I recently bought this piece on Ebay purely on the basis that it was listed as bearing a diamond registration date mark for 1846, and I couldn’t recall ever seeing any piece of glass pre-1849 with a registration mark.
It is round shallow bowl or dish (just over 4cm deep) with straight sides that taper outwards and then develop into a flared rim (9.3cm top rim diameter). It has a short stem that broadens at the bottom into a short step joining the round foot (7cm rim diameter). The floor of the bowl is slightly conical, and at the centre is a conical hole (about 5mm diameter at the top and extending into the centre of the stem for about 8mm). The surface of this conical hole is roughened. The underside of the foot rim has a deeply-impressed diamond registration date mark for 26 June 1846 – Parcel 3.
The glass itself is quite thick, and there are no signs of any mould marks or seams. The whole piece appears to be either free-blown, or possibly initially mould-blown before the formation of the stem and foot. There is a small slag inclusion in the side of the bowl. The underside of the foot is slightly hollow, and there is a snapped –off pontil mark in the centre. The diamond registration mark must have been impressed with some sort of tooled stamp after the foot was finished because the stamping of rim at that point has squashed and distorted it somewhat.
There is only a single glass design registration on 26 June 1846; the registrant was Jonas Defries, Houndsditch, [London], and the RD number was 35778. The National Archives registration summary describes the subject as a Night Lamp.
Without the diamond registration mark, the piece would simply have appeared to have been something like an unsophisticated sweetmeat dish with a strange conical hole in the centre of the bowl base. There is a small conchoidal chip to the interior edge of the bowl rim, but there are very few signs of age or wear to the bowl or the underside of the foot.
I’m not at all conversant with antique glass lamps and lighting, and am not sure if this night lamp is more-or-less complete as it stands. There is no sign of any way of securely attaching a shade. Might it have had a metal stand of some kind? Did the hole in the bottom of the bowl act as some kind of attachment point for a wick? Would it have been a candle lamp, or would it have been fuelled by some type of oil?
Comments or suggestions invited. Please?