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Author Topic: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?  (Read 279 times)

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Offline neilh

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What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« on: September 27, 2022, 02:28:24 PM »
Hi folks,

I am about 6-9 months away from starting the first draft on the first of two books on Manchester glass. The plan is to write one on Percival Vickers first, and then a wider one on the rest of Manchester glass second.

This begs the question, what do you want to see?

I have asked this of a few collectors who have been helping with the book, and the most frequent response is: "Write what you like but don't charge me more than 50 quid"

So I'm starting this thread in case anybody on the GMB has any input on this matter, it could help influence the text.

By way of random factoid, I am including the image below. This shows a well known Percival Vickers registration from 1891. On the right you can see it used on a very effective light shade, I have that piece on duty in the living room as a ceiling light. On the left a piece of the same pattern which you might think was also a light shade. But it should be the other way round - it's a flower dome which was usually placed in an electroplate three legged stand.

Offline mikenott

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Re: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2022, 09:14:00 PM »
Ok. Here's a few points from me.

1. What designs were shared/stolen with other manufacturers?
2. Comprehensive list of known colours
3. What was it like to work in a PV factory?
4. What other manufacturers carried on PV designs?
5. Although costly, as many photos as possible including any adverts showing items
6. How designs changed to reflect trends e.g. high Victorian, Greek key design, art nouveau etc,
7. The process from design idea to finished product.

Realise these may not fit in with your thoughts and some are more general than PV specific, but a starter for ten!

Offline neilh

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Re: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2022, 06:48:37 AM »
Thanks Mike, that is very helpful.

To briefly address those

Are in the same ballpark and require a proper understanding of why items were registered. Few were "I've thought of this neat design". The majority were copying / following trends / innovations allowing new shapes to be made. On the design to product, there is little info from the Victorian era. The best resource for that one is poster James Measell who knows more about mould production than anyone here, he has posted some useful stuff on facebook about moulds. I have consulted with James on a few things.

Colour ranges tend to be narrow unless an item was hugely popular, like the Derbyshire lion or the Burtles Tate swan, both of which are in the region of 15 colours. Full colour ranges per item will never be known with certainty as there may be few or no survivals of rare colours. You may note from a few of my recent posts that I have viewed the spoil from the PV archaeological dig, this showed some colours which were otherwise unknown from their regular production, I will be covering that.

There are some reports of work inside a Victorian glass factory in Manchester and Warrington, though PV was not one of those covered. They tend to be concerned with government reports into child labour.

It is known that Molineaux Webb purchased the PV moulds after the factory shut.

There are few surviving adverts and 80% of them cover known registrations. I do have permission to show some catalogue images which will more than suffice. I've actually collected more unregistered pieces than registered. I showed a rather routine one in a post a while back, of an 1880s unregistered butter dish. If there is a concern on coverage, it is that about 40% of registered designs have no surviving examples. Some of these will never show, such as railway carriage lamps, or liquor barrels for pubs. It is a dilemma whether to show the original design registrations in a book, as many have been covered by Jenny Thompson and it is possible to post any of them on here with a copyright watermark. All registrations will be catalogued though, with rarity estimation and colour range where known.

Offline Lustrousstone

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Re: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2022, 07:35:39 AM »
Nothing to do with PV but books in general; if you can, get it edited and proofread by someone with excellent English skills who is prepared to challenge you (not your nearest and dearest because they won't). Professional editing is expensive (even at mate's rates) and all editing and proofreading are time-consuming but vastly improve any book. It is practically impossible to edit and proofread your own work.

Offline flying free

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Re: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2022, 11:03:57 PM »
Will probably think of other things but my instinctive reaction to all the pictures and descriptions in my books is:

 1) Where is the base photograph?

2) Please describe the rim.  Is it flat ground? polished? bevelled etc.

3) Lastly a photograph of any mark/signature on the item with a description of how it's been done i.e. enamelled? carved? molded? etc.

I find those missing descriptions and pictures vastly annoying, especially since my books have cost me a small fortune over the years.  Of course, I also appreciate that the amount of work and research in a book can be never compensated for in the selling price and I understand about number of pages and printing restrictions etc., that has a bearing on how many photographs can be included.  But still ... it drives me mad.


Offline neilh

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Re: What do you want to know about Percival Vickers?
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2022, 05:13:32 PM »
An example of the continuing work going into this. Last month I was fortunate to be given 8 crates of Manchester glass to density test and photograph from collectors in the area. Each piece was dry weighed, then wet weighed to get a density value, then photographed for the book. Density charts for each company are essential for helping to narrow down attributions of speculative pieces.

Here we have a Percival Vickers uranium plate from the Colonial suite (1869 reg) at the start of the process.


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