Frank, please do try to find the dissertation on the Diatreta process you mentioned.
As some of you will know, in 2004 the Glass Cone (newsletter of the Glass Association) ran an article on the Constable-Maxwell "cage cup" (or hanging oil lamp) sold through Bonhams. But they did not take the opportunity to mention a non-carved method of making. So any new thoughts on this would be very welcome.
General point about American paperweight making:
One of the reasons that many of the American studio weights are relatively expensive is that they are made entirely by "torchwork" rather than the more widely known "tank / kiln" method. Also, when the modern American studio makers produce their intricate flowers, every petal, stem and leaf is made by "lampwork" and assembled piece by piece to build up the whole multi-part flower. This is in direct contrast to the easier method of mass produced "crimp" flowers, where the petals are produced in one go by pressing the glass into a pre-formed crimp mould.
After constructing the "lampwork" flower, and other elements, a billet of crsytal glass is heated over the torch and when ready, the flower etc are added to the billet and the whole thing worked to produce the final article.
For an intricate design in an American studio weight, it can take a whole day (and perhaps more) to make just one weight!
You may have noticed that I have put words like lampwork and torchwork in quote marks. This is really just for emphasis, but interesting discussions on the term "torchwork" have been had over the last few years. Some folk maintain that working at the lamp or torch are the same thing. Others would argue that lampwork applies only to construction of smaller elements and that the complete working of a paperweight at a torch, using a billet instead of a gather, is actually a different process. In some respects I think it's a bit like discussions on "makers" versus "artists", which can be applied across the whole realm of modern art glass. Whatever the semantics, torchwork artists are here to stay - and the prices probably do fairly reflect the often exquisite detailed workmanship.
I am very happy that paperweights ("gift-type" / "collectable" / "wow-factor") have had a good airing recently. So I really must give a plug for the UK-based Paperweight Collectors Circle (since I am current webmaster for the site). Those of you who have developed an interest in these fascinating 'baubles', and are not yet members, may like to consider joining, even if only for the full-colour newsletter produced 3 times a year - http://www.kevh.clara.net/index.htm