Glass Guide
N to R

This section contains definitions for the terms used in glass making and in the description of glassware. There are links to other sections to help expand upon and provide illustrations of the terms used.

This section is not as comprehensive as the source texts that are available and these should be consulted for further details. References are shown in bold and links are in blue.

Happy reading.

Sa - Sj Sk - Sz T U - V W - Z
Sabino. Although understandably a little overlooked in favour of the artistic creativity of Lalique, Marius Ernst Sabino was a very successful glass designer, maker, businessman and manufacturer of glass. He was born in Italy. Starting out as a wood carver and sculptor he became a naturalised Frenchman. After volunteering during World War One, and following injury, he was demobbed from the French army. He set-up in glass production, predominantly architectural fittings especially lighting. By the mid 1920's he became the leading French glass exporter. During these years he designed all the production. Vases, bowls and figures were produced in opalescent and frosted glass capturing the spirit of the age. Most were accomplished. Of his smaller pieces, his figurative pieces drew the most acclaim and awards. Production ceased during World War Two but restarted after the war. Production now consisted of small decorative pieces, including, birds, fish and an assortment of other animals. A range of insects and butterflies were also made. The factory was run by Marius's son until the 1970's. The moulds were bought by a US company and the company was maintained in France. Sabino Crystal Co. is in current production, using original moulds in some cases.

Sahlin, Gunnel. A glass designer at Kosta Boda with a strong background in textile design. She utilises simple strong bold colours and the 3 dimensional form of glass.

St Denis et Pantin (Verrerie et Cristallerie de St Denis et Pantin Réunies). See Pantin and Legras

St Gobain. One of Europe's most important plate glassworks, based in France.

Saint Louis, Compagnie des Cristalleries de St Louis. A significant French glasshouse producing glass of the highest quality, founded in St Louis, near Bitche in the Munzthal, Lorraine in 1767 but based on a much earlier glassworks. Produced sulphides and were famed for paperweights, both for their quality and characteristic murrhine. Paperweights went back into production in the early 1950's, and continues today. Developed Lead glass in the 18th century. Early glass production specialised in coloured glass, opaline and filigree. Variations on these styles have been produced at various times up to the present day. Specialised in fine control of acid etching during the 19th century. This was coupled with very accurate cutting and gilding. Art Nouveau, cameo acid etched designs, sometimes fire polished were produced. Very finely bordered cameo produced. In addition scenic lamp bases and vases along with animal themes such as deer, elephants and tigers were notable. St Louis pieces are sometimes signed St Louis Munzthal or D'Argental. Metal and bronze mounted vases. Art Deco style glass with enamelling and engraving introduced in the 1920's. Designs by Dufrene and Goupy were executed. Also for Galleries Lafayette. Despite the fact that Rosenthal had no experience of glass production they took control of St Louis between 1942 and 1944. Jean Sala was director of St Louis during World War Two but continued designing on a freelance basis until the 1950's. The works has had a tendency to introduce new influences with subtlety and variation on classic designs with no sacrifice in quality. Magnificent stemware for most of the history of the company. All pieces noted for their precision and quality. Note: it has been recorded in some sources that Arsall and Arsale appear on St Louis cameo glass. As far as we can establish there is no evidence for this. It is most probably made by Vereinigte Lausitzer Glaswerke, after World War One and into the late 1920's.

St Petersburg Imperial Glass Factory. This was the most important Russian glassworks of the 18thC and 19thC. Early on involved in sophisticated engraving, rococo ornamentation, portraits, landscapes and classical themes. Goblet styles typical of those in Silesia & Bohemia. Also engraving of allegorical figures depicting victories of Catherine II. Outstanding gilding, as well as moulded and cut glass all produced throughout the period. Multilayer cased glass in mid Victorian times. By the late 1800's clear glass was produced with mottled colours reminiscent of Stourbridge production. The Art Nouveau period saw Scandanavian style cameo production. Much rarer is the outstanding quality engraving with Faberge mounts. Also in the Art Nouveau style. Despite the quality of its production it could not recover from World War One and in the climate of post revolutionary Russia it closed in 1917.

Sala, Jean. Glass designer from Cataluna. From a family of glassworkers, he spent his working life in France. Innovative, simple forms throughout his career. Although not currently regarded as a major influence in glass he was highly regarded by his peers and was recognised accordingly.

Salt. A small dish used to contain salt at the dinner table. A wide variety of forms and still made as decorative objects long after there common usage.

