Glass Guide
A to C

This section contains definitions for the terms used in glass making and in the description of glassware. There are links to other sections to help expand upon and provide illustrations of the terms used.

This section is not as comprehensive as the source texts that are available and these should be consulted for further details. References are shown in bold and links are in blue.

Happy reading.

cabochon. Blobs or drops of glass applied to the surface of a glass body. These drops can be faceted so that they look like jewels.

Caerleon glass. This was a type of glass to imitate the iridescent surface effect of chemicals on the surface of Roman glass after it had been buried for centuries. It was produced by Stevens and Williams in around 1919. It is notable for its similarity to modern studio glass.

Caithness Glass Limited. Glass house in Scotland at Wick, Oban and Perth. It began in 1961, but sadly went into administration. It was very famous for its paperweights, with animals, scenes and millefiori inside. It also acquired the rights to produce Whitefriars paperweights. It also made tableware, and coloured art glass and cameo glass, right up until recently. It is now owned by Edinburgh crystal. See mark.

Calcite glass. A glass invented by Frederic Carder for Steuben, circa 1910. It is a creamy coloured glass and was often used for lampshades, as it produced a soft light. It was also treated to produce iridescent surfaces, such as Aurene.

cameo glass. Cameo originally referred to cutting through layers in stone or shell, to produce a multi-coloured image in relief. The same effect can be achieved when using layers of different coloured glass. The Romans were the first to produce a cameo effect, and produced the famous Portland Vase which is white glass on blue. It is in the British Museum in London. The Chinese have also been making cameo glass for some time too, typically on snuff bottles, brush pots, vases and bowls. Cameo was re-invented in Britain by Pargeter and Northwood in Stourbridge in 1876. They reproduced the Portland Vase, carving it by hand. Webb then commissioned Northwood, and George Woodall one of the greatest craftsmen to produce floral and classical vases and plaques. The detail and the quality of these has never been equalled. A white glass image on a coloured body was typical, and eventually they began to introduce cameo with several different coloured layers and more fluid and organic styles. Galle observed this work and introduced his own style of cameo during the Art Nouveau period. Many other glass makers also produced cameo, including Daum, Muller Freres, Webb and Stevens and Williams. Cameo glass is still made today, all across the world. (see Falcon Glasshouse for encrusted cameo).

candelabrum. A candlestick with two or more branches in which to hold candles. Often these were made to be placed on tables, but there are also large floor standing candelabra. Some English candelabra are festooned with chains of glass, drops and icicles, and these camouflage the branches.

cane. A thin glass rod which can be made of even thinner glass threads which produce an image or design when viewed in cross section. These canes can be arranged in a millefiori pattern, often used in paperweights. The glass threads are produced by stretching a piece of molten glass thinner and tinner.

carafe. Originally a bottle for water or wine, which had a thin neck and no stopper. Also refers to a wider necked bottle, with an inverted tumbler over the neck, which contains water for use on a bedside table. Carafes are still used in restaurants to dispense wine or water.

Caranza, Amedee de. Caranza began as a manager in a decorating workshop in Longwy, now famous for its ceramics. He also went on to work with at Vallauris for Clement Massier which was famous for its iridescent decoration. His major contribution to glass development was achieved in Paris where he decorated glass using variations on the techniques used for ceramics to produce glass with a soft iridescent finish in the Art Nouveau style. Later he also worked at Copillet. See mark.

Carder, Frederick. Carder was an English glass designer at Stevens and Williams in Stourbridge from 1880 to 1903. Here he designed cameo glass and airtrap vases. In 1903, he went to the United States and founded Steuben glass with Hawkes. It was eventually bought by Corning glass. Carder designed some special iridescent glass, such as Aurene, Calcite, verre de Soie. He introduced cameo to Steuben, plus other internally decorated glass such as Cintra, Cluthra, Moss Agate, and Intarsia. He also designed glass sculptures using the lost wax technique (cire perdue) and coloured glass such as alabaster. The glass produced during this period is of the same quality as Tiffany.

