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Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. => British & Irish Glass => Topic started by: paradisetrader on November 23, 2004, 11:33:12 PM

Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: paradisetrader on November 23, 2004, 11:33:12 PM
Angela I'm told you are the expert on this but anyone else please chime in. Cathy Bannister advised me to consult you on this vase :

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click pic for bigger image if req

Cathy says she thought Duncan " is a deeper, pointier ripple" and that this maybe a variation on the Elf Posy vase.

Your opinon appreciated
Thank you
Title: Think about it!
Post by: Bernard C on November 24, 2004, 03:08:29 AM
From here onwards, please read "as moulded" for "unmodified".   "As moulded" is established terminology; use of "unmodified" would be confusing.  See reply #11 by member Glen.

Peter and Cathy,

It is Bagley 3010 Elf.   I have had several of these through my hands.

If you think about how this class of pressed glass was made, it is a lot easier to recognise them.   By class, I mean bowls, vases and tumblers that have a thin, perfect rim, and the decorative pattern on the outside stops well before the rim.   The rim always tapers quite sharply in thickness.    You will find mould lines around the base and up the sides to the top of the decoration.    The top of the decoration is also a mould line.

The mould has two main components.   The first is an assembled mould comprising a base and typically three sides locked together.   This is where the gather of molten glass is dropped.   The second is the plunger.

For this class the plunger moulds the whole of the inside, the rim, and the outside down to the mould line at the top of the pattern.

Quite obviously only one shape can be moulded this way, a wide (bowl) or narrow (vase) tumbler shape with a vertical rim.    Any other shape and the moulded item would be impossible to extract from the mould.

It is unusual to find examples of pressed glass in this unmodified form.   An example is the Fostoria American / Davidson Georgian jade preserve or sugar, where the mould lines stop at the top of the cubes pattern, about half an inch below the rim, where there is a horizontal mould line running all the way around the outside.

Most Davidson cloud glass patterns were made this way, as, for example, were also Bagley 3187 Katherine, 742 Pendant and 1122 Queen's Choice.

Immediately the glass was extracted and while it was still plastic, it was dropped or pushed on to a former to obtain the required cupped, flared or crimped finished shape.

Perhaps the ultimate in variety from the original vertical-rimmed moulded tumbler shape was Davidson pattern 34, where they used formers to create everything from a lamp base through vases to flared and "D"ed bowls.

So, back to 3010 Elf.    Perhaps it would be more technically correct to consider the posy mushroom as a variant of the vase, as the vase is only about a quarter of the way to becoming a mushroom!

And, to think, there are still people out there who regard pressed glass workers as unskilled.    Incredible, isn't it?

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: paradisetrader on November 25, 2004, 09:13:43 PM
Thank you Bernard

Can I check my understanding ?
So my vase when it emerged from the mould would have had almost vertical sides / beaker shaped ? (the unmodified form ?) and then the flare would have been made using the former   ? (or it's still "unmodified" at this point ?)

What would be an example of a modified form ? The the posy mushroom ?

You say "If you think about how this class of pressed glass was made, it is a lot easier to recognise them."
Would Duncan Caribbean have been made differently then ?

I never thought I'd be takling an interest in the mechanics of pressed glass or any of the technicalities of glass production - not being very technically minded,  but I find myself drawn to it now as a means of understanding pieces better and your explanation is very interesting.
Thanks again
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Bernard C on November 26, 2004, 05:28:28 AM

Back to 3010 Elf.   Take a look at Jackson, C20 Factory Glass, p.163, bottom right, UGB Ripple pattern.   Imagine a tall, slim Hi-ball glass in this pattern with a slightly protruding foot.    That's what came out of the 3010 Elf mould.

Now, while still plastic, turn it upside down and push it on to a cone-shaped former.   Three things would happen:

1. The mouth of the vessel would flare out, most where the glass was thinnest and had least resilience nearest the rim.

2. The vessel would be compressed vertically, again most where the glass was thinnest and had least resilience nearest the rim, compressing the original evenly-spaced ripple pattern lines together.

Outcome?   Your 3010 Elf vase.   Keep going?   A 3010 Elf mushroom posy.

