Notes on the Glass Galleries
Under each piece in the galleries is a brief description and the following annotations:
Mk - manufacturers trade mark or 'unmarked'
RegMk Lozenge or RDnumber - marked with registration lozenge or number
H, W, L - Height, Width, Length in mm
Pressed and Mould Blown glass
Pressed glass is a generic term for this type of glass. Although a lot of the items are mechanically 'pressed' by
the glassworkers, a number were also 'mould blown'. With mechanical 'pressing', molten glass is
introduced to the mould, then a plunger is pressed into the mould to produce the item. On pressed pieces the
plunger can also be machined to produce an internal design inside the piece being made.
A number of the patterns could only be mould blown, these are where the necks are narrower than the body and a plunger could not be used. With these pieces the glass would be 'blow' glass into a mould, either by hand or by machine, the mould opened and the blowing rod cut off. When cold the glass 'rim' of the item would be ground off, which often results in chips to the top rim of the glass. Items produced by this method are often not as 'crisp' as those produced by press moulding, not so much pressure is produced using the blow moulding method. The factory mark, if present, is always on the bottom of these items and is frequently not very clear due the the moulding method used. On the other hand, blow moulding allows other decorations to be used such as on cased, nugget or spatter glass, where 2 or 3 layers of glass or inclusions can be added by the glass blower before being blown into the mould. Looking through the pattern books you can see which items are made by which method.
Sowerby Glass Colours
Opal and Blanc de Lait
There is some debate as to whether Sowerby white and opalescent glass are Opal or Blanc de Lait. Raymond Slack, in his book, calls the white glass 'Opal' and the opalescent glass 'Blanc de Lait'. I think that this is correct and will go with this.
The standard malachite colours are purple, blue and green. Page 3 of the Sowerby Pattern Book VIII 1880 mentions brown malachite, this is what Sowerby's call purple malachite.
When purple malachite is photographed it does take on a brown colour. I have listed this malachite as Purple Malachite, the name by which it is now commonly known.
Slack also refers to Brown when talking about purple malachite.
Under the Malachite section I have listed one piece of 'brown malachite'. This item is a small, shot glass thimble, with 'Just a Thimbleful' caption. This item has a definite 'brown' colour. I have only ever seen 3 of them, and it is the only item I have seen in this colour.
Spatter and Nugget glass
I have listed a few items as 'Spatter' glass. This is a mould blown 'marbled' glass, produced by marvering small pieces of (usually) white glass onto the
gather before it is blown into the mould. I have called it 'spatter' glass, as this seems to be the 'generic' name for it.
As far as I know Sowerby did not give it a particular name.
Another type of cased, mould blown glass is Sowerby Nugget glass. This has an inside colour, then a layer of mica flakes then a layer of either blue or amber translucent glass on the outside. Nugget glass was made in either blue or 'gold', an example of blue Nugget is shown.
Sowerby Venetian glass
Most of Sowerby's output was pressed/mould blown glass but in 1876/7 they introduced their hand blown Venetian series.
Items are either clear or transparent bottle green glass with opaque blue rim edges, prunts or threading.
There is one page in Sowerby Pattern Book VIII 1880 (page 14) showing some of the designs. Please see Cottle (book) for more details.
I am particularly interested in this range of glass, if you have any information or pieces for sale I would be glad to hear from you.
I have included a 'Mystery Glass' Gallery for unusual and interesting pieces and puzzles.
Any information or comments on these items would be appreciated, please use the Contact form.