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
Wagenfeld, Wilhelm. A Bauhaus designer. See Vereinigte Lausitzer.

Walsh Walsh, John. John Walsh Walsh purchased a factory at Winson Green in Birmingham in 1850, and began to register designs. Some of these were highly commercial, such as a soda water bottle in 1853 and an inkwell in 1855. Unfortunately he died in 1864, to be followed by his son (also called John Walsh Walsh) in 1879. The executors decided to sell, and Ellen Eliza (one of John Walsh Walsh Seniors' daughters) persuaded her husband, Thomas Ferdinand Walker, to purchase the company. There was a new enthusiasm for the business. Lewis John Murray was appointed as the director, and new types of glass were registered. They registered Crushed Strawberry and Electric Blue, which had outer pink or blue bodies with ivory inners. They had clear glass feet and applications. Floral, another design, was pink and ivory, but in reverse. They also developed very popular palm tree vases, which were copied by other manufacturers, and they had to threaten legal action. They also introduced new cut designs. At the end of the 20th Century they developed Opaline Brocade. This was a very fine glass, often in a straw colour with a complex pattern of white veins within the glass body. They applied this type of glass to bowls, vases, lampshades, epergnes and flower holders. In 1908 they patented the Vesta Venetian range, which had a threaded and rippled effect on the delicate straw and white coloured glass bodies. Lewis John Murray died in 1912, and the management was taken over by John Walsh Walsh's grandson, Philip Jeffrey Walker. In 1913, they developed a new cut, called the Koh-i-noor, it was very popular during some very difficult trading years. They also produced some very fine acid etched engraving at this time. Philip Jeffrey Walker died in 1923, and the company was then to be directed by R H Wood and W G Riley (who had married the great granddaughter of John Walsh Walsh). During the 1920's colour began to be more important. They produced some cased and cut glassware, which might look Bohemian to our eyes these days. This was in the new Kenilworth cut and used strong colours against clear. There was also a new range of bowls and vases called Primrose. These were similar to the earlier Crushed Strawberry and Electric Blue, but had yellow outers and white inner layers. They also used some green and blue for the outer layers, but this is more rare. They enjoyed novelties, and registered a flower holder which could be removed without the arrangement being disturbed. They produced what they described as Vesta lighting panels in opalescent glass showing the twelve labours of Hercules. At the end of the 1920's they produced a Pompeian range of coloured glass. This was cheaper, but coloured and filled with random bubbles and had a mass appeal. They also produced an iridescent range of very thin coloured glass called Sunbeam in yellow and Moonbeam in blue. During the 1930's and early 40's, they set the pace in the British glass industry with their ranges of clear cut glass. They varied from complex floral designs to the graphic artistry of Clyne Farquharson who produced the famous Leaf, Kendal, Barry and Albany designs amongst many others. The Second World War interrupted the production of decorative glass, and during this time they produced lighting glass for military aircraft and ships. In 1945 Clyne Farquharson designed some communion vessels for Coventry cathedral and St Matthew's Church in Bristol. But after the war, it was difficult to find the skilled labour to produce the cut glass for which John Walsh Walsh had been so famous. Instead they attempted to produce similar glass through pressing. The cut glass department was closed in 1949 and the factory finally closed in 1951. See mark.

