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glossary (F to M)

A to E F G H I J K L M N to Z
click on any of the above to take you to entries beginning with that letter

(N.B. Headings in italics are Italian terms)


Cut in the fashion of gemstones, with adjoining flat planes

Faceted stem

Cut as gemstones, with adjoining flat (sometimes slightly concave) diamonds, hexagons or rectangular planes. The last of the distinctively 18th Century stem forms, c 1775-1810

Fašon de Venise

"In the Venetian style", but not necessarily produced there. Finely-blown glassware, often with latticino threading, produced in Germany, Bohemia, France, the Netherlands and England as well as in Venice in the 17th and 18th Centuries


Filigree, a general term used to describe embedded threads or ribbons of coloured glass, either in parallel or network patterns

Filigrana a retortoli

Twisted filigree, alternating spiralled latticino and/or twisted ribbons (also called Zanfirico)


A small (usually round) bowl for holding water (sometimes scented) for rinsing one's fingers at the dinner-table. May be clear or opaque, plain or decorated, and are often accompanied by a matching saucer

Firing glass

Short, rudimentary-stemmed, funnel- or trumpet-bowled glass on a thick foot, used on ceremonial occasions when, after a toast, the glasses would be rapped on the table (like a volley of shots being fired). Also known as a "bumping" glass


Usually clear glass dipped in a thin film of coloured glass and often engraved

Flint glass

Original (not strictly correct) name for English Lead glass


Tall slim funnel glass used for drinking champagne and sparkling wines


Cut or moulded relief ornamentation of a series of narrow or broad parallel concave flutes (as opposed to reeds or pillars, which are convex)

Folded foot

The rim of the foot is folded back under to give added protection against chipping (c 1685-1750, although there was a brief revival at the beginning of the 19th Century)


The base of a glass. Until the invention of the gadget, was held by the pontil-rod while the glass was being finished. After c 1800 the pontil-mark was usually ground out, so the foot could be made flat. See decanters & drinking-glasses


Another term for hand-blown


Usually small glass article made by craftsman outside normal working hours, as a gift or for sale, or lampworked article by an itinerant glassblower. Often of no functional use. (Known as a "whimsy" in the USA)

Frosted glass

Glass given a semi-opaque frosted surface by dipping in, or exposing to the fumes of, a mixture of hydrofluoric acid and ammonia


Spring-clip device used (from c 1860) for holding the foot of a drinking-glass while it was finished, so obviating the pontil mark

Gadget mark

Faint mark in the shape of a Y or T, left by the gadget. After c 1900, asbestos pads prevented this mark appearing


Ornamental decoration of continuous reeding, either vertically, horizontally or twisted. First used on 17th century silverware


An amount of hot metal appropriate to the size of the article being blown or pressed, gathered onto the blow-pipe before blowing commences

Giant ale glass

Tall (often over 12" high) ale glass, usually trumpet-shaped, and probably made for special occasions rather than general use


Ground gold-leaf mixed with oil, honey or mercury, painted on then fired in a low temperature kiln

Gold leaf

Genuine gold leaf used as an inclusion


A technique whereby gold leaf is applied to the surface of an article, and then scraped away in places with a pointed implement, to leave a pattern


The 'Gulvvase' (literally 'floor vase', sometimes also referred to as a 'telescope vase'), was designed by Otto Brauer, Master Glassblower at Kastrup, in about 1962. At first they were only produced in an uncased dark olive-green, amber and dark blue (by Kastrup, and later Kastrup-Holmegaard). Kastrup also made them in opal (white) glass cased in clear, probably around 1963/64. Around 1967 they were re-issued in yellow, cased in clear glass, and opal cased in coloured glass. The colour range was opal/blue, opal/red, opal/green, and a very few using Kastrup's original dark olive-green over opal. Around 1970/71 an opal/yellow version was introduced and the opal/clear and yellow/clear versions were phased out. The size range was 25cm, 30cm, 38cm, 43cm, and 50cm (although not all colours were available in all sizes). The vase is also found in clear, light blue, smoke-grey, and 'rauchtopaz' (a sort of 'smoky amber'). These were made in England, under license from Holmegaard, under the tradename 'Cascade Glass'. The identity of the manufacturer is uncertain, but could be either Wood Brothers, the Waterstone Glasshouse, or the Trent Valley Glassworks


The article is blown and manipulated entirely by hand


Method of cutting parallel horizontal and diagonal (in opposing directions) V-shaped grooves, so as to leave faceted hexagonal hobnails. Also imitated in pressed glass


High-relief cutting (as in Cameo glass) where the background is cut away to leave raised decoration (the opposite of Tiefschnitt)

