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glossary (N to Z)

A to E F to M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
click on any of the above to take you to entries beginning with that letter

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


A type of English decoration on glassware in the form of diamond-shapes formed by pincering together parallel applied or mould-blown threads at regular alternate intervals. Popular during the late 17th & 18th Centuries

Opaque twist

Type of stem, also known as "cotton" twist, popular c 1755-1780, drawn from Venetian latticino techniques, where threads of lattimo are enclosed in clear glass and twisted to produce elaborate spirals


Another term for cased glass


Cut in broad flat panels


The gather of molten metal on the end of the blow-pipe, when partially inflated into a bubble

Pâte de verre

French for glass paste. Powdered coloured glass and a flux, put into a mould and then fired to fuse it, giving a translucent effect like alabaster. Sometimes several layers, then cut back. Invented in ancient Egypt, revived in France late 19th Century


Cut or moulded relief ornamentation (also called reeding) of a series of parallel, vertical convex reeds


A delicate process, whereby transparent enamel powders are introduced into a soldered metal framework over a removable core, then fired, giving the effect of stained glass. Much used in Art Nouveau jewellery, more rarely for other items


Originally by rotating cork wheels or brushes, using progressively finer abrasive pastes and powders (see also Acid-polishing)

Pontil mark

Rough mark left where article was attached to pontil rod before being allowed to cool and broken off. From c 1800 -1860 usually ground and polished out (from c 1775 in facet-stemmed glasses)

Pontil rod

Also known as the punty rod, the solid iron rod onto which a blown article is transferred from the blow-pipe for final shaping and finishing

Potash glass

Sometimes called fern-glass or forest-glass, contains Potassium Carbonate. It is heavier than Soda glass, and solidifies more quickly, making it less easy to manipulate, but its increased hardness makes it more suitable for cutting and engraving

Pressed glass

Gather pressed by a metal plunger into a mould, either by hand or as part of a mechanised process


Small round or oval ground-out depressions as decoration (possibly corruption of punty)


An applied roundel of glass added to decorate a blown item, often in the form of raspberries or lion's heads


Bubbled, containing a froth of random-sized bubbles

Pump handle

An early style of handle, where the glass is applied first at the top, then pulled down and attached at the bottom. Continued briefly after the introduction of the dab handle, then fell into disuse


Alternative term for pontil


One who decorates bought-in glass blanks by cutting, engraving, gilding, enamelling etc.


Cut or moulded relief ornamentation (also called ribbing when moulded) of a series of parallel convex reeds (as opposed to flutes, which are concave)

Registration mark

Raised coded lozenge (1842-1883) or number (1884 onward) by means of which it is possible to identify the manufacturer and date of registration of a particular design


An acid-resistant coat of shellac or beeswax, cut-out or scratched wherever the effect of the acid is required

Rock crystal

Naturally-occurring Quartz. Also a style of engraving glass where all the engraved parts are polished, giving a more brilliant effect (developed in England during the 1880s & 1890s)

Römer or Roemer

Traditional German drinking-glass with ovoid bowl, cylindrical stem (decorated with applied prunts) and spreading spirally-trailed foot. Name possibly from Lower Rhenish römen (to boast). Thought by some to be the origin of the English word rummer

Rudimentary stem

Very short stem, sometimes consisting only of a knop, or even with the bowl joining directly on to the foot. Usually found on less expensive glasses, intended for tavern or everyday use


Glass used from c 1780 for drinking toddy (rum punch) or naval grog (rum & water), short-stemmed, wide-bowled, with a capacity of between 8 & 15 fl oz. Foot sometimes star-cut or lemon-squeezer. Became popular again c 1820, but with larger & thicker foot


A coarse method of etching glass by firing abrasive powders through a stencil


Literally "excavated". A technique whereby sand is applied to the finished article, to give the effect of ancient glass which has lain buried for centuries


Literally "melted" in German (surprisingly the Italians also use this term, having no word of their own for this technique). The more-or-less random application of threads and pieces of coloured glass to the surface of a piece, which are then re-heated and marvered flat


A small piece of waste material that has been accidentally picked up in the gather, and more commonly found in the glassware of the 18th Century or before

Ship's glass

Made especially for use on board ship, with a short stem and very wide foot for stability

Silver leaf

Genuine silver leaf used as an inclusion


Method of shaping glass by heating in a furnace until it melts enough to sag over a former

Soda glass

Contains Sodium Carbonate. It remains plastic after heating for longer than either Potash glass or Lead glass, and can therefore be worked into the more intricate forms such as those favoured by Venetian glassmakers


Literally "submerged". Small pieces or larger glass shapes heavily cased in another colour

Spatter glass

Also called Cottage glass. Produced by rolling a (often opaque white) gather of glass onto a deliberately-arranged selection of coloured glass fragments on the marver, then re-heating, blowing, casing in clear crystal and shaping (compare End-of-day glass)


Method of colouring glass by brush-applied stain (amber or ruby) invented in Bohemia, and used in last half of 19th Century as cheap substitute for flashing. Usually fired at low temperature, then engraved


Using a diamond-pointed tool as a chisel, to chip away minute fragments of glass


The part of a drinking-glass joining the bowl to the foot. May be plain, knopped, and/or decorated internally or externally. See decanters & drinking-glasses


Broad, shallow glass used for eating various desserts, often erroneously thought to be a champagne glass (champagne was drunk from a flute)

Syllabub glass

For serving syllabub (whipped cream with sherry, ratafia and spices), a dessert popular in the 17th and 18th Centuries


A bubble of air, usually resembling a teardrop, as decoration within the stem or knop


Intaglio cutting (the opposite of Hochschnitt), where the body of glass is cut away in low-relief, but giving an optical illusion of raised decoration

Toastmaster's glass

Another term for a deceptive glass


A smallish (about 6" long) hollow decanter-shaped tubular vessel. The bulbous end is dipped into a punch-bowl until the vessel is full, then the thumb seals the top hole so that the drink may be lifted out and discharged into a glass. Often cut


Thread of (often coloured) glass applied by hand to a hand-blown article

Uranium glass

Yellow glass, coloured with a small amount of uranium, which fluoresces under ultra-violet light. See also Annagelb

Vetro a fili

Clear article with embedded threads in spiral pattern

Vetro a reticello

Clear article with embedded criss-crossed threads forming regular networks, usually with tiny air-bubbles between the crossed threads

Vetro a retorti

Clear article with embedded twisted threads forming lace-like patterns


see Frigger

Wine glass

Usually stemmed, made in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles which vary according to the type of wine, such as Burgundy, Champagne, Hock, Sherry, Claret, Port etc.

Wine-glass cooler or rinser

A bowl with one or two notches or lips in the rim, which allows wine-glasses to be suspended by the foot, with the bowls immersed in iced water to cool and/or rinse them between uses (see also Monteith)


Simple decoration where external parallel grooves or ribs (applied either by hand or by blowing the paraison into a dip-mould) are given a twist during blowing to create a spiral pattern


A corruption of the name of Antonio Sanquirico, an early 19th Century Venetian art dealer, often used to describe Filigrana a retortoli (see separate entry)

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