Walter, Almeric. Famous for his work in Pate de verre. He was born in Sevres in 1870. The decorative arts was in his blood, his father and grandfather had been porcelain decorators at Manufacture de Sevres. He decorated faience in his own workshops based in Sevres in his formative years. Pate de verre had been developed by Cros and Dammouse at Sevres. Walter along with Levy, a former teacher of his from Sevres, developed a pale translucent form of pate de verre. Antonin Daum offered to buy the rights to their methods. After some disagreements Walter began work at Daum perfecting the colour strength. He was joined by a Daum designer, Henri Berge who was greatly influential in their pate de verre production. The range consisted of plaques, vases and bowls. Many small highly decorative items were produced some in the form of animals. These were produced as individual figures or decorative additions to bowls and dishes. Insects, lizards and small birds were modelled. After the WWI, Walter who had joined the army recommenced production with Berge. Their pre-war work was essentially Art Nouveau in form. This continued although some attempt at simpler forms were introduced in the 1920's, particularly the female form in limited colour ways. Jewellery was also produced some in bolder styles. Berge died in 1934 and although Walter had worked with other designers and artists (including Descomps, Cayette, Corrette, Duberry, Geno, Mercier) the loss of this partnership was significant. Art Deco designs did not sit easily with the medium and Walter, who was slowly losing his sight, stopped production. Daum continued production and, ironically, went on to produce modernist work in the medium. Walter's work, and that of Berge, is now very highly thought of.

Walton, George. Worked on Clutha designs at Couper in 1890. In the forefront of Arts and Crafts design, he was a glass designer and architect from Great Britain.

Warff, Goran. Swedish glass designer. Worked for Pukeberg and Kosta Boda.

Waterford. George and William Penrose started a glass company in Waterford in Ireland in 1783. They made cut glass and chandeliers but went out of business in 1851. In 1947 Bernard Fitzpatrick began the Waterford Glass that we know today, and which was taken over by the Irish Glass Bottle Company in 1950. The skills of the local glass workers were developed by drafting in experts from Italy, Germany, England and Czechoslovakia. It still continues to make traditional cut glass, and in 1986, Waterford merged with Wedgwood, to form Waterford Wedgwood. Recently John Rocha (a clothes designer) has designed a range of simple modern glass ware.

Webb. One of the great Stourbridge firms. Thomas Webb formed a partnership with the Richardsons in 1829 to form Webb and Richardsons. His father John Webb, went into partnership with John Shepherd in 1833, to form Shepherd and Webb at the White House glassworks. A couple of years later John Webb died, and left his share to Thomas. John Shepherd retired and Thomas bought his share, and continued to trade as Shepherd and Webb. Focusing his efforts on Shepherd and Webb, Thomas split from the Richardsons. In 1840 Thomas Webb moved to a Georgian mansion called Amblecote and built a new factory called The Platts on the same site. It was in the country, and the works were well known for their cleanliness. They produced chandeliers, and high quality cut glass decanters and bowls. Webb exhibited at the Great Exhibition in 1851, but was struggling financially and so decided to move from The Platts to live at Dennis Hall and built the Dennis Glass Works adjoining it in 1855. (After going through some changes of hands, The Platts was eventually bought by Chance). When Thomas died in 1869, his sons Charles and Thomas Wilkes took over, and another son Walter Wilkes became a partner. Thomas Wilkes was probably the most active developer of the firm and brought it to international fame. He sought out new ideas, went travelling, including a trip to Australia in 1884. They obtained the licence from the Mount Washington Glass Company in the USA to make Burmese glass, which Webb called Queen's Burmese. They patented Webbs Bronze which was an iridescent glass, sometimes decorated with applied handles and prunts and enamelled writing. Other ranges of glass included Iris glass, Lemonescent, Opal, Satin, Sidonian and Peach. They employed fantastic glass cutters and engravers such as Frederick Kny and William Fritsche and Daniel Pearce. They produced fabulous rock crystal items and chandeliers. They commissioned the Dennis or Pegasus cameo vase from John Northwood. Thomas Wilkes died in 1891 and then Charles and Walter retired, so in 1900, Congreve William Jackson became director. Jackson had been with the firm since the 1880's and had been their agent and had controlled the company's finances. At this time Jules Barbe was producing fabulous gilded decorative wares at Webb. In 1908 they staged a spectacular display at the Franco British Exhibition in London. They built a three storey glass house, where viewers could see all stages of glass making. Apart from the fabulous cut glass, cameo glass and engraved work, they also sold novelties, such as small glass animals such as pigs and teddy-bears contained in their own box. Some were given to Queen Alexandra. They also produced Art Nouveau style glass with coloured or clear applied tears, and optic ribbing. During the First World War, they produced mainly plain glass and light bulbs. Now came a time of mergers and takeovers. In 1920, they merged with Edinburgh and Leith Flint Glass Company, they then purchased with Stevens and Williams the Guest Brothers etching works, and bought Richardsons in 1930. In 1932 Carl Gottwald Sven Harald Fogelberg was made general manager from Sweden. Sven was the third of three generations of Fogelbergs who had managed Kosta, himself being the last one before coming to England in 1932. They modernised, and started to experiment again for instance producing their famous Webbs bulls eye glass and their pseudo cameo with an etched or chipped background to coloured floral themes on clear glass. During the Second World War, they produced industrial glass, which it continued to do successfully after the war was over. However they were held back from making any great strides in art glass by outdated buildings and plant after the war. They were acquired by Crown House Limited in 1964 who modernised the buildings in 1967 with a new extension. They were then merged with Dema Glass Limited in 1971. In 1978 Thomas Webb became part of the Coloroll group, and was forced to close in 1990 when Coloroll went bankrupt. See mark.

