Glass Guide
N to R

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.

Sa - Sj Sk - Sz T U - V W - Z
ultra violet test. Ultra violet light can be used to test glass for uranium. Apparently it has also been used to test paperweights which are thought to be made by Clichy, Baccarat and Saint-Louis.

unica. see Leerdam

Union Glass Co. A glass house in Somerville Massachusettes, which began in 1851. They made pressed glass and silvered glass. It produced Kew Blas Glassware, which was an iridescent glass with a feathery design. It closed in 1924. See mark.

Uranium glass. The addition of Uranium normally created a yellowy or greeny glass. It could be detected in ultra violet light.

Val Saint-Lambert. This glass house was founded in Seraing-sur-Meuse in 1825. It was on the site of an abbey called Val Saint-Lambert. In 1825 it was part of the Netherlands, but in 1830 it became part of Belgium. It started with basic tableware, and eventually began to produce high quality lead crystal. It merged with several other glassworks, and so became the most well known Belgium glass producer. During the last half of the nineteenth Century, they produced tableware, paperweights, optical, cut, etched, engraved, Venetian style and commercial glass. On the purchase of yet another factory, they could also specialise in lighting. At the start of the Twentieth Century, they began to produce in the Art Nouveau style, with such famous designers as Amedee de Caranza. They were also famous for their Secessionist style, having complimentary metal mounts designed by Gustave Serrurier-Bovy and Pilippe Wolfers. Henry van de Velde also produced designs, including some cut glass, and Victor Horta commissioned light shades. Very famously Desire and Henri Muller worked at Val Saint-Lambert in 1906 producing fantastic Art Nouveau pieces. After the First World War, Art Nouveau was very much out of fashion, and they went back to more rigid cut glass, including some glass which imitated beaten metal by the haphazard system of cutting and carving small facets from the glass. This is called battuto decoration. During the 1930's they produced a wide range of items, from high quality engraved pieces to cheap pressed opalescent glass. Traditional cut glass was to become their main production. To this they added some commissions of famous designers, such as Nanny Still from Finland, Sam Herman and Harvey Littleton. The company was sold to the Belgian government in 1971, and went through some financial problems during the 1970's. Today it is thriving, and has a wide range of designers, including Philippe Starck, and produces very high quality gift and table ware.

Vallerysthal. Vallerysthal is another glass house with a complicated history. It all really started in 1836, in Lorraine, as Societe des Verreries Reunies de Plaine de Walsch et Vallerysthal, which became Klenglin et Cie in 1855. The mix of Bohemian and French glass workers created interesting opaline and decorative glass, and in 1870, this area became part of Germany. However most of their sales had been to France, and as they were no longer within the French territory they found it difficult to export their glass to France. One way around this problem was to purchase Portieux which was in Vosges, and whilst the head office was in Vallerysthal, they could export through Portieux. The new name was registered in French and in German, Verreries Reunies de Vallerysthal et Portieux, and Vereingte Glashutten Von Vallerysthal und Portieux. Desire Christian was commissioned to design cameo glass with floral and scenic themes. Sometimes enamel or gilding was added. After the First World War, the company was returned to French rule. They produced a lot of unusual lidded animal and bird bowls, such as hens on baskets and standing cockerels. From the end of the Second World War it had a difficult time. The Vallerysthal factory closed in 1977, reopened in 1986. The Portieux factory joined the French Crystal Company in 1982, but went bankrupt once and then again as Arts from Portieux. It was bought by Groupe Faience Niderviller in 1996. Portieux still makes some hand blown glass ware and glass using old moulds. Vallerysthal remains a trading name.

Vallien, Bertil. Swedish glass designer who worked for Kosta Boda Afors. Creates unusual textured vases and bowls, and sculptural pieces using sand casting. See mark.

Vannes le Chatel. A glass house which began in 1765. In 1970 became part of CFC, Cie Francaise de Crystal (which owns Daum) Vannes produces Cristal de Sevres. After financial problems, in 1991 it became part of CERFAV the European Centre for Research and Training in Glassmaking, using support from the European Union. Produces tableware and art glass.

