Crackle Glass

Crackle Glass

These articles are brought to you by the Virtual Glass Museum and written by

Stan & Arlene Weitman, authors of three books on Crackle Glass

  1. Introducing Crackle Glass
  2. Vaseline Crackle Glass

1: Introducing Crackle Glass

by Stan & Arlene Weitman

GLASS is the third most popular collectible in the world, preceded only by coins and stamps. We feel CRACKLE GLASS is the most beautiful. Have you ever seen CRACKLE GLASS in a window when the sun reflects off the glass? A window decorated with different colored crackle is truly breathtaking.

Crackle Glass is known by other names, such as CRAQUELLE GLASS, ICE GLASS, OVERSHOT GLASS.

It was the Venetian Glass Makers of the 16th Century, who invented this marvelous process. The glass was immersed in cold water while it was molten hot, thereby cracking the glass. The glass was then reheated and either mold or hand blown into the shape the glass blower desired. The reheating of the glass sealed the cracks. If you run your hands over CRACKLE GLASS, you can feel the cracks, but the inside is smooth to touch.

Glass makers from the 19th Century and even today are still using the same methods.

Some of the companies that produced CRACKLE GLASS are: Blenko Glass Company, Pilgrim Glass Company, Mt. Washington Glass Company, H.C. Fry Glass Company, Boston & Sandwich Glass Company, Hobbs, Bruckunier & Company, Cambridge Glass Company, Kanawha Glass Company. Some of these companies are still operating today, making CRACKLE GLASS.

We will never forget the day my wife and I discovered CRACKLE GLASS. One day about five years ago, during the month of August, we were in a flea market in Commack, Long Island. We were browsing the different dealers, and I heard a vendor ask a customer, "Would you give me three dollars for this amber cruet?" The woman answered, "No". I immediately stepped forward and said that I would take the cruet for three dollars.

That was it. We were hooked, and five years later, we have a collection of around four-hundred pieces. We go to tag sales, garage sales, flea markets, auctions, advertise in the papers, pamphlets, circulars, business cards, any way to obtain CRACKLE GLASS.

In our books on Crackle Glass, we show the different shapes, sizes, colors of the cruets, miniature vases, miniature pitchers, large vases, large pitchers, decanters and many other beautiful items. We also include a price guide to show the novice collector or the advanced collector a range of prices in order to assist in the purchasing of CRACKLE GLASS.

Make sure you check the pieces you are about to buy, to see that they are in good condition; that they are not chipped or CRACKED (even though it is called CRACKLE GLASS). We have made the mistake many times in purchasing a piece of glass, being over-zealous, not carefully checking the piece, and thinking we have a great buy, only to go home and see the piece is defective.

Any defects will automatically devalue the piece. We suggest you hold up a piece to the light and turn it slowly in all directions to see if there are any imperfections. Make sure your piece is properly wrapped to protect it until you get home.

In closing, please be aware that there is new CRACKLE GLASS being produced today out of Taiwan and China. Fenton Glass Company and Blenko Glass Company are also producing New CRACKLE GLASS today. By using our book as your guide, you will be able to distinguish the new from the old. The older pieces will show more wear marks on the bottom and inside where a stopper may have been. (A cruet or decanter with a stopper or top to it is worth more than a piece without it) We have noticed that the shapes are more imperfect in the older pieces. You may see that they may lean to one side or you may feel bumps or variations in the glass that you cannot see. The fewer cracks or "crackles" a piece has the cheaper the piece of crackle should be.


 

Article 3: Uranium Crackle Glass

by Stan & Arlene Weitman


For many years before writing our first book, we had no idea that we had any uranium or vaseline crackle glass, or even what vaseline glass was.

One day, we purchased a piece of regular glass that we were told was vaseline glass. We immediately went to our local book store and purchased a book on vaseline glass. ("Yellow-Green Vaseline" by Jay L. Glickman). The book taught us the only way to find out if you have true vaseline glass is by subjecting the piece to a black light. Vaseline glass will fluoresce. This is because vaseline glass contains uranium oxide.

"The ultraviolet is the key factor in the identification of vaseline glass. This light, often called 'black light' emits high energy emissions of electrons. In the case of vaseline glass, which usually contains about two percent uranium oxide, the light's strong flow of electrons has an unsettling effect on the relatively unstable uranium atom. The electrons circling the nucleus of the atom are pulled out of the orbit towards the ultraviolet light and back to the nucleus again. Resulting energy is in the form of yellow-green light characteristic of uranium."

Having a black light on hand, one day we decided to scan our crackle glass collection. To our surprise, many pieces fluoresced, even pieces that did not look green glowed. There are other types of glass that will glow: Burmese and custard glass, the latter two also containing uranium oxide. If you have two pieces of crackle glass that are similarly the same, but one is vaseline glass, the price of that piece should be valued much higher (40-50 percent higher).

When vaseline glass was invented it was not called vaseline glass. It was called "Uranium glass" or "Canary glass". In the 1950's the antique dealers renamed it because it had the same color as vaseline petroleum jelly.

Back in the late 1880's there was an abundance of vaseline glass produced by many companies. (Fenton, McKee, New England Glass Company, Boston & Sandwich Glass Company, Duncan & Sons, Hobbs, Bruckonier) There is a lot of vaseline glass on the shelves, tables of dealers that are not marked vaseline glass because a lot of dealers and collectors are not familiar with this glass.

So, if you get yourself a black light, go to the shows and the shops and you will be able to find excellent buys on vaseline crackle glass. Vaseline glass came in all shapes, sizes, different types of wares: Door knobs, finials, cruets, plates, etc. We have in our collection a punch bowl set, plates, glasses, cruets. The hand-held black light cost about $25, and they can be purchased from the antique trade magazines.

You will be amazed when you take a piece into a room, shut the lights off, put on the black light and see how the pieces glow.

We hope you enjoy this article as much as we enjoyed writing it.


If you are looking for crackle glass, you can usually find a selection on offer on ebay. Click Crackle glass to see what is offered at the moment.


If you have enjoyed this article you will enjoy the books listed below. Click on the bookcover or the title to see more information.

References and Further Reading:



Crackle Glass by Weitman 1995 Crackle Glass by Alford 1997 Crackle Glass 2 by Weitman 1997 crackle glass by Pina 2000 crackle glass 3 by Weitman 2004 Crackle Glass 2 by Pina 2007






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Pirelli Glass

This is the 'go to' reference book if you are interested in Pirelli Glass.
It offers collectors a comprehensive history of Pirelli glass and its makers, from its inception in the mid 40s to 1980 when the company closed.
The book is filled with colour photographs, original black and white catalogue photographs, stories and a miriad of information on Pirelli and Vasart glass.
(review by Jackie S. from Canada)




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