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Author Topic: Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein  (Read 766 times)

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Offline cagney

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Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein
« on: April 16, 2022, 12:18:02 AM »
In the hope of starting a wider conversation on this type of glassware, here-with is the most information I have been able to gather on the subject of blown moulded glassware made by air pressure produced by mechanical means. Widely adapted by the French factories of Baccarat and St. Louis in the second quarter of the 19th century.

The Invention: The exact date of the invention is not known. Of the various accounts 4 refer to the year 1821, 3 to 1824 and 1 to 1825.
   
Ismael Robinet of Baccarat is the first name mentioned with pressure molding. Robinet had consumptive lungs and, as a glassblower, sought a way to continue working while placing less stress upon his ailing health. He developed a piston or pump (it is referred to in both ways) to attach to a blowpipe to duplicate the lung power of the blower.
   The dating of the first application of his piston for glass manufacturing is difficult to pinpoint as Robinet did not apply for a patent for his invention. However it did take place prior to 1832. In that year he was awarded a Gold medal and 8,000 francs byl’Acadámie des Sciences, as well as a very generous pension from Baccarat. At the time of the awards, the Robinet piston was described as an “instrument to facilitate and perfect the blowing of glass into molds, aiding the health of the glassmaker and at the same time giving a more perfect product.”
   Another reference to Ismael Robinet’s piston was made by Georges Bontemps of Choisy-le-Roi, a French glass manufactory near Paris. On 28 February 1833, when Bontemps took out his French patent #3740, the preface of his patent credited le sieur Ismael Robinet of Baccarat for having invented a piston to replace human breath, having its application for pieces in Cristal or in glass that were to be blown into molds. He went on to say that the piston forced air by compression into the hot glass, making it penetrate all parts of the molded allowing the glass to receive the impression exactly. … The invention of this piston improved the molded Cristal, rendered an immense service to the Cristal and glass industry, and greatly increased production. Bontemps then went on to describe his own invention, which facilitated the inflation of much larger pieces of cristal.

My drawing in photo 1 is a good rendition of Robinets invention taken from another drawing in Georges Bontemps “Guide Du Verrier” c. 1868. Probably drawn from memory some 40 years after he fact. I think incomplete as I see no mechanism in the cut-away drawning on the left to “load” the spring and thus activate the piston. The assumption is that while the original invention was somewhat primitive, further refinement and innovation perfected this technique over time. Photo 2 is a French patent drawing of Georges Bontemps 1833 invention using the same basic principle of producing air pressure by mechanical means. His patent application mentions that his device could be adapted to free blown or mould blown glass.

Launay Hautin et Cie:

   In 1831 Saint-Louis, Baccarat, and two smaller glass houses ( probably Choisy-le-Roi and Bercy ) combined forces and signed a contract with the Paris firm of Launay Hautin et Cie, who became the sole distributor, the wholesaler, for their cristal ware. Under the contract Launay Hautin took care of all sales at a price agreed upon by the four companies, (a sort of 1830 price-fixing), which included all colorless cristal. It was to be effective until 1855.
   The two smaller companies bowed out of their obligation before 1850. One closed and the other no longer made cristal. By 1852 the contract with the two larger companies, Baccarat and Saint-Louis, was ended.
   The period of 1830 to 1850 the cristal wares, plain, cut and molded of Baccarat and Said Louis were well documented in the Launay Hautin wholesale catalogs. Those in existence today range in dates from 1834-1850.

The term Moulés en Plein (moulded in full) appears as early as 1827 in a publication of the Exposition des Produits de l’Industries Franciase. it is shown as a new addition to the items exhibited.


Characteristics:

   Pressure molding, that is using a pump or piston for blowing glass, can best be described as follows: A gather of glass is attached to the blowpipe by the glassblower; the gather is marvered; the blowpipe with the marvered gather is held in a vertical position with the gather in the mold; the mouth end of the blowpipe is put in contact with the piston by means of a tube running from the piston; by releasing the pressure in the piston to gather of glass in the mold is inflated mechanically, forcing the hot glass against the walls of the mold; the blowpipe is detached from the piston; the glassblower takes over the blowpipe which is still attached to the object in the mold; the mold is opened and the glassblower proceeds as though he had just blown the glass himself; the glassblower cracks-off the object from the blowpipe and it is annealed. Then the glasscutter does the finishing work of cutting and polishing the cracked-off area and leveling the base rims.

 A ghost of the outside moulding/pattern can be felt on the inside of any vessel of depth, such as goblet forms, vases, etc. The moulding it self quite well defined, especially the stippled “lacy” patterns. The non-stippled patterns seem to be of a softer nature in the moulding, but still well defined.

The weight of an article is unusually heavy because of the thickness of the glass, as well as the high lead content.

   In Penny Cycolpaedia, published between 1833 and 1843, an English analyst, Arthur Aikin, said the amount of lead in French glass was excessive. He went on to say that the excessive lead content made the glass inconveniently soft. This factor was probably a consideration for pressure blowing into the deeply carved designs of the mould; the softer the glass the better the impression.

Another factor is the applied stem and foot usually on non-stippled drinkware. The bottom of the foot usually ground and polished with a cut radiant star. Other articles in the non-stippled patterns may have cutting done in various areas where there is no pattern moulding. Some stemware is shown in the catalogs with what looks to be probably a cut stem. The stippled “lacy” type patterns invariably have a moulded/patterned foot, probably the stem as well. The bottom foot ring ground and polished. Supposedly it was possible to order some of these patterns with or without Sablée (stippling) as the French termed it.

I have not handled much of the Sablée type of patterns so cannot speak from any real experience. Would like very much to see photos and information from anyone with examples.

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Offline cagney

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Re: Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2022, 01:13:57 AM »
 Four examples from my collection, past and present. All pictured in the Luanay Hautin catalog c. 1840.
CORDIAL/LIQUER: No. 503 "taille a cotes fines". Variations in cutting No. 1322 ( finger cutting above pattern angled instead of vertical). No. 1280 semi straight stem probably cut.
GOBLET: No. 553 " moule a draperies". Variation 1271 stem probably cut.
LIQUER BOTTLE: No.1292
DECANTER: No. 550

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Offline ian the sculptor

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Re: Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2022, 08:36:15 AM »
I'm curious about the U bend in the pipe between the bellows and the blowpipe (bottom illustration). I can't see the advantage, unless perhaps this is to allow a means of warming the air in the pipe before it goes into the hot glass ?

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Offline cagney

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Re: Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2022, 09:29:45 AM »
 My understanding of the operating procedure is as follows. There were stopcocks at both ends of the tubing. The operator would build up pressure in the tubing, then close off the bellows end. Open the blowpipe end, inflate the gather, then close close off this end to prevent re entry of air from the blowpipe. This procedure could then be repeated if need be. I would suppose the bend would allow for a certain volume of air to be attained without taking up too much space.

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Offline Ekimp

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Re: Baccarat, St. Louis, Launay Hautin and Moulés en plein
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2022, 12:42:00 PM »
Interesting.

There is more on Robinet’s piston pump here https://pressglas-korrespondenz.de/aktuelles/pdf/pk-2006-1w-montes-age-d-or.pdf including a description and schematic of its operation.

And this one might be of interest https://www.pressglas-korrespondenz.de/aktuelles/pdf/pk-2012-4w-sg-voneche-tarif-1823-1825-moules.pdf
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