Sunday, October 3, 2010

Common Misconceptions: The Differences between Pressed Glass and Cut Glass

An Antique Pressed Glass Compote
Invented by John P. Bakewell in 1825, the creation of pressed glass involves the use of a plunger to distribute molten glass into a mold. When the glass hardens, it takes the shape of the mold which is then removed. The technique was initially developed as a means of producing inexpensive doorknobs and furniture pulls which were strong and attractive. However, the process was quickly adapted to create a variety of handsome glassware which soared in popularity in the United States in the late 1820’s and in Europe in the 1830’s.

Conversely, the creation of cut-glass had been in practice for many centuries prior to the Nineteenth Century. In cut glass, similarly in cut crystal, the object is formed by traditional glass-blowing techniques, and then faceted, cut and polished in much the same way a gem would be.

A Cut Crystal Waterford Pear
Pressed glass—while attractive in its own right—lacks the clarity, definition and luster of cut glass or crystal. If you question if a piece if pressed glass, examine the item for signs of a seam or area where the mold is evident. Typically, antique or vintage pressed glass will have a bit of a grayish tone and will be just slightly cloudier in areas that cut glass or crystal.

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