Webb Corbett. Such is the closeness of the families in glass factory owners and glass workers, it is important to be as clear as possible of the differences between the manufacturies. The sons of Thomas Wilkes Webb (see Webb) bought the White House glass works in 1897. Their names were Thomas, Herbert and George Harry. Thomas was forced to retire in 1903 because of ill health. The remaining Webbs went onto purchase the Tutbury Glass works at Burton on Trent in 1906 and Herbert became the managing director. Tutbury produced fine cut glass crystal. The glass works were run by G.H. Corbett and the company was called Webb Corbett. However there was a fire at the White House glass works and the company moved to Coalbournhill Glass Works at Amblecote, some time around 1911 or 1914 (information is sketchy). From this time the works was run by Walter Guest. They produced some very fine intaglio and rock cystal, designed by William Kny the son of Frederick Kny (who had been master engraver at Webb). At this time the engraved style was Art Nouveau and floral. They produced glasswares with tears similar to that of Stuart at this time (predominantly clear). They also produced cheaper machine made tableware. They also produced some enamelled glass with flowers and fruit just before the First World War. They also produced Agate Flambe in the 1920's which was orange and red or purple and blue mottled glass, in imitation of agate or Blue John. During the 1930's of course they moved into cut Art Deco styles, with horizontal rippled cuts, cased and cut or stepped designs. Herbert Webb retired in 1946 and Irene Stevens became chief designer. Later, in 1951 John Webb, Herberts' son, jointly managed the company with W Maskill. The company became Limited in 1953. Stevens designs were slightly restrained at first, and with David Smith at Tutbury developed a style which involved some more detailed decoration, such as trailing ivy and leaves, and spherical polished cuts on matt vases. They developed a number of cut patterns, such as Harbridge, Queensway (by David Queensberry) and Harlequin. Webb Corbett produced the glass used on Concorde so it was clearly recognised as producing fine quality glass. Smith developed some cameo in the 1970's and set up his own studio in 1982. The company was taken over by Royal Doulton in 1969 and the Tutbury works was closed in 1980. Today Coalbournhill is the place where the design of Royal Doulton Crystal takes place, and also some decoration is completed at Coalbournhill. Glass is no longer made at Coalbournhill as the furnaces were closed down. Royal Doulton Crystal is now made in Europe. Their sales outlet is at Amblecote, and some studio glass makers have set up a small glass furnace there, known as Blowzone. See mark.

Webb, Philip. (1831-1915) Designer and architect and a friend of William Morris. Worked in the Arts and Crafts style. Designed glass for Morris which was produced by James Powell.

