Definitions of: cameo glass - carnival glass - carved glass - cased glass - cobalt glass - crackle glass - cranberry glass - custard glass - cut glass - cut-to-clear
GLOSSARY OF GLASS TERMS
Ca - Cz
The purpose of this guide is to help buyers understand terms
commonly used by E-Bay sellers to describe old American glass (1850-1930).
Please leave feedback by pushing the button at the bottom of the page.
Many thanks to all the E-Bayers who
have contributed photos to this glossary!
The famous Portland Vase at the British Museum:
an example of carved cameo glass.
photo and information courtesy of thebritishmuseum.ac.uk
Cameo Glass: a form of decorated glass. The Corning Museum of Glass defines cameo glass as "glass of one color covered, usually by casing, with one or more layers of contrasting color(s). The outer layers are acid-etched, carved, cut or engraved to produce a design that stands out from the background." The first cameo glass was made by the ancient Romans in 50 B.C. The famous Portland Vase above, currently in the British Museum, is an early example of ancient Roman cameo glass. The vase was made through a method the British Museum calls "dip-overlay": an elongated bubble of dark glass on the end of a blowpipe was dipped into a crucible of molten white glass. The dark and light layers were then blown together, so that the black glass was cased within a layer of white glass. When the glass cooled, a skilled gem cutter carved away the white layer to form a picture in relief. Cameo glass became popular in America at the end of the Victorian Era, and featured prominently in decorative glassware of the Art Nouveau movement.
Canary glass: see "vaseline glass" in this glossary.
A carnival glass bowl, circa 1912,
showing Northwood Glass Co.'s "Nippon" pattern.
photo by *treasurehunter*
Carnival glass: a category of glass. All carnival glass by definition is iridescent -- that is, it has a rainbow-like play of light on its surface. This effect was created by spraying liquid metallic salts on the glass while it was still hot. Carnival glass was an American invention -- it was first issued in 1907 by the Fenton Art Glass Company of Williamstown, West Virginia. American "carnival glass" is defined as iridescent glass issued in the United States between 1907 and the late 1920's. American carnival is a variety of pressed glass: molten glass was poured into a metal mold, and then a metal plunger was used to press the hot glass against the mold, so that the glass took on the shape and design of the mold. After the still-hot glass was removed from the mold, the glassmaker was able to continue shaping the glass piece by, for example, giving it a crimped or ruffled rim, or pulling it to a taller size. Thus, there is great variety among individual pieces cast from the same mold. Carnival glass was manufactured in an endless array of colors -- the bowl shown above, an example of Northwood's "Nippon" pattern, is the carnival color known as "marigold". The major United States manufacturers of carnival glass were Dugan/Diamond, Fenton, Imperial, Millersburg, Northwood, Westmoreland and, to a lesser extent, U.S. Glass. There were also a handful of other companies with a very small carnival glass output: Cambridge, Fostoria, Hazel Atlas, Heisey, Higbee, Jenkins, McKee, and Phoenix. After the carnival glass era in the United States, carnival glass makers emerged in Europe, Australia, Latin America and Asia. If you're interested in learning about carnival glass, we recommend that you visit the phenomenal and encyclopedic website of the renown carnival glass authority, David Doty (ddoty.com), who provides information on every aspect of American carnival glass, including the sales prices of carnival glass pieces sold on E-Bay in the last few years. For information on international carnival glass, we recommend the website of authors Glen and Stephen Thistlewood (geocities.com/Yosemite/Geyser/1799/home.html).
Carved glass: carving is a glass-making technique. Carving is the removal of glass from the surface of a glass piece by means of hand-held tools. The cameo design on the Roman vase shown above under "cameo glass" is an example of carved glass. Carving can be contrasted with the technique known as cutting, which involves the use of mechanical cutting devices such as rotating and grinding wheels. See also "cut glass".
The mouth of a cased glass vase:
pink glass was blown inside a white glass casing,
and the two layers were then fused by heating.
