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Glass Identification - Post here for all ID requests => Glass Paperweights => Topic started by: Rainbo Culpepper on July 17, 2010, 07:16:15 PM

Title: Origin of the name "sulphide"?
Post by: Rainbo Culpepper on July 17, 2010, 07:16:15 PM
Hello, I am a marble collector.  I know little about paperweights or glass in general.  However, it recently occurred to me that the answer to a question I've been researching about marbles might be answered by those who collect weights or other glass.

My question is about when the word sulphide came into use to describe the little figures inside marbles or weights.

The earliest reference I've been able to find is from the 1940's.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Title: Re: Origin of the name "sulphide"?
Post by: antiquerose123 on July 17, 2010, 08:58:44 PM
Hi, and Welcome to the Board.

Very good question and I am sure those that know more than me will be able to help you. 

I saw a book once of some absolutely beautiful marbles with such beautiful little figures inside.  I have also seen marbles with the copper swirls in them (aventurine) and they too are gorgeous.

I am sure someone here (much more knowledgeable than me) will be able to help you -- as for me, I think I am losing *my marbles* over glass    :thud:  :24:
Title: Re: Origin of the name "sulphide"?
Post by: KevinH on July 18, 2010, 02:01:43 AM
Yes, it is an interesting question.

The world "sulphide", relating to an incrustation in paperweights (and other glass items), was not used in Apsley Pellatt's 1849 book Curiosities of Glassmaking. And it was also not used in Harry Powell's Glass-Making In England, published in 1923.

It was certainly used by Mrs Bergstrom in her 1940 book, Old Glass Paperweights.

And it was also used in 1948, in the English translation section of Les Presse-Papiers Français De Crystal by R. Imbert & Y. Amic. In the section for "Origin and First Manufacture of Paperweights", the English version gives, in part:
The Cruesot … the making of “incrusted cameos” or “sulphides”.
So I wondered whether that implied the French had always used the term "sulphide" [but, of course using "sulfure" in their own language]. If that was true, then perhaps the word has its first usage in French many years before the 1940s and was simply translated as "sulphide". However, the French text for that same reference gives:
La Cristallerrie de Cruesot ... la fabrication de des « medailles » ou « camées incrustés dans le cristal » que le commerce de la curiosité désigne de nos jours souse le nom de sulfure.
And although I do not have the skill to properly translate French, it seems that "sulfure" in that context was referred to as being "used nowadays". If that is correct, then it does not really help in the quest for the first use of "sulphide".

But perhaps there is some earlier French, or even English language, literature that describes "incrustations" as "sulfures / sulphides"?
Title: Re: Origin of the name "sulphide"?
Post by: Rainbo Culpepper on July 18, 2010, 02:34:08 AM
Thank you for the welcome.

And thank you for the detailed reply.   I had wondered about whether "sulphide" appeared in Mrs. Bergstrom's book.  Almost asked specially about that.  

I had also wondered if the sulphide name had somehow been transmitted through the French.  

One thing I've heard for awhile is that "sulphide" was a misnomer, that it came from people thinking that sulfur was used in making the figures, but that this was not true.  However, I recently read that it might actually have been true in a way.  Not in the figure itself, but in shaping the figure, at least some point in history.

I don't know how or if this fits in, but if I understand correctly, sulfur was used in the late 1800's in the casting of incrustations.  My dated sulphur references are Tassie's Catalogue of Impressions in Sulphur from 1775, a second Tassie catalogue, from 1791, and then an 1898 reference to one of Tassie's sulphur casts.  

Title: Re: Origin of the name "sulphide"?
Post by: Rainbo Culpepper on July 18, 2010, 03:46:02 AM
You do appear to be onto something with the French.  I'd thought about searching in French but didn't know how I should spell the keywords.  You've given me that, and I can get us back to 1928 at least:

From p. 137 of  L'art et le goût sous la restauration, 1814 à 1830, by Jacques Robiquet, as found at Google Books:
"«Camées Incrustés », des soi-disant « Sulfures»" ===>  "'Cameos Encrusted', with so-called 'Sulphides'"

(Translation by Babel Fish)

Of course any more information anyone has will be welcome but you've been a great help already.  Now I have something to chip away at!  Thanks again!