Hydrofluoric acid

The only acid that will dissolve glass. Neat, it leaves a clear finish; in conjunction with sulphuric acid, it produces a high gloss finish used in polishing lead glass; in mixture with ammonia, it produces frosting


A technique whereby two bubbles are blown, then cut and fused along their rims before final shaping. Possibly refers to the calmness required to perform this tricky operation


Cheaper imitation of air-twist stem, with external parallel grooving twisted to give a spiral pattern


Any metallic particles, foil, bubbles, sections of millefiori cane, pieces of contrasting-coloured glass or any other bodies embedded in the main body of the glass


Engraving using small stone wheels to create mostly curved cuts (such as flowers or leaves), giving the visual illusion that the cut-away parts are actually raised (also called Tiefschnitt)

Jacobite glass

18th Century drinking-glass engraved in support of the Jacobite pretenders to the throne


Short glass (usually no more than 4") on rudimentary stem, used for eating jellies (often savoury, such as calf's foot etc.). Bowl may be bell, round funnel, pan-topped, sometimes hexagonal. Some are handled. After c 1745 they may have cut decoration


Decorative feature of the stem, formed by re-heating part of the stem and compressing it, or made separately and inserted into the stem (as with Venetian-style glasses). See decanters & drinking-glasses


A type of decanter, based on a much older German or Scandinavian design, where the four corners of the square-sectioned body are pinched together down the side, so that the lower reservoir is effectively connected to the upper by five 'tubes'. The name is believed to derive either from the German 'Kuttering' ('gurgling' - from the noise heard when liquid is poured out), or the Latin 'Gutta' ('a drop of liquid' - as the design derives from a Roman 'dropper' bottle for dispensing medicines). Also called a 'cluck-cluck'. See decanters & drinking-glasses for an illustration

Lacy glass

A type of mainly American and French pressed glass with elaborate moulded decoration, any gaps being filled with small raised dots, thus hiding many of the faults inherent in early pressed glass. First developed c 1830 by Deming Jarves of Boston & Sandwich Glass Co (also called Sandwich glass)


Articles formed out of thin rods or canes over a small burner, usually small ornaments (also miniature flowers, insects etc for inclusion in paperweights)


Lattice, fine threads of specifically lattimo glass in spiral or net patterns


Opaque white glass (from latte, the Italian for milk)

Lead crystal

Glass containing a high proportion (about 25 to 30%) of Lead Oxide

Lead glass

Discovered by George Ravenscroft in 1673. Often (not strictly correctly) called Flint glass, it contains Lead Oxide, as opposed to Potash glass or Soda glass. It cools rapidly, making it hard to manipulate into complex shapes, but its hardness and brilliance make it well-suited to cutting and engraving


Oven used for annealing


Georgian foot-type, square with moulded domed ribbing beneath


See Cire Perdu


Thread of (often coloured) glass mechanically wound on to a hand-blown article


Having a surface texture in imitation of beaten metal (the French word for 'hammered')


Flat metal plate onto which the article being blown may be pressed or rolled when being shaped. Sometimes deliberately covered with fragments of broken glass or pieces of cane which then fuse to the exterior of the article

Mead glass

For drinking mead (from fermented honey and water), rare type of 17th or 18th Century glass - always with shallow cup-shaped bowl, with plain, baluster or air-twist stem

Mercury twist

A rare form of air twist stem where the air bubbles are flattened, the increased reflective surface giving a quicksilver effect


Various different net-like patterns of lattimo threads


The basic glass mixture, particularly when molten

Mezza filigrana

Half-filigree, a pattern of fine parallel (often diagonal or spiralled) threads, ribbons or rods


A naturally-occurring silicate mineral, flakes of which, included in glass, reflect light somewhat like silver-leaf


Literally, "thousand flowers". A type of Murrine consisting of a slice of a flower-shaped multicoloured cane, either fused together with others (see mosaic glass), picked up from the marver, or embedded in clear glass (as, for example, in paperweights)

Mixed twist

A rare mixture of opaque and air twists within a stem. Rarest of all include air, opaque and colour twists


A circular or oval bowl with a scalloped rim, which allows several wine-glasses to be suspended by the foot, with the bowls immersed in iced water to cool them before use (see Wine-glass cooler)

Mosaic glass

Sections of murrine fused together flat, then either (a) joined into a cylinder before being manipulated or blown into the final shape, or (b) slumped over a former to create the required shape


The paraison is blown into a mould, either by hand or as part of a mechanised process


Short lengths or slices of canes (including millefiori), used in mosaic glass, or picked up onto the gather or paraison from the marver before or during blowing, and therefore sometimes smeared or distorted in the finished article (also spelt Murrhine)

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