Carnival Glass. This was first introduced in the US around 1905. It is iridescent due to a surface coating. This was cheaper than adding colouring material to the batch of molten glass. Carnival glass was offered as prizes at fairs. It is a pressed glass and the design is normally exuberant, in green, gold, blue or purple. It was made by many manufacturers, such as Fenton, Northwood, Sowerby, Leerdam. It was remade in the 1970's and it is still made today. It has a strong following and varies from the mundane to the beautiful.

cased glass. This refers to glassware made with one layer of glass encasing another. The outer layer is blown into a mould into a cup shape, and then the inner layer is blown inside it. The glass is reheated in order for it to fuse together. Cased glass is used in the production of cameo glass. It is different to flashed glass.

cast glass. Glass produced by either pouring molten glass into a mould or by heating glass in a mould until it conforms to the shape of the mould. Moulds can be fully formed shapes or sand cast and rough hewn.

celery glass or vase. A tall vase, with a short stem and large flat base for serving celery upright. Variations exist with no stem and these became less common in the 20th century. It has been suggested that during the second world war glass vases were lightly stencilled with the word 'Celery'. This allowed wartime restrictions to be circumvented and decorative glass to be sold as utilitarian. They originally date from the late 18th Century in England. Many have been very nicely decorated with cutting and pressed glass versions by Sowerby for example.

chair. The chair refers either to the bench which the glass blower uses to form the shape of the glass vessel whilst it is molten, by rolling it backwards and forwards whilst attached to the blowpipe, or the chair can refer to the team which works together with the glass blower.

chalcedony. See imitation stoneware

chalice. A goblet with a wide bowl.

Chance Brothers. Chance was based in Birmingham between 1824 and 1981. They are more recently famous for the decorative transfer printed designs on thin glass during the 1950's and 1960's which were very contemporary. Textured glass was also introduced and handkerchief vases which were inspired by the famous Venini handkerchief vases.

chandelier. A lighting fixture with candles or lights which is attached to a ceiling, and has glass decorations and festoons such as glass chains, prisms and drops. Drops are pieces of glass used for ornament, and are in a variety of shapes, prismatic, icicles, button, pear, spear or rule.

Chihuly, Dale. Chihuly is a glass artist from the United States. His glass is characterised by very thin shells and bubbles and has recently created large chandeliers made of hundreds of individually blown shells and bubbles in many colours. Highly innovative and one of the major glass makers at the end of the 20th century.

Chinese glass. Glass was made in China from about 435AD. The Peking Imperial Palace glass house began in about 1680 and re-discovered cameo glass.

Chinese snuff bottles. Chinese snuff bottles can be made in a variety of materials, but glass is a particularly interesting medium. The traditional shapes are flat and round or oval, but there are more exotic shapes and when cameo is added or internal painting they are a decorative item in their own right. Chinese snuff bottles warrant a special investigation in their own right.

Chippendale. A popular design, which was made by Davidson in the 1930's after they bought the rights and moulds from Ohio Flint Glass Company.

Christian, Desire. Christian trained as a glass decorator and worked at Burgun, Schverer and Cie around 1864. There, he and Galle experimented with glass. The majority of his work was done for Galle, but he also worked for Vallerysthal. He produced cameo and intaglio cut glass in the Art Nouveau style. The quality of the work is equivalent to the very best. Highly desirable. See mark.

Cintra glass. Cintra is a type of glass that was invented by Frederick Carder at Steuben around 1917. It was created by rolling the gather of molten glass on powdered coloured glass, and was then covered by another layer of glass which gave it an optical finish. It was used for Cologne bottles and other decorative items.

cire perdue. A model of the desired item is made in wax, then encased in a mould, and then the wax is heated so that it runs out of the mould. Molten glass is then poured into the mould to form the final desired item. The mould is broken and the item released. Sometimes powdered glass is packed into the mould and heated to melt and fuse together instead of molten glass. Cire perdue means lost wax and it is known as the lost wax technique.

Clichy Glassworks. This was founded in Pont de Sevres. Between 1846 and 1857 it made paperweights. It became Cristallerie de Sevres et de Clichy when it was bought by Sevres in the 1880's. Sevres glass is still in production, it has joined forces with Daum. Produces tableware and art glass including figurative work all mounted on black glass bases. Frequently misattributed.