3. Now for the drawback.   Using such formers is inherently an unstable process.    As the glass is being stretched, any weakness or lop-sidedness in the vessel will naturally be magnified, as the resilience is least at that point.    Holding the vessel centrally on the former will correct this to a certain extent, but, even so, the glass will naturally twist to distort most at the weakest point.    Hence most examples of Davidson cloud and plain glass shapes made using formers are more or less lop-sided.   The more extreme the shape, the more lop-sided.   It is inherent in the manufacturing process.   Look at extreme examples like Davidson 700D and all Bagley and Davidson mushroom posies.   Perfect symmetry is rarely found in such shapes.

Finally, it is not always obvious whether the glass was pushed on to a former, or slumped, i.e. allowed to flow and conform to the new shape under its own weight.   A good example of a slumped shape is the Bagley butterfly bowl, made from the butterfly lampshade by slumping over a more flared former.   As this pattern has thick ribs, pressing down on the former would force the thicker ribs to protrude from the rim.    The opposite is the case, proving that the slumping technique was used.   It is unfortunate that the best example is such a rarity.   Does anyone know of a more readily accessible example?

Bernard C.  8)

ps Look at the lovely 700VG vase on page 27 of Miller's '20s & '30s, made from the same mould as the 700D bowl.    If you ignore the waist just under the rim, this is how 700 emerged from the mould, with the plunger moulding all of it down to the top of the panels at the equator.   This 700VG was first cupped using one former, and then flared using another.    As you will read, the editorial describes this as "mould-blown".    Quite obviously the author had not properly thought about it.   Find a 700VG in green cloud and you have a day to remember.   Only 114 were made, according to the records consulted and published by Chris & Val Stewart.    None at all were made in orange cloud or jade.

pps Reading p.163 in Jackson, I have found my first error.    What a relief.   I can't cope with perfection in publications.    My 2B pencil positively leapt to my hand, and I joyfully inscribed a small marginal note.    Jackson intimates that the UGB kingfisher bowl was made in amber.   Not so.   "Dark amber" perhaps, but more correctly "bottle brown".   Thanks Peter.
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Anne on November 26, 2004, 06:57:45 PM
Thanks for this Bernard:

Hence most examples of Davidson cloud and plain glass shapes made using formers are more or less lop-sided

it explains why my new pink satin vase is  a tad lopsided I expect. I didn't notice at first, but then it had been dusted and returned to the shelf facing a different way obviously and the slight lop-sidedness became apparent.
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Bernard C on November 27, 2004, 06:28:59 AM

Nice to know that someone appreciates my efforts, which take me ages as words do not come easily to me.   I am a mathematician or logician by background and training, not a wordsmith.   Also then I have to spell check, and then make sure it reads okay in the USA.   Punctuation is a problem, so I usually go for the Oxford or American comma before the final "and" in a list, as this is easier for the American reader, but this forces you to save the best till last, otherwise the emphasis of the comma in conventional British punctuation looks rather strange.   Other punctuation differences do not cause any problems with understanding.    I keep to my own native British spelling, the convention on the Internet.   Bill Bryson's Troublesome Words is always to hand and helps me avoid most of the pitfalls of communicating in two slightly different languages.   It also helps with almost all of the discreet / discrete problems, which I can never remember and always have to look up.

Regards, Bernard C.  8)
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Cathy B on November 27, 2004, 07:21:41 AM
Thank you Bernard, for your marvellous and articulate response!

I don't know think you need to be so modest about your language, when some of us have to scrabble around to build sentences with stick-like vocabularies and the quick-sand foundations provided by the "Whole Language" teaching experiment.

Back to the subject. If the Elf posy vase was the norm, and Peter's vase was unusual, then perhaps it could be argued that in order to create Peter's vase, the usual process had to be interrupted. Therefore the process of creating Peter's vase is a variation of the norm, which would make this vase a variant of the normal form  :wink:

One of the very first pieces of glass I bought on eBay was an Elf.  It had been advertised as having "just a small chip" to the rim (clearly I wasn't as fussy as I am now). When it finally arrived, the chip turned out to be a full 1 1/2 inches in diameter!

Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Bernard C on November 27, 2004, 08:21:54 AM
Thanks, Cathy.

