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Glass Discussion & Research. No ID requests here please. => Scandinavian Glass => Topic started by: kerstinfroberg on March 27, 2018, 08:14:23 AM

Title: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: kerstinfroberg on March 27, 2018, 08:14:23 AM
Paus S wrote ( in,66475.0.html (,66475.0.html)) that my “posting may be unique in that you actually have the template/pantograph showing the identical pattern used on your glass - this could be a first for the GMB”

Since we, Bergdala glastekniska museum, have some 200 patterns, on 137 templates, we have searched for glasses or pictures of glasses/services to show how the patterns actually “came out”. We have found but a few – so far…

We have the ambition to make a database, but that is well into the future.
So, in the meantime, I have gone through our “work” blog, tagging  all post that show template and glass (or photo) - (
Some of the posts contain a lot more than those pictures, and all text is in Swedish. (We added a g**e translate – use it at your peril…)

We also have, so far 4, pages about services with a little more information. This on our website – start at ( (scroll down below the guilloché), and you will find links. (These pages have text in English as well as Swedish)

Despite what we found in the thread above (that some templates might have been “off the shelf”), I will post this under Scandinavian glass – because we know that many (the majority?) of our patterns were made for Swedish glassworks, Kosta or other parts of Svenska Kristallglasbruken (which mostly was a selling organization with too high ambitions, in existence 1902 – 1930). For several patterns we have the designer, for most not.

However, we also have several patterns for English hotels and restaurants, pictures on (
We would be very interested in glasses (or photos of glasses) of any or all of these. We have (of course…) a restricted budget, but I invite everybody to contact us at kontakt (at) bergdala-glastekniska-museumm (dot) se!

Kerstin in Sweden
Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: Paul S. on March 27, 2018, 10:52:47 AM
hi Kerstin in Sweden :)                We've mentioned the vast profusion of different machine acid etched patterns 1850 - 1950, and beyond possibly, so this is going to be a very substantial undertaking  -  wish you every success with what is almost certainly going to be an original archive, someday:-)

thinking out loud  .................   a pantograph is not simply an invention for copying  .................... on glass, that process can be created equally well, and possibly more easily, by some of the other machines invented for transferring patterns onto drinking glasses etc., whereas the pantograph not only copies, but at a scale that can be varied.                  This is why, possibly, in some of your photographs there is a large selection of cog wheels each showing a small, but gradual increase in diameter  -  presumably to increase or decrease the scale of reproduction.           Tell me if I'm wrong though.

But I'm thick and old and don't fully understand the location, on the machine, of both the template and drinking glass, and would be enormously grateful if you are able to illustrate this matter.                If you have described this, or shown a picture and I've missed seeing it, then apologies.
The principle of the pantograph has been used for many years as an educational learning 'toy' for children  -  plastic arms that are linked mechanically can vary the scale of any image that a child wishes to copy ..................  they're fascinating.                   These 'toys' are of course manual in operation, and the results often crude, unlike the machines we are speaking of here.          Assume your pantographs are also manual, and rely on a worker to turn the handle              Is it a stylus of some description that follows the incised pattern on the template?

Is it this ability - whereby the pantograph can vary the scale of the reproduction - that was the main reason for their use originally - or perhaps it enabled the use of a machine smaller than the others used in the mechanical acid etching, for example?            Otherwise why a pantograph in particular, over and above other types of etching machines?

You comment that you  .............  "have some 200 patterns, on 137 templates"  .................  so assume some templates include more than one design  -  is that correct?

Am sure my comments in your opening sentence are correct (I hope), and of the very many examples of machine acid etched glass that have been shown on the GMB, I don't recall ever seeing the relevant template included in the post.           So am certain you won't find templates here, but do look on the GMB archive where you will find plenty of examples of this work, on glass, though how you will determine whether the pattern originated from a pantograph or other type of machine I've no idea.

In the U.K. you might consider contacting Broadfield House Glass Museum - am sure they will have material and information that will assist.

