Glass Message Board

Glass Identification - Post here for all ID requests => Glass => Topic started by: Bernard C on September 09, 2005, 09:39:00 AM

Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Bernard C on September 09, 2005, 09:39:00 AM
Thorn vases seem to be avoided by the literature as something of attribution minefield.

However, I have noticed something about them which may be worth exploring, and this message board is the ideal place.

I don't usually buy them as they all seem to be unattributable, but some three years ago I had a tiny pair through my hands, and noted in my stockbook "Exactly 4" in height — probably English (Stourbridge)".

I am contemplating buying another pair, and these are exactly 16" high, which got me thinking.   Is it a coincidence that the only thorn vases I have ever measured are exactly an inch measurement?

So, if you have access to any thorn vases, and you are reasonably certain that they are in original condition with their original glass rims and bases, please would you take a few moments to measure them accurately and report your findings.

Also is there any literature on them?   My little library can hardly be regarded as comprehensive.   Any other opinions would also be welcomed.

Thanks for your time,

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Leni on September 09, 2005, 12:14:42 PM
Hi Bernard, I collect thorn vases!  :D

Mine measure 4 and one eighth 4 and a quarter, 4 and three eighth, 4 and seven eighth, 6 and three quarter and 7 and a quarter inches!   :lol:

Just to be sure we're talking about the same things, here's a selection of mine:

As for literature about them, I wish there were!  The only information I have ever found about them always seems to say they are "unattributable", but "were made in Stourbridge by a variety of glasshouses"   :shock:  :?

They are mentioned in Skelcher's Vaseline Glass book, but again are "unattributable"  :(

Let me know if you find out anything more!  (And I'm always interested in buying, even ones with missing feet and rough thorns  :wink: )  

Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Cathy B on September 09, 2005, 12:40:13 PM
The only glass text in print in Australia at the moment calls the thorn pattern "pustules". It also guesses the American EAPG pattern Manhattan as "English Edwardian", attributes plenty of Czech glass to Australia, expresses surprise at Davidson pearline appearing in the yellow colour, and renames several named patterns.

I am are currently working on an erratum list for it (properly referenced - which is why it is taking so long!) but I'm not sure about whether I'll get sued if I publish it on the net.

Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Bernard C on September 09, 2005, 01:16:31 PM
Cathy — don't worry about errata lists, as long as you substantiate your information, quote sources in full, and are prepared to update them as new information emerges.   They are excellent publicity for the reference work and will improve sales (the ONLY thing of any interest to the publisher), and all authors will welcome them, even if sometimes a little reluctantly at the start.    If you receive any complaints, just point out that all reference works are out of date as soon as the final proofs are sent to the printers.   And emphasize that the errata list for the first Bielby book turned into a second volume more useful and profitable than the first.

I take "S&W" and "Webb" attributions from all but serious heavyweights in the USA with a bucketful of salt.   Over here it is usually "Powell", or "Stuart" for anything with a green streak in it!

My own experience with genuine examples of Walsh and S&W is that they made all their glass to the exact size specified.   When buying unmarked Walsh cut in traditional patterns I look for the quality of the blank, cut and finish, the weight, and the exact inch size, before looking it up in the pattern books in Reynolds, where it has to be a perfect match.

Everyone — thanks for the material so far, although it does not look too promising.   As the robot #5 said in Short Circuit "Input — Need more input".

Leni — grateful thanks for your pictures and measurements. I have come to the conclusion that my initial observation was partly a coincidence, and partly due to my custom of measuring glass before buying, and having an inbuilt preference for inch sizes.

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Frank on August 15, 2006, 07:00:41 PM
Anyone else got data for Bernard?
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: pamela on August 15, 2006, 07:52:10 PM
there are quite some of these on my homepage - all unattributed- please see 'mouthblown' at the bottom of vases
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: chuggy on August 15, 2006, 09:55:36 PM
I think my triffid falls into this category though it's cranberry cased in uranium with thorns and it measures 8.75 inches high.
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Leni on August 16, 2006, 08:26:44 AM
I have collected many more of these over the past year since this thread began, including multiples and variants.  I think I can safely say there is no evidence that they were made to any exact measurements whatsoever.

As to further IDs, these are still elusive.  There are many uranium glass versions, which, while similar, vary in the degree of their reactivity to UV.  Some are brighter, implying higher levels of uranium in the batch, and some appear to have very little uranium, or perhaps a different reactive chemical.  

I tend to collect the fairly basic ones, broadly identified as 'Stourbridge', although my investigations (which, apart from a couple of books on Vaseline glass, mainly involve asking other, more knowledgeable people  :oops: ) have not been able to distinguish one Stourbridge glasshouse from another.  

There is another variant which I believe to be continental - that ubiquitous 'Bohemian' cover-all again!   :roll:  

Most of mine are now in my gallery :

I do also have a couple of other thorn vases which are not included, because they actually have no uranium or any other reactive chemical in the glass!  

A few of them may be an exact number of inches, but as I said, I feel this is coincidental.  Far more are not exactly anything!  

Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Bernard C on September 04, 2006, 09:30:22 AM
Quote from: Leni
... A few of them may be an exact number of inches, but as I said, I feel this is coincidental.  Far more are not exactly anything! ...
Leni — I've been thinking about this, and realised today that thorn vases are a special case.    When the glassmaker was trimming the rim he had to be careful to avoid a rim that went through the centre of a thorn.    Hence my argument does not apply.    Exact inch size thorn vases are coincidental.

I'm glad you saw my giant pair for yourself before they sold.   Lovely weren't they.

For recent members, see discussion at:,2516.0.html,2593.0.html

Bernard C.  8)
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: josordoni on September 04, 2006, 11:00:52 AM
I bought a load recently, I need to sort out the badly damaged ones from the ok ones, then I'll let you have a look.
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: Leni on September 04, 2006, 11:02:24 AM
Hi Lynne,

You know I collect damaged ones as well as 'OK' ones, so don't be shy about showing them too!   :wink:  :lol:
Title: Thorn Vases — Help Sought
Post by: josordoni on September 04, 2006, 11:05:39 AM
Oh well, you should have a nice little batch to sort through shortly then!!


I was really in two minds whether to buy them or not, they are such a mixed bunch, but in the end, I succumbed, and before I could stop it, my hand was up!

I am such a minx these days where fancy glass is concerned...