Your logic on Peter's vase is, at first sight, fine.   However, it assumes perfect knowledge.   Unfortunately this is not the case, as only about four Bagley trade catalogues are known to have survived.   So we do not know whether Peter's vase was a standard item offered in one of the missing catalogues or not.   Nice try, but I am on home ground here.  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

I will ask my other half about "Whole Language".   Back in the '60s as a schoolboy I just did English Language, English Literature, French, and Latin.  The last is very useful for reading inscriptions on Roman and Venetian monuments, but not for much else!

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: paradisetrader on November 30, 2004, 05:14:57 PM
Thanks Cathy & Bernard
It is unusual to find examples of pressed glass in this unmodified form.

I think Cathy was trying to undertand, like me, your use of the term "unmodified form", Bernard and therefore to pinpint what, exactly it is that is "unusual".
Nothing wrong with your English Bernard - au contraire - just a little terminology / identification problem.
Am also still struggling to undertand how an understanding of this process would help in distinguishing this vase from one made by Northwood.
Did their technique different significantly ? Or were their moulds just sharper ? newer ? better quality ? which would have resulted in the "deeper, pointier ripple" which Cathy first mentioned to me.
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Bernard C on December 06, 2004, 07:46:51 AM

By "unmodified" I meant "as it came out of the mould".   For this class of pressed glass, this would be anything from a wide to a narrow tumbler shape with a vertical rim.   As I said it is unusual as I could think of only the one example.   Another is the Davidson pattern 50 or 51 Sundae Glass, mostly made for British Rail, and having none of the flaring associated with the 50 or 51 vase from the same moulds.

I cannot help with Northwood or other American lookalikes.   The only pattern of these lookalikes I have seen is the copy of the Davidson No. 20 floating bowl, the subject of a recent thread on this board.  In this case the lookalikes are fairly easy to recognise as the colours are wrong for Davidson, and the American versions do not have the milled pattern rim.

Please remember that I wrote all the above just from examining glass - I had not then had the benefit of Adam's revelations.   I got it wrong in two significant ways.   Firstly I had assumed that the object was dropped straight out of the mould onto a former, as I could not see any way of reheating it.  And secondly, I had not appreciated that some flaring or cupping was done by hand.   Possibly the flaring of the 50 and 51 vases was an example of handwork.   Or it may have been that early examples of any pattern were flared and cupped by hand until the demand was sufficiently established to justify the expense of a specially made former.   Adam doesn't make this clear.   Otherwise I don't appear to have been too far off.

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Glen on December 06, 2004, 07:59:05 PM
Just for interest - I always use the term "as moulded" for items that have had no secondary shaping etc., after removal from the mould. This convention works very well in Carnival Glass terminology and is in general use. Vases, in particular, were often shaped and swung after being removed from their moulds. Those which weren't altered in any way were simply "as moulded".
Title: Bagley Elf
Post by: Bernard C on December 07, 2004, 05:48:59 AM
Quote from: "Glen"
Just for interest - I always use the term "as moulded" for items that have had no secondary shaping etc., after removal from the mould. This convention works very well in Carnival Glass terminology and is in general use. ...


Thanks for that, although I would rate the non-proliferation of confusing alternative terminology as far more important than "Just for interest".   I certainly do not want to go down in history as another Heacock & Gamble.   Recently I was reading their editorial on Northwood's Opaline Brocade pattern in Book 9, and found myself laughing at the muddle they got themselves in by their desperate and completely unnecessary attempts to rename it Spanish Lace!   And, if you have your 2B pencil handy, yes, it was a plagiarised version of the Walsh pattern, launched 14 months earlier in November 1897.   Your note should go alongside the caption to the first photograph on p.62.

And, while I am on the subject, the finest example of Opaline Brocade to be seen on public display anywhere is the fabulous Walsh 7-flute epergne in canary opalescent with green rim tape and matching base, oddly located in the centre of a display cabinet of Stuart's historic glass in the shop at the Red House glass cone.   I call in every year or two, just to drool over it!

Back to topic.  Glen, I have put a health warning on reply No. 1 above.   Okay?

Bernard C.  8)