This vase is also an example of overlay.
photo courtesy of curculiosglass
Cosmetics and poison bottles made of cobalt glass
photos by bay-architect
Cobalt glass: a color and kind of glass. Cobalt glass is deep blue in color and produced by adding cobalt oxide to molten glass. True cobalt glass is a "pure blue" -- that is, a blue untinted by violet or green -- but the pure blue hue may range from very dark "midnight" blue to a pale "cornflower" blue. Cobalt glass has been made from the time of the ancient Egyptians through the present. A well-known form of cobalt-blue glassware is Bristol Blue, which first became popular in England in the 17th Century. The use of cobalt to color English glass, however, dates back to at least the 15th Century, when cobalt glass was used in the manufacture of medicine and poison bottles. American cobalt-glass bottles: In America, cobalt glass was used to make a variety of glass products, including Victorian art glass, old glass insulators, and Depression glass. In the world of American antiques, cobalt glass is collected primarily in the form of bottles such as medicine bottles, poison bottles and perfume bottles. The value of such cobalt glass often derives from is significance as a historical artificat -- each bottle illuminates its own special slice of history. The rare 5" cobalt-glass bottle shown above left, for example, is embossed with the words, "Bowman's Beautiful Snow for the Complexion," a product of the Bowman Company, which was founded in 1852 by Henry Bowman, and which operated in the San Francisco Bay Area through 1925. The 9 1/2" bottle above right is a three-sided poison bottle with an applied lip, made from blown glass by the San Francisco based Owl Drug Company in an electric shade of cobalt blue. Owl Drug operated from 1892 to 1920, producing cosmetics, drugs and poisons and issuing bottles of its own design: to prevent accidental use of poisons, poison bottles were often made in strong colors such as cobalt blue, and produced in unusual shapes, such as the triangular pyramidal shape featured here. On the bottle shown above, one of the panels bears an embossed one-winged owl, the second the embossed word "Poison," and the third a paper label. Detailed information on cobalt-glass bottles can be found at the immensely informative Historical Glass Bottle Identification and Information Website (sha.org/bottle/colors.htm#True Blue). Blue Depression glass: Cobalt-blue Depression glass manufactured from the late 1920's through the early 1940's is now much in demand. Among the chief producers of cobalt-blue Depression glass was the Hazel Atlas company, whose patterns Modertone, Royal Lace and Sailboat are highly collectible in cobalt blue. Other producers of cobalt-blue Depression glass included such companies as Fenton, Hocking, Jeanette, Imperial, Paden City, L.E. Smith and Westmoreland. Depression glass reproductions: Buyers should be aware that much of the “cobalt-blue Depression glass” sold through the Internet is not vintage Depression glass. Examples of commonly reproduced cobalt-blue Depression glass patterns and shapes are Jeannette's Floral salt shakers and Cherry Blossom pattern in a variety of pieces; Hocking’s Miss America butter dish and Mayfair cookie jars and salt shakers; and Hazel-Atlas' Royal Lace cookie jars, juices and water tumblers. Hazel-Atlas “Shirley Temple” pieces, originally made in cobalt only in child-sized mugs, cereal bowls and milk pitchers, also appear now on E-Bay in a variety of other reproduced shapes. To protect yourself from fraudulent sales, check for poor mold work on pieces; avoid pieces that show harsh, dark blue coloring rather than the soft cobalt blue of vintage Depression glass; and consult books on Depression glass that list the true colors in which original patterns were issued. We recommend the Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass by Gene & Cathy Florence, which features photographs of cobalt-glass reproductions and provides specific information on how to distinguish them. Carnival glass reproductions: Cobalt glass also seems to be the favorite medium of import companies currently producing cheap knock-offs of American carnival glass. At least two carnival glass patterns have appeared on E-Bay in the form of (non-iridescent) cobalt-blue reproductions: Fenton’s Stag & Holly; and Fish vases originally designed by the Jain Glass Works of India. Indian carnival glass was never issued in cobalt-blue, and Fenton issued its Stag & Holly in cobalt blue in iridescent glass only. To read more about such reproductions, see our guides on Fenton's Stag & Holly and on Jain carnival glass.
