look @ the specific colour. It is greyish, and does not have the green tinge of modern sodalime which would be used in recent copies (Lambert Glashütte in Germany jumps to mind). Impurities (frit from the oven roof) are a giveaway but are not a condition - seeds (from insufficient fining) are almost always present but never dominant.
Then the balance of the piece is better, and the shape is more flowing than any modern glassmaker would do.
Tool marks all over is another good sign; so are folded feet, baluster stems, feet/ stem/ bowl made seperately and assembled. Ground rims should not occur at all - rims and edges are always tool finished, unless on sunken lids. And as the glass is utilitarian, lids fit and pontil marks are finished or kicked up. Tons of soft scratch on the bottom ring is the finishing touch, of course.

Impurities come in 2 sorts: black specs from the firing in open ovens (pre 1850 I think) and white specs which is material from the oven itself. Small air bubbles are called seeds, these can be circular or stretched out. The fining process is stirring the molten stuff to get the air bubbles out - the longer you stir it the clearer it gets - but there is a point where microbubbles become acceptable for standard production like bottles, barware, counter jars, storage glass etc. For the finer white glass for table use bubbles are not allowed.

Ivo - Just a couple of points.  While the clearing of seed (fining) can be helped by stirring, the most effective way is to ensure that the melting temperature is high enough to start with.  Some people, for various reasons, may choose to stir every melt.  I myself have sometimes, but rarely, had to stir in an attempt to get rid of persistent seed.  If I had to do it often, I would be saving up for a new furnace capable of a higher temperature!

Impurities (aka "stones", "salts", or "non-vitreous inclusions") can, as you say, be bits of furnace or pot.  They can just as often be bits of unmelted batch (aka "frit" or "mixed raw materials").  For example, if the mixing of the raw materials (sand etc., etc.) is not near-perfect, little balls of sand may get through the system without being intimately mixed with the other materials whose purpose is to react with the sand grains.  Result - impurities.

Adam D.

Thank you for the clarification. I find it quite hard to imagine what conditions must have been like before the closed oven, in open pots, wood fired, with inadequante control over basic material or melt temperature, and still be able to produce glass of breathtaking proportions, finish and equilibrium.

Bernard C:
David — Your lamp.   It is acid-badged ENGLISH / HARBRIDGE / CRYSTAL.    It looks okay to me, but please always be wary of mix-and-match operations on these traditionally cut table lamps.

Harbridge Crystal, Platts Works, Stourbridge dates from 1928 to the fifties, when it was taken over by Webb & Corbett.   They produced mainly traditional cut glass and blanks for other cutting workshops.   Quality, both of the blank and cutting, is always excellent; at first sight I find it difficult sometimes to distinguish it from Walsh.   In the late '30s they introduced several mildly contemporary patterns, loosely based on the new styles by such as Murray, Farquharson, and Kny.   You will find one or two illustrated in each of Dodsworth, Benson, and Benson & Hayhurst.   They seem to be fairly scarce as I have yet to find any examples of these myself.

Bernard C.  8)


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