Varnish & Co, Edward. Glassworks based in London around 1850. They patented a type of glass now known as Varnish, which was a double walled glass vessel with a silvered internal surface. The hole on the base is plugged with a metal seal, in order to form an airtight seal so that the silver does not tarnish.

Vasart. See Ysart.

vaseline. A yellowy greeny glass with a hint of opalescence, which lights up in ultra violet light. Usually due to the glass containing Uranium. Made in USA, Great Britain and Czechoslovakia.

Venetian glass. Venetian styled glass is characterised by very thin light glass, which is embellished with trails, latticino, aventurine inclusions and elaborate stems. Originally produced in Venice around 450AD and then in Murano from around 1300 to the present day. Venetian style glass was produced in Europe (in Great Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands) in the 17th Century and was revived again in the 1890's in Great Britain by Powell and Sowerby, and in the USA by Union Glass and Steuben.

Venini. Paolo Venini, Giacomo Cappellin, Luigi Ceresa and Emilio Ochs formed Vetro Soffiati Muranesi Cappelin-Venini e C in 1921. Vittorio Zecchin who was the first art director, designed very fine light and thin blown glass, in soft transparent colours. He reflected on ancient Roman and Renaissance glass for inspiration. However the partnership ended in 1925 and Cappelin and Venini split. Vittorio Zecchin remained with Cappelin (which then went bankrupt in 1932), whilst Francesco Zecchin (who was an engineer) formed a partnership with Venini called Vetri Muranesi Venini & C. Napoleone Martinuzzi was artistic director between 1925 and 1931, and at first produced similar fine thin glass vessels, and then produced stronger coloured work with additions of handles and stylised applied figures. Tyra Lundgren designed for them between 1935 and 1948, producing bowls, fish, birds and snakes. Carlo Scarpa, who had worked for Cappelin, now worked for Venini and began to develop many of the types of glass and decorative effects for which they were to become famous. Some of these styles include, Sommerso which looks like a bubble of glass immersed within another bubble of glass, Corroso a surface iridised finish, Battuto a chiseled effect and many many others. In 1946 Fulvio Bianconi began to work for Venini. He produced flamboyant designs including Pezzato vases, which look like a patchwork of coloured glass. During the 1950's and 1960's they also produced lighting and magnificent chandeliers. In 1959, the son of Carlo Scarpa, Tobias Scarpa designed the Occhi or Eye vases. These were made of square murrhines with clear centres that could be described as eyes. Toni Zuccheri designed a series called Bestiario, producing animals and birds. Between 1962 and 1972 Tapio Wirkkala also produced designs for Venini. He produced the hourglass called Ai Lieti Calici, the Bolle bottle, and bowls and plates called Di Tapio. Laura Diaz de Santillana designed mosaic glass and she and her father were artistic directors in the 1970's. During the 1980's Bianconi, Wirkkala and Zuccheri produced new designs. Ferruzzi and Gardini bought the company in 1985. Since then it has collaborated with many Italian designers and designers from other countries such as Timo Sarpaneva. In 1997 Venini became part of Royal Scandinavia with Flos, Royal Copenhagen, Georg Jensen, Boda Nova, Holmegaard and Orrefors Kosta Boda. In 1996 Venini produced limited editions of some of its famous designs by Fulvio Bianconi, Carlo Scarpa, Paolo Venini and Tapio Wirkkala for its 75th anniversary.

Vereinigte Lausitzer. Several glass houses merged in the eastern part of Germany in 1899. They made industrial glass such as light bulbs and was taken over by AEG in 1905. The company was called Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke with a head office at Weibwasser. It began to make table ware and formed an art glass department in 1918. They produced cameo glass in the style of Galle, in mainly pink and brown on white in floral scenes. In the 1930's they were the largest producer of domestic glass in Germany. In the 1930's they produced pressed glass in typical Art Deco styles. Wilhelm Wagenfeld, a Bauhaus designer, became art director in 1935. Amongst the many designers commissioned around this time, was Josef Hoffmann in 1941 who designed a liqueur service called Rapunzel. Wagenfeld designed a set of refrigerator containers which stacked and had interchangeable lids, called Kubus Geschirr which was one of its most famous and popular designs. Production was interrupted by the Second World War. With the division of Germany, Wagenfeld went West to WMF and Vereinigte Lausitzer joined a group of nineteen other glass works in a collective called Vereinigung Volkseigener Betriebe Ostglas. Some of Wagenfeld's designs remained in production until the 1960's, being produced at a variety of sites. They moved into a more Scandinavian style of design in the 1950's.