Cloud glass. This is a type of pressed glass, with swirls of colour inside the main body. It was developed by Davidson in the 1920's and was very popular around this time. It came in many colours, green, brown, amber, blue, whilst red and grey are rare. It was remade in the 1940's with a green body and purple swirls.

Clutha glass. Not to be confused with Cluthra glass. Clutha glass is a type of glass invented by James Couper in the 1890's. James Couper was based in Glasgow and Clutha is the Gaelic word for Clyde, which is the river in Glasgow. Some pieces were designed by Dresser and Walton. The glass is streaky, with bubbles and aventurine. The general colours are greeny, with blue, yellow and smokey streaks. Not to be confused with a Webb glass called 'Old Roman Glass', but it does not have aventurine. See mark.

Cluthra glass. Not to be confused the Clutha glass. Cluthra glass was invented by Steuben in the early 1900's. It is similar to Cintra glass, but has larger air bubbles and heavier casing. (A lighter weight glass version of Cluthra was produced by Nazeing).

coin glass. A glass with a coin inside the hollow knop of the stem. The date on the coin can be earlier than the date of manufacture of the glass. In recent times a coin has been used to commemorate a special occasion such as a coronation.

cold enamelling. Enamel which is applied to a cold glass as a decoration. It is not fired and sometimes wears off.

collar. A circle of glass used to disguise the join between a bowl of a glass and its stem.

coloured glass. Since 1500 BC copper had been used to colour glass blue, green and red. The different colours were achieved by using different concentrations. Later gold was used to achieve a ruby red glass, and it was in the 19th century that glassmakers in Bohemia began to experiment and create new glass colours and effects with Hyalith and Lithyalin glass. After this most of the great glass houses of the world developed their own colours and types of glass.

(1) Annagelb - which as the name suggest was named by Josef Riedel after his wife and is yellow. A uranium fluorescent glass c1830.

(2) Annagrun - greenish version of (1)

(3) Amberina - reheating glass to cause a colour change from a light amber to a ruby colour at the top. Pioneered by Locke at New England Glass in the late 1880's and later used by Libbey. Mount Washington produced similar glass in the US. Moser and Whitefriars in Europe have produced similar styles in free blown glass. Sowerby and Hobbs, Brockunier and Co. produced this under license.

(4) Blue - produced by the appropriate copper or cobalt oxide.

(5) Green glass. produced by the appropriate copper, chromium or iron oxide. It is possible to use Uranium salts.

columbia. see Loetz.

combed decoration. A wavy or feathery decoration, often in zigzags. It is formed by applying threads of colour which are then dragged as if applying a comb in alternate directions to produce a zigzag effect.

commemorative glassware. Glassware which recognises special events. There is a wide variety and it ranges from national and international events to family occasions, royalty and famous people. The glassware is decorated by gilding, etching or engraving and enamelling.

Copier, Andries Dirk. Copier was a Dutch designer who worked for Leerdam. He made Unica glass (which were one off creations) and Serica (which were limited editions). He also designed table ware.

Copillet, H.A. Thomas Henri Alfred Copillet was originally a printer, and produced a local newspaper in Paris. When he moved his works to 13 Fauburg de Paris he acquired a kiln in the process, and thus in 1903 was began a new glass works. His designers were Amedee de Caranza and Edouard de Neuville. They produced a whole range of Art Nouveau glassware, many with a dark iridescent finish. They also produced opaline glass, and glass panels for use in church windows. The company went bankrupt in 1906, although the new management (Lefevre and Lhomme) kept a little of the production going for a while, the factory was destroyed during the First World War.

copper wheel. This refers to engraving that it done used small rotating copper wheels with abrasives to cut a pattern, words or pictures.

cornelian see Loetz.

Corning Glass Works. Corning is well known as an industrial, speciality and domestic glassworks. It took over Steuben and has a famous museum of glass at Corning, New York. It made household tableware under the tradename of Pyrex.