Hope everyone is listening  -  Kerstin will appreciate us sending him images of machine acid etched glasses for his archive. :)
Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: kerstinfroberg on March 27, 2018, 02:17:58 PM
Hi Paul –     (my first sentence was just an… excuse? to write the post – and, yes, I have tried searching the GMB both this way and that without finding very much. Unfortunately, these days the word “etching” seems to include all kinds of ways to obtain matt surfaces, sandblasting included.)

Trying to answer your questions in order of appearance:
Quite right, pantographs are for copying and/or scaling (some pantographs cannot change scale).

You write: on glass, that process can be created (…) more easily (…)
I would like to know more about that – remember pantographs (as we know them, at the museum) were used “everywhere” (in Swe glassworks) by the end of the 1800s – beginning 1900s). On the assumption they were all imported (the machines), then they were probably used in many places on the continent (and probably UK) before that.
So: what kind of machines were (at that time) able to decorate up to 24 (possibly 36) glasses at one go?
(I know sandblasting was used, but 1. it can only give matt surfaces without later polishing and 2. were there really that big “automats”?)

(the selection of cog wheels has nothing to do w the pantographs, they are for the guilloche machines – more later)

If you look at ( there is a picture from a book of our p used in Kosta, in the 1950ies. So yes, there is a worker operating the stylus. It takes a skilled worker (or at least one with a good memory) to follow all of the lines, short and long, without missing one.

On the page ( there is some text, and also a short video. The speaker text is in Swedish, and also not quite right, but is does show the mechanics. (We will make a new and better one this summer.) There is also a very short video on the blog ( (  showing our first attempt to use a pen on a paper mug – the thought being that we could let visitors “decorate your own paper mug”. (Doesn’t sound very romantic, but neither is using hydrofluoric acid…)

You mention “other(s machines) used in the mechanical acid etching”. What machines would that be?
Guilloché machines are generally much smaller than pantographs, but 1. they make other kinds of patterns and 2. they generally only take a couple of glasses at a time (we have heard of max 6, which can be correct or not)

So: I will dare to propose that pantographs are unequalled in decorating many (24) glasses at one go, AND (as they essentially are “copy machines”, ie can render any kind of pattern, including letters, small free-standing patterns) are more versatile, pattern-wise, than other machines (known to us).

Templates: yes, 95 (or so) % have patterns on both sides – if there is space there can be 2 or 3 patterns on one template.

This is getting too long already, but for a discussion about the difference between pantographs and guilloche machines, read more at ( )

One last question: I had the impression that Broadfield house is closed, never to be opened again?
Pls correct me… as I will be in London for a few days next week…
Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: kerstinfroberg on March 27, 2018, 04:56:17 PM
an attempt at showing a template with 4 diff patterns: this one is made from 2 smaller plates, to accomodate a bigger pattern.

on the other side there are three patterns (in my opinion, as I think the "olive branch" pattern is separate from the winged O

(an earlier attempt faied due to too big pics - it should work now, but some detail may have been lost)

Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: Paul S. on March 27, 2018, 06:45:58 PM
thanks for the pictures Kerstin  -  I wish your English wasn't so good, you're making me work too hard in an area I have little knowledge of ;D ;)      I really cannot compete with your extensive knowledge of this particular aspect of glass decoration.         

You are more up-to-date than me, and yes Broadfield House is no longer open so apologies for the confusion, though if you look at this link  ...  ...    it does appear that there is some form of replacement in the name of White House Cone-museum of glass.        Whether this will be as comprehensive as Broadfield House, I have no idea.