Verlys. The Holophane company set up business to mass produce optical lenses and pressed glass for industrial use. This was building on the developments of French physicist Andre Blondel on lenses. The French connection continued, when they set up a glass works in Les Andelys, France also producing industrial glass in 1920. They also did a small amount of tableware, which became popular and they established Verrerie d'Andelys as an art ware company, to produce Verlys the trade name for their art ware. The early pieces were unusual, containing trapped air bubbles and metallic oxides within the glass, which was free-blown. In the 1930's fashion changed and this production was dropped in preference for press moulded glass ware. This pressed glass was either transparent, or frosted or opalescent. Some of it was coloured, and they produced all manner of bowls, vases, boxes and shades.

verre de soie. Name of type of glass developed by Steuben, a silk like finish to the surface of the glass.

Vessiere freres. French glass decorators and engravers, based in Nancy, France. It operated between 1902 and 1905.

vetro a fili. From Italian, this means threaded glass, and refers to glass with white or coloured threads of glass which do not cross over each other. They appear in continuous lines and spirals. The threads are embedded within the glass

vetro a reticello. From Italian, this means glass with network. Here the embedded threads form a network. It requires great skill to produce a lattice with equidistant threads. Normally tiny air bubbles are trapped within the lattice.

vetro a retorti. From Italian, a glass with twists. This refers to the embedded threads of glass, which have been twisted around each other in spirals.

Vickers, Percival. This factory in Manchester in Great Britain registered its first design in 1847. At this time it was known as Percival, Yates and Vickers. In 1867 it became Percival, Vickers and Co Ltd and produced some very fine pressed glass. It operated until 1914.

Villeroy & Boch. The famous ceramic manufacturer expanded its product range to a glass works in Wadgassen in Germany in 1843. They produced cameo glass, and later pressed and blown art glass and tableware. See mark.

Vistosi. Guigliemo Vistosi began the company called Vetreria Vistosi in 1945. It specialised in lighting, but branched out into table and art glass in simple plain designs in clear glass. Gino Vistosi designed glass vases which were decorated with bands of red and black murrhines in the 1960's. Alessandro Pianon who worked as a consultant between 1956 and 1970, produced one of their most famous designs, the Pulcini glass chicks. These were graphic in design, in spheres and cubes in bright colours and stood on thin wire legs. Millefiori was used for the eyes. Various designers worked for them during the 1960's including Fulvio Bianconi. Gino Vistosi died in 1980, and in 1985 the company was bought by Maurizio Albarelli (who owned Seguso Vetri d'Arte). Today it predominantly produces lighting.

vitrolux. A trade name for a type of durable enamel, produced by D L Auld Company in 1970. Used for badges, car mascots and to coat bottles.

vitroporcelain. An opaque pressed glass which was patented by Sowerby in 1877 and was to imitate porcelain. The glass was coloured by cryolite, a mineral from Greenland. Produced in many colours and by Davidson and Moore.

Von Spaun, Max Ritter. See Loetz. A glass maker from Bohemia who worked at Loetz.

Vuitton Louis. During the 1920's Vuitton produced cut glass perfume bottles, in Art Deco African tribal and geometric designs. Some were enamelled with, for example, dancers from Diaghilev's Ballet Russes.

A pinch sided trailled vase in with vaseline opalesence around the neck. Shown above in uv light.
A bulbous based long necked blank produced by Daum and cameo etched by C. Vessiere (1900's). This is a variation on the soli fleur - Berluze theme.
A Fazzoletto from the 1950's by Venini.
A pressed glass Villeroy and Boch Cockerel made in the 1990's.
A Bertil Vallien Satelit bowl for Kosta Boda, 1980's.
A Vannes glass novelty animal from the mid twentieth century.