A crackle glass lampshade made by Handel Glass,
and a detail showing the surface texture of the glass
photos courtesy of *treasurehunter*
Crackle Glass: glass treated with a specific finishing technique: Crackle glass, also known as ice glass and craquelle glass, is glass whose surface resembles cracked ice. According to the Corning Museum of Glass, the cracked effect is produced by plunging a parrison (cylinder) of hot glass into cold water and withdrawing the glass quickly. The thermal shock causes the surface of the glass to crack. A fresh layer of glass is then added and reheated until the cracks fuse together slightly so that the glass maintains its stability. In America, crackle glass was first made in the 1880's, by such companies as Mt. Washington, Boston & Sandwich, Cambridge, Reading Artistic Glass Works and Hobbs, Brockunier. Handel Glass, founded in Meriden, Connecticut in 1876, issued humidors, vases and lamp shades with crackle glass surfaces; a Handel lamp shade is shown above. Crackle glass regained popularity in America between world wars, after the end of the Art Nouveau movement. Durand Art glass, a short lived glass-maker influenced by Tiffany, Steuben and Quezal, issued ice-glass vases in the late 1920's with names such as "Moorish Crackle" and "Egyptian Crackle". Thereafter, from the 1930's through the 1960's, brightly colored crackled glass was manufactured energetically in the United States, principally by five West Virginia companies: Bischoff, Blenko, Kanawha, Pilgrim and Rainbow. (Other makers of the same period included Bonita, Duncan, Empire, Fry, Hamon, Heritage, Raymor, Tiffin and Viking.) Buyers should note that many new knockoffs of old crackle glass are currently being produced in Taiwan, the Philippines and Mexico. If you're interested in learning more about crackle glass, we recommend the website of the New Zealand Glass Museum (glass.co.nz/crackle.htm).
A Victorian cranberry glass pickle castor
Cranberry glass is a pinkish-red color; the color is produced
by adding gold chloride to molten glass and then reheating it.
photos courtesy of nickadamemous
Cranberry glass: a color and type of glassware. Cranberry glass is defined in An Illustrated Dictionary of Glass as glass "of a reddish-pink color made, in a great variety of forms and styles, in both England (especially at Stourbridge) and the United States." In the U.S., cranberry glass was made as early as the 1820's, but its heyday was from just after the Civil War through the 1890's. Although associated principally with the Victorian Era, cranberry glass continued to be made through the early 20th century until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Cranberry glass was made by mixing gold chloride into molten glass, or gold chloride in combination with the tin compound, stannic chloride. When the glass was reheated, it turned a pinkish-red. Cranberry glass is thus a variation of gold ruby glass, which is made by the same heat-sensitive method. (See "ruby glass" in this glossary.) Some collectors would argue that "cranberry glass" is simply a name that Americans imposed on old ruby glass. Nevertheless, while there is considerable overlap between the categories of cranberry and ruby glass, "cranberry " is a term generally reserved for glass with a definite pinkish hue, while ruby glass may be a deep red. According to John Shuman's The Collector's Encyclopedia of American Art Glass, 2nd ed., old (pre-1914) American cranberry glass pieces were made by mold-blowing or hand-blowing; appear in the form of solid cranberry or cased cranberry glass; and are found with embellishments such as enameling, cutting, threading, etching, overshot, ruffled edging and applied handles, rims and feet. When cased, old American cranberry glass usually appears in one of three forms: with vaseline glass in rubina verde; with an overlay of white or chartreuse cased glass; or as an overlay with clear glass -- in this last form, the cranberry overlay may be cut down to the clear layer to create designs. Old American cranberry glass may have rough or ground pontils, and is occasionally signed or dated. Principal makers of old American cranberry glass included, among others, Beaumont, Mt. Washington, Northwood, Sandwich, T.B. Clark, T.G. Hawkes and Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. Old cranberry glass is usually transparent, but also may have a satinized finish. In addition, in the early 1900's, companies such as Jefferson Glass Co. of Steubenville, Ohio, produced a number of patterns in cranberry opalescent glass; the pitcher below is an example. Buyers should note that such companies as Fenton, Pairpont and Pilgrim have issued contemporary cranberry glass that is sometimes confused with and sold as old cranberry glass. In addition, cheap imitations of old cranberry glass have been made by adding copper oxide instead of gold chloride into molten glass, and by processes involving coating clear glass with inexpensive staining or thin flashing.
