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Author Topic: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840  (Read 810 times)

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Offline neilh

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Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« on: September 28, 2010, 07:08:09 PM »
Here is the earliest item from the Molineaux Webb pressed glass catalogue. These plates were numbered in order of production. By the time the catalogue was produced circa 1870, plates 1,2,3 had gone but plate 4 was still in production.

This one is going to be particularly controversial because it can be seen on the front cover of Raymond Notley's slim Shire book on glass, and is described within as an American lacy plate. This was probably due to Ruth Webb Lee including this design in her books on American glass, but here we have it sitting in the Molineaux Webb catalogue.

Even better, I have acquired two of these though eBay, and one of them is an extremely early primitive pressing. I believe it to be one of the earliest pressed pieces in the UK which can be attributed to a glass works. This plate 4 design was probably moulded circa 1835 and this particular pressing can't be too much after that.

If you look at the photos there are 4 signs of its early date. Firstly, the lacy pattern, on the back of the plate, fades off towards the bottom, a sign of a poor quality pressing. Secondly, it is possible to stand the plate up on one of the frills. The frill at the bottom is not chipped - it's another pressing fault. Thirdly, the thickness of the glass, seen in the edge on shot, indicates it is early.

Last and most interesting, there are six press marks around the bottom of the bowl where the glass has been "squeezed" in the pressing machine. I have never seen this type of mark on any other piece of pressed glass. It's a bit difficult to see in the photo - I have arrowed it.

Opinions welcome... 

Offline yesvil

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Re: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 07:15:06 AM »
Lovely plate Neilh - Thank you for sharing :thup:

Offline David E

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Re: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2010, 07:28:46 AM »
An excellent find! I do have the Notley book somewhere, but I wonder if there was some copying of designs going on, hence the reason for it being also identified as US glass?

Regarding the 'press marks' do you mean the mark that results from when the gob of glass is sheared off? This can leave [what is sometimes called] a 'straw mark'.
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Offline mhgcgolfclub

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Re: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2010, 08:15:01 PM »
Hi Neilh

Nice plate, I bought the exact plate 2 or 3 years ago from a carboot , I have the Notley book and thought it was USA made lacy glass by someone like Boston and Sandwich, I think I may have sold mine .

I do find lacy salts occasionally which I always thought to be USA , make you wonder if some may have been early English.

Well done keep up the good work


Offline neilh

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Re: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 07:12:18 PM »
I am about to redirect someone to this post from another thread so just to add a little further info.

I got a bit carried away in my above note saying there were "six press marks around the bottom of the bowl" - having looked at it more recently it only has two, and I'm not sure how to interpret them really... could just be another manufacturing fault.

I also forgot to mention that this plate is fleabitten to death. Having recently read more of the literature on these early plates it sounds like many of these faults were caused by impurities in the mixture. According to Ruth Webb Lee, too much soda in the mix produced the kind of pitting that I have on my plate.

Early plates can also be tinted due to too much iron (green) or too much manganese (amethyst) or because the mould was not properly cleaned out after the previous pressing of a coloured item.

Offline neilh

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Re: Molineaux Webb - pressed plate made circa 1840
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 07:24:13 PM »
Something else worth saying...

There was only one other big cup plate / toddy in the MolWebb catalogue - plate 5. I have yet to see an example of it in the flesh, but I've spotted one in the literature which is very close, or possibly identical to it.

It can be seen in "American and European Pressed Glass in the Corning Museum of Glass" by Jane Shadel Spillman. Go to page 41, item 66, and you will see a bowl described as "New England or possibly England" dated circa 1830 to 1835

Or... just noticed...  look at the image on their website!

Compare to MW catalogue image - looks pretty close to me...


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