Wedgwood Crystal. Wedgwood acquired King's Lynn glass in 1969. Stennet-Wilson the founder of King's Lynn was retained. Frank Thrower also designed for them. Wedgwood glass was renamed Wedgwood Crystal and later sold on to Caithness. Wedgwood also owned Galway Crystal based in Ireland. Wedgwood designs were clean modern shapes. Single coloured glass pieces were produced in addition to clear mottled glass produced with melted enamels. Some animal shapes were produced in a free flowing style. Caithness produced cut crystal at the site. A difficult market forced the factory with closure by Caithness in 1992. See mark.

Whitefriars. There are many comprehensive guides to Whitefriars, on the web and in many books. Here are just a few key notes. James Powell a wine merchant, purchased a glass house in Whitefriars London in 1834. The company was called James Powell and Sons and in 1840 it was being run by his sons, Arthur, Nathanael and John Cotton. Over the first fifty years they produced scientific glass, stained glass windows (with Edward Burne-Jones, William de Morgan and others) and domestic glass. They produced double walled glass vessel with silvered internal surfaces for Dewar and Varnish. They produced the glassware for William Morris at the Red House. From 1873, Harry Powell, the son of Nathanael ran the company. He developed many new glass designs, and was famous for his Glass with Histories, having being inspired by old and ancient glass. He also produced fine Art Nouveau pieces. The factory moved to Wealdstone in 1923 when Harry retired. Designers included William Butler, Barnaby Powell, Tom Hill, William Wilson, Gordon Russell, James Hogan, Harry Dyer, Geoffrey Baxter. Baxter has now become famous for his textured bark vases and Drunken Bricklayer and Banjo designs. The factory closed in 1980.

Wiener Werkstatte. A design workshop for architecture and art in Germany founded by Josef Hoffmann in 1903, which lasted until the early 1930's. Glass was normally sold through Bakalowitz and Lobmeyr. Designers included Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, Peche (see Loetz), Powolny and Prutscher. See mark.

wild rose. See Libbey

Wirkkala, Tapio. Finnish glass designer who worked for Venini, Iittala and Rosenthal.

WMF, Wurttembergische Metallwarenfabrik. As the name suggests, originally and primarily WMF manufactured metal items. Founded in 1853 it produced household and decorative metal work. The Art Nouveau period was a fruitful one and metal items from this time can be highly sought after. These can appear with glass liners. However it is only more recently that WMF glass has become more widely known and collected, surprisingly because their glass factory was established in 1883 in Geislingen in Germany. Early production was typical of Bohemian art glass and domestic wares. In 1925 Karl Wiedmann produced heavily iridescent glass (Myra-Kristall) blown into simple forms. These would develop into heavier mould blown forms during the 1930's. Ikora Kristall introduced alongside Myra consisted of heavy art glass. Typical clear glass was treated with coloured enamels and heavy forms produced sometimes bubbles were included. Re-heated crackle glass was produced in this range, although these are not as well formed as others, perhaps intentionally given the attention to production quality shown by WMF. Some tango pieces were produced in trumpet form. Perhaps the most interesting range was Lavaluna, although only limited numbers were put in production the glass can be surface treated or marble like. Rarely some sandblasted cutting was used. After WWII Wagenfeld designed for them producing simple modernist forms in clear and coloured glass, some with cutting. WMF operates successfully to this day although their glassworks at Geislingen closed in 1982 and glass is now produced overseas. See mark.

Woodall, George. Glass engraver and cameo maker, who worked with Northwood. George was one of the finest cameo artists of his genre. Thomas, brother of George was also a fine engraver

wrythen. A decorative technique, with parallel ribs or grooves which twist around a vessel such as a glass or vase.

Wuidart. Glass producer and importer of Orrefors glass in London during the 1950's. Ronald Stennett Wilson worked for them and is reputed to have made some designs for them before establishing King's Lynn.