A Swirling Maze cranberry opalescent pitcher,
made by Jefferson Glass of Steubenville, Ohio, circa 1903-1904.
photo courtesy of 5hills
Custard Glass: a category of glass. Custard glass is a form of pressed opaque glass that varies in color from ivory to pale yellow to light green. Beginning in the 1870's, glass companies added uranium sulphide to custard glass to tint it yellow, and thus old custard glass glows yellow-green under a black light. The glass often was made with nutmeg (brown) coloring, goofus treatment, or gold enamel decoration. Custard glass was invented in Bohemia in the 1870's, spread to Britain in the 1880's and was introduced to the United States in 1887 by the Dithridge Glass Co. of Pittsburgh. The heyday of custard glass in America was from about 1896 to 1908, but by 1915 it had dwindled in popularity. According to the Glass Encyclopedia, Northwood was the most successful producer of custard glass during this period, introducing an ivory variety decorated with gold enamel called Louis VX (shown below). Other prominent producers of early (1890-1915) American custard glass included Cambridge, Coudersport, Dugan & Diamond, Fenton, Fostoria, Imperial, Heisey, Jefferson, Tarentum, U.S. Glass, and (from 1915-1930) McKee.
An 1897 Northwood "Louis XV" custard glass spooner:
this piece has gold enamel trim and is the color Northwood called "ivory".
photo courtesy of hawkmen
Cut Glass: cutting is a glass-making technique. The Corning Museum of Glass defines cutting as "the technique whereby glass is removed from the surface of an object by grinding it with rotating wheels made of stone, wood, and cork. The first stage of the process employs a stone wheel under a continuous stream of water. Later, wheels of fine-grained stone and wood, fed with various abrasives, are used to grind and polish the surface." Glass cutting is used to create a design by making facets and grooves in glass, such as those seen in 18th and 19th century British, Irish and American lead crystal. An example of cut glass is shown below. See also "brilliant cut glass" in this glossary.
To decorate this piece, a glassmaker flashed a clear glass object
with a thin layer of colored glass. The colored glass was then cut away,
exposing the clear glass underneath to make a recessed design.
This method of decoration is called cut-to-clear.
Cut-to-Clear: a glass-decorating technique. This is a decorating technique for flashed glass: when clear glass is "flashed" or coated with a layer of colored glass, the top colored layer may then be carved or cut away to create a recessed clear design. An illustration of cut-to-clear technique is shown above. See "flashing" in this glossary.
Click here for glossary page D - E.
Many thanks to E-Bayers bay-architect, 5hills, hawkmen, nickadaemous and *treasurehunter* for generously contributing photographs to this page of the glossary. Rights to all photos belong to the photographers, and pictures should not be used without their permission. Text is (c) 2007 curculiosglass, all rights reserved. To locate any E-Bay seller mentioned here, just click on "Site Map" at the bottom of your E-Bay screen, and then click on "Feedback Forum" at the right top corner of the large menu that pops up. Type or copy the seller's name into the Feedback Forum's search blank.
If you found this guide helpful, please leave feedback on the guide by pressing on the button below -- this helps the guide rise in the review index, so that buyers can find it more easily. To read our guides on carnival and opalescent glass, click on GUIDE INDEX.