Apart from its fragility, antique glass is a beautiful thing to collect because there are so many styles and eras to choose from. Do you select Georgian, Victorian or art nouveau? Drinking glasses, decanters, vases or decorative pieces? And should the glass be plain or coloured?
It's a choice potential collectors should make early, or else they'll have such a wide collecting field that they won't know what to buy.
In the late 17th century, a scientist named George Ravenscroft invented lead glass, or lead crystal. Before this soda glass was used and although it was "very decorative and pretty", it was much flimsier. This means that in terms of glass collectibility, the realistic choices start in the early 18th century.
The Georgian period stretches from 1720 to 1820, the Victorian from 1837 to 1901 and art nouveau from 1880 to the early 20th century. Colours that appeared in the glass included Bristol blue (made with cobalt oxide) ruby (gold oxide), amethyst (manganese) and opaque white (tin or arsenic). Cameo glass - in which two or more layers of different coloured glass were blown one on the other before decorations were cut out - took off in the mid-19th century.
Eaglemont Antiques specialise in fine antique glass, Georgian English drinking glasses, and 19th century Victorian coloured glass. We stock mainly items of the Georgian, Regency and Victorian periods but also sell some Art Nouveau and Art Deco items.
End of Day Glass
I am often asked "what do you collect" ….. Well! I have always had a fascination with glass and in particular Victorian glass dumps. I have photographed a good example of a Victorian glass dump, so called because they were made from leftover green bottle glass that would otherwise have been dumped at the end of the day. This image shows the rather common dumps that are full of tear-shaped bubbles.
The first dumps were probably made by the Yorkshire bottle making companies around 1829. Mostly unmarked, as these examples are, some firms did stamp their dumps with their mark.
Also in my collection are the glass paper weights or dumps with a flower pot with one or more flowers emerging from it.
The pots and flowers consist of a mixture of bubbles and powdered chalk, giving them a magical appeal. Sometimes the petals are enhanced with foil which does increase their value and attractiveness.
Larger dumps were often used as door stops and these can sometimes be found in a rather bruised and battered state, while I use the smaller ones as paperweights or simply as ornaments.
Although dumps continued to be made right through into the 20th century, Victorian examples always have rough pontils; marks left by the glassblowing process, and usually have some signs of wear to the base.
End-of-day glass objects, grouped under the name of "friggers" were glass novelty items that originated in the eighteen century. Glassmakers used the day's left-over glass to show off their skills, and the results, hats, bells, musical instruments, and walking sticks. Some items eventually acquired a commercial value and began to be made officially in working hours.