Have to that my comment was only that other machines were 'possibly' more efficient or practical  ............   the pantograph may have been a progressive step in the evolution of machine acid etching, and honestly I really have no proof that the pantograph was either more or less efficient that other machines - though since they appear to have replaced the others then it's assume they were a forward step.                    Reading Charles Hajdamach's volume mentioned earlier, he speaks of cut-out stencils, geometric machines, template machines and upright etching machines in use in the C19 - this last type was apparently used specifically by British firms Stuart and Grice Bros.                   
C.H. makes no other mention of a pantograph than the Kastrup and Holmegaard reference as  .. 'the only automatic guilloche or pantograph machine to be used in Denmark - so am assuming that the pantograph as a means of etching came further along the evolutionary line than the others I've just mentioned - probably beginning with the start of the C20 (1900).

thanks for your links showing etching shops with multiple work-stations, providing up to 24 glasses to be etched simultaneously - I like the three-jaw chucks holding each work piece - very simple but useful way of holding individual pieces of glass, and agree this use of multiple pantograph 'stations' was unequalled by any other system of machine acid etching.            Am I correct in suggesting that this method of working on multiple pieces at one time was only possible with pantographs, and was not a system that could be used with the other types of etching machine?             Thanks for the links with video recording showing the stylus working through the resist/varnish.
From the details of your video and other instructions, it does appear that one of the few limitations of the pantographs is the machine's ability to produce only lines and not 'areas' of etched glass.

Note your comments about the cog wheels  -  in fact the same variety of wheels can be seen in the C.H. photo of Stuart's etching shop, taken in 1902 - see page 176 in C.H.
Can imagine the degree of concentration needed to operate the stiletto/stylus - don't think I would have kept my job for long.

Have enjoyed your correspondence and shared knowledge of this historic part of the glass trade, though am sure I've now completely exhausted my little (book) information, so leave you now to expound alone.   many thanks for sharing your information and best wishes for your trip to London :)
Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: kerstinfroberg on March 29, 2018, 02:03:25 PM
One last post from me in this thread.

Paul, it wasn’t my intention to … what? challenge? “trick”? you – I hope you are not offended.

Some background: from what I have seen/read acid etching has never been seen as an art form in its own right, here in Sweden. My understanding is that the technique was “imported” with the intention of mass-producing decorated tableware at a reasonable price – as a “poor man’s engraving”, as it were. (Sometimes pressed glass is/was called “poor man’s cut”)

We think the one-piece guilloche machine (what Hajdamach calls “geometric machine”) was the first machine type to be imported, somewhere around 1880. Those machines can only generate geometric patterns, many different patterns depending on how the cogwheels are combined.

As we (the museum) have one dated template, to make souvenir glasses for IX DEUTSCHES TURNFEST which was held in HAMBURG  23-27 JULI 1898 – from which fact we assume that there was a pantograph in Sweden at least a month before that date.

Nearly all the rest we think we know is what we have conjured from books, catalogues, hearsay… So far we have not been able to date or find a provenance for Swe etching machines. Probably there are paperwork(s) buried in all the archives, once we have time for that. (Or maybe not: glassworks have had the irritating habit to burn down every so often)

Thus: as acid etching has been more widely used/explored in other parts of the world, I am hoping to find knowledge, mostly about different machines/practices geared towards mass production – all or any books, pictures, hearsay… are very welcome!

Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: Paul S. on March 29, 2018, 02:38:07 PM
Hi Kerstin - last few words from me too, and no, certainly not offended  ........... :)

When we say  ...  "acid etching has never been seen as an art form in its own right"  -  my opinion is that we should be careful to distinguish the truly mass-produced bottom end of the market material, from high end work produced - for example - by the Northwood studio ................ some of the Northwood work can be seen in C.H.'s chapter on acid etching and IMHO is at the level of an art form.           As you will know, the same studio went on to produce what is arguably some of the best cameo work ever made - here again acid was often in use. 

A great shame there haven't been more contributors to what is a fascinating subject - and again, best of luck with your project.
Title: Re: Pantograph templates, and resulting glasses
Post by: kerstinfroberg on March 29, 2018, 03:08:39 PM
That is why I wrote that "here in Sweden" etching has not been for "art" (except for some experiments by, I think, Ann Wulff - anyway that was in the 1970-80, at Transjö glasbruk). For the first 100 (or so) years of acid etching in Sweden, it was used for mass produced tableware.