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Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. => British & Irish Glass => Topic started by: Bernard C on April 14, 2008, 09:35:27 AM

Title: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Bernard C on April 14, 2008, 09:35:27 AM
Look at any oldish map of the world, and you will see a goodly chunk in red, the old British Empire.   And our major glassworks certainly exported to Europe, the USA, and South America as well.   Yet when you run eBay searches on British glass, you only find pieces in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA.

So where has it all gone?

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: heartofglass on April 14, 2008, 09:58:55 AM
Well, those places are all English speaking & also former colonies as well.
So maybe English glass has more profile & is more well known in these places simply due to these factors? (Not that I haven't seen 19th c. English glass here mislabeled as Murano.)
However, there are former colonies such as India which also imported a lot of English glass, such as the glass furniture made by Osler. It is an interesting point that you have raised. 
Regarding the U.S there seems to be a bit of confusion there about what is identified as English glass & early American glass, as a lot of the production on both sides of the Atlantic in the 19th c. was so similar in many ways.
As for Europe, maybe it's the same issue, so much glass made there was very similar in style to English glass & to the average buyer/seller it all looks the same, so they attribute it to a local origin out of a lack of knowledge/laziness in researching.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 14, 2008, 10:55:33 AM
Which underlies the importance of having books outside your direct areas of interest. A lot of American cut glass is of far superior design to much British cut glass and was imported to the UK. It is often assumed to be British if found in the UK. Not that British cut glass does not have its gems, at the top of the tree the quality of design was as good in both countries.

What is this 14"/350mm diameter Bowl and stand, British or American? Available in 1900 and based on unskilled wages it would now retail at approximately 11,000 Euros:

(http://www.glasscatalogue.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/d171406238f7d89af451cf1dca03a6ea.jpg)
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Ivo on April 14, 2008, 11:33:09 AM
The answer is not that complex. Glass industries worldwide predominantly serve their home markets, and for the UK the home market is the island, its dependencies and its colonies. The Brits did not export in a big way to the major world markets such as France, Austria, Germany, Russia, the Ottoman empire or South America.  Those markets were served by the Belgians and the Czechs. With a market as big as an empire in which the sun never sets, why should you even bother with clients who don't speak proper english, use funny weights and measures and - oh horror - decimal currencies!
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: pamela on April 14, 2008, 05:51:40 PM
A lot went to Denmark also!
Dr. Doris Billek and I recently visited Lise & Dan Andersen in Odense/DK
They have got a tremendous collection of Scandinavian glass, but also a lot from England 19th century. During our discussion on this phenomenon that they find lots of British glass in Denmark, we came to the following possible clue:
At least Greener, Davidson and Sowerby had sales offices and stock in Hamburg, Germany.
Altona, today a part of Hamburg, and whole Schleswig-Holstein were Danish until 1864. Consequently, we think that Denmark imported British glass via Hamburg into Schleswig Holstein and further.

Just an idea - no proof whatsoever  :angel:
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 14, 2008, 06:54:00 PM
Simplest way of looking at this question are the government statistics, for your convenience I have copied part of a page in the Glass-Study for the purposes of this thread, it contains a link back to this thread.

Glass-Study link (http://www.glass-study.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=187&Itemid=15)


Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: krsilber on April 14, 2008, 07:24:40 PM
Judging by ebay US (not a terribly good standard, but it's all I got), there's not actually a whole lot of British glass in the US.  The category "British Glass" has at the moment 284 items in it, but only 143 if you restrict them to those sold in America, and only 106 if you remove paperweights.  For comparison, there are 79370 items in "Glass" located in the US (not including paperweights, which add another 2245).

Hard to say how meaningful these numbers are, with the enormous number of misattributions, unknowns, and miscategorizations on ebay.  And I'm not a very good judge, not having much experience with British glass (perhaps because it's so hard to find!).  Those tariffs we imposed must have done the trick!

Frank, your punch bowl is obviously... ;) ;D
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 14, 2008, 08:24:16 PM
Dealers brought a lot of British glass back from the States and US dealers took a lot of US glass from Europe to the states. In my Monart dealing days, after the prices shot up the US was 'the'place to buy. Nearly every weight in Ysart Glass came from the US and the bulk of Paul Ysart's production went to the US.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Bernard C on April 16, 2008, 07:58:53 PM
Thanks everyone for your views, and to Frank for the statistics, but I had meant something slightly different in my original post.

My experience is not of an occasional trickle of successful eBay searches from outside the area I mentioned, but nothing at all.   Zilch.   Zero.   Over more than a decade.

So where's all the British glass in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Malaya, Borneo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, West Indies, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, and Aden?

... and apologies for that rather garbled list, derived from a 1930s Pears map of the world, and my memories of stamp collecting.

