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Author Topic: Uranium Match Holder c. 1886, HEAD OF LION  (Read 351 times)

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Offline mrvaselineglass

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Uranium Match Holder c. 1886, HEAD OF LION
« on: February 16, 2011, 04:43:54 AM »
I might buy 6 -10 pieces of glass a year, but most of the time, they are pieces that for the right price, I will part with them.  However, maybe once a year, a piece comes along that defines the reason why I collect  -> "that rare piece that I have never heard of before".  This piece was recently for sale on ebay.fr.  I did about 4 hours of digging through reference materials and looking everywhere I could for something that might give a lead as to who made it.  I finally found it in one of the back issues of PRESSGLAS-KORRESPONDENZ.  The issue had an original catalog page from Bayel & Clairey, France, 1886.  Bayel merged with Clairey in 1881 and the catalog page had novelty toothpick holders and match holders on it.  This piece is called HEAD OF LION and it is 3 1/4" tall.  The top rim still has sharp edges left from the removal of the plunger.  The top rim was never fired to smooth it down.  You can see the roughness on the rim in the photo.  It is just as it left the factory.  This piece is very dense for it's size, the plunger did not go down very far, and it also has a heavy lead content.  There are 3 lions on the circumference of the piece, with a draped ribbon that separates the 3 heads.  I have a big soft spot for Victorian novelties and to find an unknown piece on ebay when the auction started and to figure out who made it before the auction ended is just one of those things we all live for!  I just wanted to share this very cool piece!  What was even more fun is that on that catalog page, there were other toothpick holders and I emailed the catalog page to a friend, and he called me right back to tell me he had another piece on the page.  He bought the toothpick holder 5 years ago and had never figured out who made it.  So, we both ended up with a win!

Mr. Vaseline Glass

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Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: Uranium Match Holder c. 1886, HEAD OF LION
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2011, 07:31:14 AM »
Well done and good work Dave  :clap: :clap: :mrgreen:

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Offline jsmeasell

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Re: Uranium Match Holder c. 1886, HEAD OF LION
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 07:01:48 PM »
Very attractive item and good detective work on its attribution.

That excess glass at the top is what we call "press up." It results when glass is forced upwards by the plunger and pushes the mould ring upwards a bit. It's hard to gather and drop just the perfect amount, especially for a small item like toothpick or s/p shaker. Incidentally, when similar excess glass is found along the vertical mould joint marks, we call that "press out" (I've heard collectors call this "fins" in England). Press out happens when mould joints get a bit loose over time and use.

I suspect this item was intended to be "pressed to shape" during production and sent right to the lehr, not to be fire polished. To do so, you'd need to snap it up, and the subsequent warming-in at a glory hole would likely melt over pattern detail and/or burn out some color. The excess glass is best removed in cold metal operations by an abrasive belt or cone. At the time an item like this was being made, press out and press up didn't not seem to be a concern, as I've seen many pieces with one or both! 

 
James Measell, Historian
Fenton Art Glass Co.

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