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Bagley Elf

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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 :

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

Bernard C:
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)

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

Bernard C:

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.

Thanks for this Bernard:

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

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.


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