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Patrick on April 16, 2008, 08:26:55 PM

My experience is not of an occasional trickle of successful eBay searches from outside the area I mentioned, but nothing at all.   Zilch.   Zero.   Over more than a decade.

So where's all the British glass in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, Malaya, Borneo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ghana, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, West Indies, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, and Aden?

Bernard C.  8)

I would put it down to the lack of easy access to the internet in those country's . I can not imagine that more than 20% of the population even knows about Ebay.

Regards Patrick.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: krsilber on April 17, 2008, 03:59:37 AM
I imagine, though, that the same people likely to have British glass are also those with access to the internet.

I don't know how big the British colony on Borneo was, but perhaps the smaller colonies didn't have big enough markets for the glass that it was exported there in large quantities.  And maybe it's more personally valuable to those that do have it because it was brought over by someone's great aunt, and they aren't so keen to get rid of it.  Sheer speculation, of course.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: ChrisStewart on April 17, 2008, 07:25:17 AM
Hi,

According to the government 'blue books', India was a large importer of glass back in the 1870s-1880s. So there must be some out there.

Old Pottery Gazettes are a good source of information on statistics on glass imports and exports.

Regards

Chris
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: aa on April 17, 2008, 08:18:22 AM
There could be a number of reasons, but awareness, or lack of it may be the most likely answer.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 17, 2008, 08:19:58 AM
Not forgetting that as most of the Brits got kicked out of those countries they would have taken their property with them. Any pieces that ended up on the poorer communities would have been used until broken. You can find plenty of glass in all of those countries in antique shops too and again I lot would have been shipped here. I knew several Indian dealers and they all shipped a couple of dozen containers to the UK and some to US each year. The better pieces would have gone to Auctions and the sellers would have been sophisticated enough to put them in lBritish auctions, certainly today the larger auction houses put pieces into the countries that they have rooms in where experience suggest the pre-sale export is worthwhile..

So the lack of pieces in those countries via eBay is hardly surprising.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Ivo on April 17, 2008, 03:32:59 PM
Please remember that statistics is only for the in-crowd. If "glass" is defined as 30% flat, 45% bottles, 20% packaging  and 5% misc then try and figure out how much is pressed or decorated, how much might have survived in 100 years or so, and how much was broken in the washing up.   
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 17, 2008, 04:15:24 PM
 :D Yep, the statistics I linked to above was "Domestic and Fancy Glassware " excludes containers, flat and bottles - so just that 5% misc.

Elsewhere in the Study other statistics are even more finely tuned to show the decline between 1924 and 1935
PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS OF STEMWARE (1935)
                    Th. cwt.    £’000
Total production    8.0        91
Exports               0.3            4
Home market share    7.7     87

About a third was handmade,
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Carolyn Preston on April 17, 2008, 11:46:52 PM
Please remember that statistics is only for the in-crowd.

And remember Mark Twain's (or Samuel Clement's) quote,

"There's lies, d*mn lies, and statistics"  >:D

Carolyn
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 18, 2008, 08:23:24 AM
They do provide some important information particularly when compared with other countries, technological developement and economic and political data. Factors like breakage are likely to be fairly consistent across the globe and periods in time, except wartime. The second level after the numbers are governmental reports which use the statistics but importantly, look at the trends of fashion, design and the impact of the different approaches to manufacture - sometimes at a remarkably detailed level. The trigger point for such reports often being International exhibitions and economic recovery following wars. When illustrated they tend to illustrate types of glassware being produced at certain periods and thus also become a tool in dating approaches. Such reports did have an impact on the industry. Political changes are a real fuzz factor for this as they can go against the trend in the reports with taxation being changed due to factors not related to the glass industry.

With a broad understanding of the above, analysis of the business of a single glassworks can be more completely assessed - a deeper understanding does, as Ivo points out, have little value to glass research per se.

But in respect of Bernard's original question - the statistics are useful as they do show the ratios of exports and has Bernard has noticed this does not compare well with his experience of glass in the collectors market from those areas. But this could be more fully understood with statistics, yet again. It needs to encompass demographic and migration as well as technology levels of the target countries. But such a study would be very time consuming... perhaps one of our visitors has a relative looking for a Phd subject  ;), alternatively someone with a strong interest and the skill set could almost certainly get a grant to do such a study :spls:

While statistics do not offer detail of the types of "Domestic and Fancy Glassware" in those market, the retailers and wholesalers in those countries did use photographs of their showrooms in adverts and while usually not clear enough in the screened advert photographs, they do at least give a good impression of what was being sold there. One such I have of a New Zealand importer known to import Monart, shows almost exclusively tableware with a small percentage of vases, some of which are just possibly Monart. Finding original photographs in company archives would be a lot more useful - these are spread around in libraries and museum reserve collections.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: krsilber on April 18, 2008, 10:50:12 PM
"India was a large importer of glass back in the 1870s-1880s. So there must be some out there."

