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Antique Glass, Glass, And More Glass
Varicolored glass has always appealed to the buying public and was much produced. Spangled glass, a cased glass with spangles or flakes of mica in the inner layer which r:flect and sparkle through the colored outer layer, and spattered glass, were popular during the 1880's, as was agata glass. Agata, produced only by the New England Glass Company in 1886, resembled peachblow with a spattered mottling on a glossy finish.
Another varicolored glass is Burmese, which is salmon pink shading to lemon yellow, dating from 1885.
Satin glass and mother-of-pearl satin glass were first made during the 1880's. A treat to the hand as well as to the eye, the beauty of satin glass is enhanced by a satiny finish from which it gets its name. All antique glass may be pretty to look at, and your satin glass will be attractive on display too, but unlike other glass satin glass must be handled and used in order to obtain its full benefits. This kind of glass lends itself particularly well to floral arrangements-a point to keep in mind when shopping for glassware.
The name Tiffany is as familiar to collectors of old glass as it is to those who fancy jewelry. An innovation by Louis C. Tiffany was called Favrile glass and enjoyed an intensive production from 1893 to about 1910. Favrile is known far its iridescent quality and its brilliant deeply toned colors. These articles are marked with the Tiffany name or initials and some bear a number with letters.
Other iridescent glass considered by many as being just as fine as Tiffany's was introduced in 1904 by an Englishman, Fredrick Carder, who was associated with the Steuben Glass Works of Corning, New York (now a part of Corning Glass Company,) Named Aurene, it was made until 1933.
Quezal glass was made from 1917 to 1918 at Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company in Brooklyn, New York, and was similar to Favrile and Aurene. These are often confused with the glass actually made by Tiffany.
Still other iridescent glass was made by numerous companies in tremendous quantities from 1910 to the late 1920's. Avidly collected from its inception, iridescent glass is found today only in limited amounts.
Cranberry glass had an humble beginning, sold cheaply through mail-order houses and variety stores. The Montgomery Ward catalog of 1895 showed much cranberry glass. The soft color of this glass still pleases us today.
Millefiore glass obtained its name from the Italian word meaning "thousand flowers." Rods of glass of different colors were arranged in bundles, which were then formed into one solid mass. When cut crosswise it showed a delightful pattern resembling a bouquet of tiny flowers. Used for paperweights, it was often set into a ball of plain glass, When blown, the millefiore pattern made most attractive objects such as vases.
Overlay or cased glass is so called because it is made by encasing the glass article within a thin layer or coating of another color glass, or sometimes several layers of different colors over the base. This then is decorated by cutting a design through the outer layer or layers to reveal the glass beneath. This technique had been made earlier in Bohemia and so this type of glass is sometimes referred to as Bohemian glass even though not made there. The overlay is not always cut into patterns; sometimes it is left plain, thus showing a different color glass on the interior than exterior. This was often the case with oil lamp shades which are, indeed, lovely when lit up at night.
Witch balls are blown glass balls with various forms of decoration. They were made in many sizes and colors. It is said that they were made to hang on a cord suspended from the ceiling, and were supposed to repel witches in the mid-Victorian times or later. They have one useful purpose though; they can be used in the necks of vases or jars to keep the dust out. Whether they actually do repel witches is yet to be proved; but they are colorful.
Most cut glass is very heavy and cumbersome. There is a lot of cut glass which does not date back very far, and you should take care in purchasing so you do not buy the late glass mistaking it for the old. Some pressed glass made in imitation of the more expensive cut variety is confusing to the novice collector. If you will run your fingers over the outside cut-pattern portion of the article, you will soon be able to feel the sharper difference between it and pressed-cut copies. Another tell-tale sign is in the exactness of the pattern itself: since no human hand is as accurate as a machine, there will be places where parts of the pattern are a little off center or just a tiny bit crooked. Buy whichever you like, but at least know the difference and do not pay the higher cut glass price for the less expensive pressed-cut variety out of ignorance. If you entertain a great deal and need large pieces, the pressed copies may very well be a better buy for you since accidental breakage will not be so costly. With the difference saved (and you should actually put aside the difference or there will be no savings) you can purchase finer pieces of the sort used in less hazardous ways.
Old glass is often cloudy in appearance. If this does not respond to washing in hot soapsuds there are other methods that may bring back the original appearance. First try a strong alkaline solution made of soda left standing in the container (it is usually vases and bottles so afflicted) for a week. If no apparent change after washing this out with soap and warm water, then fill the article with vinegar and repeat the process. Sometimes a strong hot soap solution in water and several spoonfuls of small steel (not lead because lead is too soft) shot. Shake the container repeatedly so that the steel shot will come into contact with every part of the stained surface.
If the glass is for display rather than for use, the frosted appearance may be rendered almost clear by the application of ordinary mineral oil or Canada balsam which is applied by the use of cotton batting on the end of a bent wire. This improvement will last longer if the bottle or flask is tightly sealed after the application.
Some glass will not respond to any method and is referred to as "sick glass." If the glass does not respond favorably to any of these methods then it is too sick to cure and must be discarded.