Costantini, Vittorio. (1944 - ) Produces highly skilled lampwork and glasswork. Based in Murano and also strongly involved in training. It is doubtful that any worker has ever reproduced nature through glass better.

Couper, James & Sons. This was a glassworks in Scotland, which produced the famous Clutha glass in the 1880's. It's designers included Dresser and Walton. See mark.

cracking off. This is the process of separating the glass from the blow pipe. It is normally initiated by a file passing around the glass at the desired point, and then the glass being broken off by a sharp tap

crackle glass. This is also known as ice glass. It was produced by either plunging the hot glass into cold water, which created a crackled surface effect, or by rolling the hot glass on glass splinters with a little reheating. Both produced an effect like broken ice.

cranberry glassware. A pinky red transparent glassware invented in the 1870's in Britain. It was used in a whole variety forms, such as bowls, vases and baskets. It is very decorative. There is some confussion over the definition, with darker red Ruby glass with gold to create the colour sometimes seen as distinct from cranberry.

Crane, Walter. Crane was a painter and designer, very famous in his day. He was born in 1845 and was part of the Arts and Crafts movement. He produced illustrated books and some of the designs in the books were used by Sowerby in their famous pressed glass. As yet there is no documented connection between Sowerby and Crane. They certainly knew each other, and it is believed that they had a gentlemans agreement. Images of Walter Crane were reproduced in cameo and enamel by Burgun, Schverer and Cie.

crisselling or crizzling. A deterioration in glass, due to an incorrect chemical composition notably excess alkali. Sometimes seen on ancient glass. The surface feels moist, and the glass will eventually decompose and crumble. The presence or absence of this defect cannot be used as an indication of the date alone. The exception being Chinese glass where it is thought to be less common in post 18th century glass.

cristallo. A soda glass from Venice, developed from before 15th Century. Manganese was used to create a very clear glass

Cros, Henri. Cros produced glass panels and sculptures in pate de verre around the end of the 19th Century. He worked and experimented at the Manufacture de Sevres factory. The size and impressionistic quality of these have never been matched. Very rare.

crown glass. To form crown glass, a bubble of glass is blown, then cut open whilst still attached to the blow pipe. This is then spun rapidly until the glass stretches out and forms a large circular flat pane of glass. This is then cut into glass panes. The bull's eye is the thick central piece which had been attached to the blow pipe.

crystal. Crystal glass was invented by George Ravenscroft in 1673. It contained Lead Oxide (instead of the usual Potassium or Sodium oxides), which gave the body of the glass a hardness and brilliance, that was popular and could be cut to great effect.

Crystalex. Conglomerate within the Czech Republic of glass works, since 1974. Produces all sorts of glass, including paperweights, pressed glass and tableware. Includes Harrachov, Kamenicky Senov and Novy Bor glassworks.

cullet. This was the mix of new glass and old bits left over, or broken pieces of glass, which were used in the new ingredients. The old glass was easier to melt, so saved the fuel.

custard cup. A simple glass with a handle, (sometimes with a stem and foot) which was used to serve custard.

cut glass. Glass decorated with facets to create optical and decorative effects. It was produced by a cutting wheel or stone.

Cyprian glass. A type of art glass made by Frederick Carder at Steuben. It is pale blue (almost opalescent) with an iridescent finish.

Cypriote glass. A type of art glass made by Tiffany. It was inspired by ancient Roman glass, and has a surface pitting.

Caithness Glass paperweight glass, Samarkand, late 20th century.
Capella, Bohemia, sandblasted cameo by Frantisek Sebestaafter, made in the late 20th century. After Le Primevere by Mucha
Caerleon Glass, Stevens and Williams, early 1920's.
From the Baby's Opera by Walter Crane published by George Routledge and Sons
Chinese carved, cameo glass, extremely difficult to date but this probably late 19th to early 20th century
An unusual coin glass with the coin encapsulated in the bowl rather than the stem. A folded foot and trumpet form belies the age. The coin is George V. (circa. 1935, prob. Brierley Hill)
A Copier designed Leerdam tazza.
A Stuart glass showing how simple cutting can produce such a delicate form