I read somewhere that at least some of the glass that made its way to India was decorated once it got there, so wouldn't necessarily be known as British glass.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Bernard C on April 19, 2008, 07:05:27 AM
Quote from: Frank
... the statistics are useful as they do show the ratios of exports and has Bernard has noticed this does not compare well with his experience of glass in the collectors market from those areas. ...

Thinking about this again, I just wondered how worldwide an eBay "Worldwide" search is.   Does eBay take your instructions literally and blindly, or does it attempt to "help", assuming that I am unlikely to want to buy my new frock or whatever from Jamaica or Singapore?    Also we have seen eBay punishing its clients in smaller countries like New Zealand, Ireland, and now Australia, using currency and/or payment method restrictions — I don't know why — so does this somehow extend to searches?

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 19, 2008, 09:30:07 AM
Auctions listed in Hong Kong do not show up in searches worldwide, probably because of language, has anyone with the ability to type in Chinese tried searching? Ivo found Chrisms auctions in HK by searching in Singapore I think...
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Carolyn Preston on April 19, 2008, 11:04:31 PM
I know that when I do a search for "gaelic" on ebay.com, ebay.ca and ebay.co.uk I get much of the same items, but not entirely.

Carolyn
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: krsilber on April 20, 2008, 03:07:09 AM
You've just been using ebay UK and selecting worldwide?  That would definitely be one reason you aren't getting much glass showing up from the countries you've mentioned.  Sellers have to choose whether their listings are going to show up worldwide or in other particular countries, and there are added listing fees.  As others point out, the items that appear in a search change depending on the ebay you search from, and there are a limited number of countries with ebay sites.  Then there's the language barrier, as Frank mentioned (though if you go to the HK site, you can search in English).

Add the cultural, economic and historical aspects, and whether British glass shows up on ebay seems a pretty poor indicator of how much of it is in a particular country.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Bernard C on April 20, 2008, 06:08:46 AM
I have always been under the impression that selecting "Items located in Any Country/Region" in the Location box of an advanced search, together with "Any Sellers" in the From Sellers box, and "Any currency" in the Currency box, whatever version of eBay you are using, gives you access to every listing on eBay.   Are you telling me that I am mistaken?

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Glen on April 20, 2008, 07:09:26 AM
Bernard, I think that if you are doing that in the UK, using eBay UK, then you won't see auctions where the sellers have specified that they will only ship to other countries (not including the UK).

Glen
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Mosquito on April 20, 2008, 09:26:14 AM
Re. Hong Kong & Chinese searches in ebay, the situation appears quite strange. When searching for 玻璃 (boli - Glass in Chinese) from the UK ebay site, using advanced search for items in any country/ region and in any currency, brings no results. On mainland China's ebay site, eachnet.com (ebay.com.cn), no results are found for mainland China; it seems most Chinese sellers use 'Glass' in preference to 玻璃. However, searching on ebay.com.hk brings a few results. Going back to the UK ebay site and searching for 玻璃 in Hong Kong still turns up nothing, so it appears that Hong Kong is not included on UK ebay's searches, irrespective of which locations and currencies are chosen.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Frank on April 20, 2008, 10:01:17 AM
"Items located in Any Country/Region"

Does work to locate to locate sales where the seller does not ship, if looking at one of those auctions and clicking on look at sellers other auctions, brings up a seller has no listings at the present time - changing the country in the url then shows their listings.

India has a few auction sites not run by eBay and with English as the Middle Class language, most auctions are listed in English. I have found glass on those before now. But have not been glass hunting in years.
Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: krsilber on April 20, 2008, 08:52:35 PM
I have always been under the impression that selecting "Items located in Any Country/Region" in the Location box of an advanced search, together with "Any Sellers" in the From Sellers box, and "Any currency" in the Currency box, whatever version of eBay you are using, gives you access to every listing on eBay.   Are you telling me that I am mistaken?

Bernard C.  8)

Yes, you are mistaken (as I understand it, anyway)!  Even if sellers select the option saying they will ship worldwide, their items don't automatically show up worldwide.  As I said, it's an extra option to have things appear on international ebay sites, with extra fees associated with it (though ebay.com does show items from Canada and Australia automatically).  This page explains it somewhat:  http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/intl-ov.html

There's a drop-down menu of the ebay sites in different countries on the ebay home page, near the bottom.

Title: Re: Where has all the British glass gone?
Post by: Lustrousstone on April 21, 2008, 06:49:09 AM
If you select "located in" it will show you items where the seller does not ship to your country. I've just tried it