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THE years from 1850 to 1914 were an exceptionally dynamic period for the glass-making industry in Britain, Europe and America, when manufacturers competed with each other to create innovative and cost-effective techniques to produce a phenomenal range of designs of hand-formed decorative glass for the domestic and export markets, much of which has survived. From the classical forms of the 1850s to the Art Nouveau period, this source book looks at the decorative techniques of mainly British manufacturers, including iridescent finishes, glass beads, enamelling and oil gilding, Venetian techniques, colour splashed glass, gold and silver foil and airtrap patterns.

See the marvels of machine threading in this book. During these boom years acid etching was developed, as was intaglio cutting and sand blasting alongside the traditional cutting and engraving techniques, while cost-effective mass production for the cheaper domestic market came from the invention of machinery to make press-moulded glass.

There are three chapters on designs with UK/US price guides for the pieces and where possible attributions to specific manufacturers. One of these design chapters is titled “food containers” which rather downgrades some of these exquisite tazzas and bowls and a lovely Burmese salmon pink toothpick holder by Thomas Webb & Sons c.1888.

Some of the flower vases are theatrical and many are over-embellished for current taste. Best of all are the designs for the jugs, decanters, carafes and drinking glasses, which show off to brilliant effect the decorative look, some of which is highly desirable to today’s collectors. These include some very contemporary looking pieces by Hodgetts, Richardson & Son and most especially a jug and tumbler banded in turquoise c.1878, and a large clear glass jug with a machine threaded body formed from a mould of ten projecting ribs c.1876. Prior to this date the decoration of glass items with threading was done by hand or picking up canes of glass from a dip mould; the result of this was often uneven. In 1876 William J. Hodgetts of Hodgetts, Richardson & Son registered a patent for the design of a machine to produce regular spaced threading, either thick or thin and which could also be

With sketch illustrations, Chapter 5 rattles off the registered designs of seven major glass manufacturers working between 1850 and 1914 in the Birmingham, Manchester and Stourbridge areas, and these obviously include the Richardsons, Stevens & Williams Ltd, Thomas Webb & Sons and John Walsh Walsh. Hefty price.