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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Cut Glass Conversions
by Emily Kaufman

( Article orginally published July 1952 )

UNLIKE many collectibles which are used solely for display, most cut glass pieces purchased today are also put to their original purpose to add sparkle and elegance to a table setting. Occasional pieces like the water carafe, once the mark of a well appointed table, are no longer in vogue. Nor are the tall, rather slender vases as popular for flowers as they once were.

It is such pieces, handsome yet not immediately functional, that Harry Hartman of Vernon Antiques, Mt. Vernon, New York, likes to reclaim from comparative obscurity and bring literally into the light. Mounted as lamps, they make stunning accessories in any traditional room, and the carafes, in particular seem designed to glamorize milady's dressing table.

Busy Mr. Hartman takes his cut glass pieces to be mounted by professional lamp people, but the skillful home craftsman can easily add this to his do-it-at-home projects. Though an adapter can be used which will leave the piece in its original state for reconversion at any time, Mr. Hartman prefers to have the piece mounted with the electrical outlet through the base. This entails the drilling of an opening for the rod through the bottom of the piece. Diamond drills are used for such a process, and the home craftsman who hesitates to try his hand at this can call on professional help for the drilling.

For the inserted rod, "crystal tubing," really a colorless plastic, is most satisfactory. I1' brass tubing is used, Mr. Hartman has it silvered, as he does all the brass parts, bases and caps. The silver finish seems the accepted combination to complement the cut glass, and only on special request does he specify brass base and capping. Cast metal bases are never used, as the weight and composition have a tendency to cause the glass to crack.

In selecting water bottles or vascs for lamps, it is best to choose pieces with sufficient cutting to hide most or all of' the mounter's pipe. It is easy enough to find carafes of the same height, if not the identical pattern to make up a mated pair, though matching pairs are still to be found.

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