Ysart. John Moncrieff established the North British Glassworks at Perth in Scotland in 1865. It was a rather unusual name and the company made all sorts of industrial glass and bottles. The name was changed to John Moncrieff Ltd in 1905, and during the First World War they produced Monax, a heat resistant laboratory ware. After the war they began to branch out into art glass, when Monart was was used as a trade name for the art glass. This a name derived from Moncrieff and Ysart. Salvador Ysart had come from Barcelona, after working for Schneider and the Edinburgh and Leith Flint Glass Works. Salvador was joined by his sons, Paul, Antoine, Augustine and Vincent. They produced colourful and sometimes massive blown art glass. Their mottled coloured patterns were produced by marvering the gather of glass with coloured enamels and by twisting the patterns with pincers whilst the glass was molten. They were adventurous and at Christmas would use the silver glitter sold by Woolworths within the glass. This means that this glass is quite rare as there was a limited access to the glitter. In 1947, all the brothers except Paul, left and set up their own glassworks in Perth. This was called Ysart Bros, and their trade name for their art glass was Vasart, which used the initials of their names. The company became Vasart Glass in 1956. The enamels used within Vasart glass tend to be more finely ground than the enamels used in Monart. For Teachers (a whisky distillery) they produced squashed bottle ashtrays advertising Teachers. Teachers had the major share in Vasart and in 1965 the name Vasart was changed to Strathearn, and they continued to make art glass in the style of Vasart. Stuart took over the company in 1980, and changed its name to Stuart Strathearn. Glassmaking stopped in 1992. Now going back to Monart, although Moncrieff is most well know for Monart art glass, production was small in comparison to the industrial glass ware. In 1960 the company was taken over and Paul Ysart moved to Caithness (where he continued to produce paperweights). After many changes of ownership, the company went bankrupt in 1992, and finally after trading as Monax Glass Ltd (again producing laboratory ware), it closed in 1996.

Zecchin, Vittorio. (1878-1947) An artist and designer born in Murano. Just before WWI, Zecchin designed for Barovier, and produced simple glass forms decorated with designs in enamels reminiscent of his paintings. He became artisitc director of Venini and later a glassworks set up by Cappelin after his partnership was dissolved with Venini.

Zeleznobrodske sklo. The Czech glass industry was nationalised in 1948, and this was one of the corporations formed bringing together nine glassworks and about one hundred glass bead producers. Harrachov was part of the corporation until 1957 when it joined Borske Sklo. From this time it has been known for its modern and monumental glass, figures, animals, sand casted sculptures and large organic glass vessels. Several of the jewellery producers have split from Zeleznobrodske Sklo, but even so Zeleznobrodske Sklo was the largest producer of fire-polished glass beads in the Czech Republic in 1993 when it was privatised.

Zitzmann, Friedrich. German glass designer who worked for Koepping and Rheinische Glashutte.

Zwiesel. See Schott

Zwischengoldglas. Glass first produced in Bohemia in 1725, and again at the end of the 18th and 19th Centuries, which consisted of a double walled glass vessel with gold leaf between the layers.

An iridescent vase in the manner of John Walsh Walsh
Clyne Farquharson with his sister Elizabeth during a cycling trip. (From the 'The Glass of John Walsh Walsh')
A ceramic vase signed Almeric Walter, Nancy and the initials AW.
A festooned Webb decanter with an amethyst foot and stopper.
A faux cameo Webb vase introduced from the 1930's
Designed by Hugo van der Goes tear vase introduced in the early 1900's some of these shapes had a long life.
Spring by Vittorio Zecchin (circa 1913)
A Knobbly vase designed by William Wilson and Harry Dyer for Whitefriars in 1963.
A pair of simple Webb Corbett glasses
A Vasart vase from the early 1960's.
Late 19th century bowl sometimes attributed to Frederic Carder but recent evidence suggests these were made by Webb. There are similar designs by Stevens and Williams!
Webb Corbett Queensway pattern by David Queensbury