Some call it wheel-cut glass, others call it hand-cut, but to most it's referred to simply as "cut glass." This antique American staple can be found in antique malls and thrift stores everywhere these days, but here's some things you probably didn't know about those thrift store finds.
|Artisans cutting patterns into lead-crystal. Photo courtesy|
With the discovery of lead-oxide deposits in Ohio, glassmaking was taken to another level. Comprising nearly 40% of the concoction to make lead crystal, lead-oxide was the secret ingredient along with potash and silica that made American "crystal" glass exceptionally smooth, clear, and ideal for cutting.
|"Chrysanthemum" cut glass pattern produced by the|
T.G. Hawkes Company. Image courtesy of
With the invention of molding processes and acid polishing in 1897, cut glass became easier to produce and industry leaders could now produce more wares cheaper and faster than ever before. But, with the outbreak of WWI demanding the use of lead-oxide, many companies closed their doors. With trends moving away from cut glass after the war, the quality of the craft came to a quick demise. Although cut glass may be found in thrift stores, its history is vastly rich telling the story of an American tradition that exceeded the world's expectations in the industry.
American Cut Glass Association: www.cutglass.org
Corning Museum of Glass: cmog.org