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Author Topic: Letter Weights  (Read 1658 times)

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Offline KevinH

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2016, 01:06:53 PM »
Re: Reply 6 above - about the 1854 book "The World of Science, Art, and Industry ..."

At the end of page 152 is a reference to " ... the letter weights with interior clusters of flowers ...". This is in context of opening remarks leading to the descriptions on page 153 for methods (based on processes from "centuries past") of making drinking vessels, letter weights etc.

I have tried to set out in the quote below, a reduced version of parts of the page 153 text, with my own editing in square brackets:
Quote
..  ornaments of infinite variety [such as the "clusters of flowers" referred to on page 152] may be formed whose presence in letter weights has puzzled so many   fashioned at the blow-pipe table, out of the very spiral and colored rods whose origin has been already described; ... [Then] A mass of soft glass sufficient for the lower half of such a letter weight is now prepared, and upon its hot surface the colored floret or ornament is applied, while immediately another workman approaches with a second hemispherical mass of colorless glass which he applies upon the upper surface of the ornament. Thus one compound mass is produced having the ornamental glass in its centre, and after being duly fashioned, and annealed, and cut, forms the wonder which we see.

So, what is that referring to? It could be a domed paperweight having millefiori elements and possibly finished with facets. Or it could be a (larger) rectangular or circular letter weight including a mosaic pattern and finished with cut edges. And the text for "glass sufficient for the lower half" and "a second hemispherical mass ... applied to the upper surface" does not make it easy to understand what is being made.

The text is about products made in Murano around the 1850s. In those years, Murano domed paperweights were of the style of "scrambled, millefiori and filigri" set close to the surface of the dome. But that does not sound like a "compound mass ... having the ornamental glass in its centre".

So maybe it really is referring to a rectangular (or other shape) block with an internal (or centrally placed on the top) element of mosaic or millefiori.
KevinH

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Offline ahremck

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2016, 01:53:33 PM »
I wondered Flying Free what the base of your letter weight looks like.  Is it ground flat?  Polished?

Ross
I bamle all snileplg eorrrs on the Cpomuter Kyes.  They confuse my fingers !!!

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Offline flying free

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2016, 11:04:20 PM »
The word 'cut' in there also confused me, because up to that point I had, in my head,  a picture of a round glass millefiori paperweight being formed from two gobs of glass and fashioned into a round shape, with (in my head) fairly randomly placed millefiori inside it. 

At the point I read the word 'cut' I tuned out.  But I did wonder what the word 'cut' actually meant?  did it mean cut and if so are there examples of faceted round millefiori weights from that period?

m

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Offline flying free

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2016, 11:08:33 PM »
Ross, it faintly and vaguely looks as though it's turned on the wheel like a wooden piece would perhaps be ( or even pottery? and made of ceramic of some sort perhaps  (as indeed the only other two I've managed to find are advertised).

But it's extremely heavy - my other half said too heavy for pottery.  The only other thing I could think of though might have been Lignum vitae as it reminds me of bowling balls.  But I can't see that you could enamel wood, so dismissed that idea.

I don't believe it's glass simply because the base does not look  like the two pieces of Hyalith (Hyalite (sic) as it has been referred as in contemporary early 19th century descriptions) I have.

m

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Offline ahremck

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2016, 11:41:46 PM »
Hmm!  Flying Free it sounds very similar to the query I had back in 2010 which was declared a linen smoother at the time.

http://www.glassmessages.com/index.php/topic,31506.msg170583.html#msg170583

My problem with that description lay in the fact that a number painted on the base looked really fresh, and I would suppose a linen smoother would show signs of substantial wear.  It has a very shallow "spiral" to the base and its general outline is very similar to yours.

I have always thought it would be an excellent document weight.

Ross
I bamle all snileplg eorrrs on the Cpomuter Kyes.  They confuse my fingers !!!

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Offline flying free

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2016, 11:48:57 PM »
yes Ross, one and the same except mine has gilded bands on it.

I didn't think mine was glass because there is a tiny nick on it and it looks as though it is stone or pottery inside the nick.
Yours also has a nick but it seems has only nicked the enamel so it still looks like glass ...presumably because the enamel is glass.
I had thought mine was either c.1860s or c. much earlier in the 19th. 

I did investigate linen smoother as my first port of call but couldn't match it. 

I really wanted it to be a glass linen smoother  :D when I bought it, but sadly haven't managed to pinpoint it either as glass or a linen smoother so far ... or the date.

Thanks so much for pointing yours out.  I'll do some more investigating.

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Offline flying free

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2016, 11:51:56 PM »
Ross, this is the Corning's version - c. 1800-1825 (so I was close on my early possible date).  I'd not come across that one in the Corning before but that might be because I used a search term not including the word glass.
Oddly the little scratches on it look just like the little scratches I'd noticed on mine (they caught my eye for some subconscious reason).

http://www.cmog.org/artwork/linen-smoother


I'll add some further pictures tomorrow for comparison.

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Offline flying free

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2016, 11:58:07 PM »
ooh actually the 'stone' like bit inside the nick looks like the stone coloured bits in this one
http://hctcollections.org.uk/index.asp?page=item&mwsquery=(%7Btotopic%7D=%7BThreads%20through%20time%7D)&filename=HMCMS&hitsStart=29
That's extremely interesting.
I'm hopeful now :)

Thank you for prompting me to look more closely.
m

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Offline ahremck

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2016, 01:13:37 AM »
Have you had a look at the Google Images for linen smoother's Flying Free?

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=Linen+Smoother&espv=2&biw=1745&bih=943&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjZn7_o4JnNAhVnE6YKHf6JCvAQsAQIGg#imgrc=_

It strikes me that all of the examples shown, that are complete, have handles large enough for the whole hand to grasp.  That would mean they could exert pressure using the arm rather than just the fingers - which to my mind makes a lot of sense.  After all you don't use an iron with just the first two or three fingers - rather the hand and the arm provides the pressure.

I reckon your item is a letter-weight and so is mine.  They would be simply moved into position with the first 2 or 3 fingers of the hand and pressure would be provided by their own weight.

Ross
I bamle all snileplg eorrrs on the Cpomuter Kyes.  They confuse my fingers !!!

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Offline KevinH

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Re: Letter Weights
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2016, 11:14:12 AM »
I think the point about the height of the handle may be a key issue.

Most of the examples of "linen press" I have seen in literature or online had a handle with multiple bulbous bits ("knops"). And the CMOG & Hampshire Trust examples linked to above both show cracked parts indicating at least one more section to the handle.

But ... ??
KevinH

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