Salviati. A famous name with a convoluted history, reflecting production in Murano. Commencing with Antonio Salviati in 1859, who founded a glass workshop making mosaic glass. Following on from the success of this enterprise he founded a company with English financial backing which sold through an outlet in London. This was successful and had a great influence on English glass. Stemware, bowls, chandeliers and vases were produced. Interestingly glass in a variety of styles including classic Venetian, Roman and Moorish styles were produced in the 1860's and 1870's. This almost certainly had a direct influence on the glass designs of Dresser, Sowerby and other English producers. Antonio went on to found his own factories on Murano, one specifically for mosaic production. Following Antonio's death, the Salviati family formed a partnership with Maurizio Camerino. It would retain associations with the Camerino family until the 1980's. In the 1920's the business acquired the name Salviati and Co. The factory itself was destroyed in WWII and Salviati occupied space from both Barbini and Toso. In 1959 a new site was acquired. In 1988 it was bought by the owners of Venini and the Salviati glassworks was closed and work dispersed to works in Murano including Venini. The name was sold and eventually acquired by the French giant ARC International. Despite this the Salviati name has retained a deserved reputation for excellence in glass. Glass production between the turn of the century and the 1920's consisted of historical revival glass with applications. In the 20's and the 30's quirky but modernist styles appeared with reinterpretation of traditional Venetian forms. This marked the onset of innovation. A fruitful collaboration developed between designer Gaspari and an exceptional glassblower, Seguso. Tablewares of elegant thin blown forms and contradictory combinations of shapes were combined with decanters. Art vases with elongated forms, cleverly cased in contrasting colour combinations are amongst the better known glass styles (Pinnacolo) produced into the early 1960's. Collaborations with other designers invigorated later production, these included architects Sergio Asti and Romano Chirivi as well as designers Heinz Oestergaard and Claire Falkenstein.

sand blasting. Glass is etched away by attrition from firing sand at the body through gaps in a resist or stencil of some type. It is possible to remove an entire section of a vessel using this technique. Leaves a matt finish.

sand cast. Glass formed in a sand mould. Often rough formed but can be used to produce modernist and post modern forms. A very effective technique when used on the appropriate form.

Sarpaneva, Timo. (1926- ) Designer from Finland. Designed extensively for Iittala since 1950. After setting up his own design studio in 1962 went on to work for Rosenthal in the 1970's and Venini in the late 1980's. Typified by strong modernist designs, tableware and 3D forms. Developed the use of wooden moulds.

satin glass. A soft sheen matt finish usually achieved by a form of acid polishing.

Scailmont. Verrerie de, Founded in 1901 in Manage, Belgium and continued into the 1970's. For the bulk of their lifetime production concentrated on tableware. In the inter war years art glass was produced. It began in 1924 with Heemskerk who produced Art Deco designs and thick walled vessels. Also used sandblasted decoration. Catteau designed, almost independently from Scailmont also producing sandblasted designs. Scailmont produced a range of mould blown, gilded and frosted pieces. Art glass production stopped in the 1030's.

scavo. A process to give the surface of glass a very rough finish as if it has come from an archaeological "excavation". Can be achieved chemically or by the addition of a powder such as sand to the surface.

Schappel, Carl. Glassworks at Nový Bor (Haida), Bohemia. Operating between 1857 and 1945. Worked closely with the Bor School as well as designers such as Otto Prutscher, Joseff Hoffmann and E. Margold (Darmstadt). It is unclear the extent of its facilities, range or design capabilities. It is known they were responsible for the black cased over white over clear glass patterns with optic lens cutting (Borussia).

schmelze. Reheated marvered glass containing a variety of inclusions (German - melted).

Schneckendorf, J. E. Born in 1865 in Romania, trained in Munich at the end of the 19th century and became interested in glass production. In 1901 he was appointed director of Grossherzoglichen Hessischen Edelglasmanufaktur in Darmstadt, at that time in the hands of the Grand Duke Hesse. Darmstadt was a centre for the Art Nouveau movement (Jungendstil). He exhibited glass in the style of Koepping and Zitzmann but with iridescent finishes in 1904. Production continued with well balanced forms and lustre rich surfaces on near opaque glass. These were well received at various exhibitions.

Schneider. Schneider glass production has three distinct periods of activity. A factory was founded by two brothers Charles and Ernest Schneider with Henri Wolf before WWI. This was at Epinay-sur-Seine near Paris. Production during this time is poorly recorded. The second period commenced a few years after the war. The Schneider’s propelled themselves into full art glass production. Charles was the artistic director. He had trained at the Beaux Arts School. After military service Charles further trained at Daum. Here history is a little hazy, he does not appear to have held a significant position at Daum but perhaps aspired to the head decorators role later filled by Wirtz. Whether this motivated him to set up on his own is unclear. He freelanced for Daum, certainly producing pate de verre although this work is unsigned. Although Charles undoubtedly came from a period when Art Nouveau was in vogue, from the 1920’s Charles produced original forms. Reinventing Venetian forms in clear but coloured glass with bubbles and applied trails and cabochons. Although we now tend to think of these as Art Deco they are more typical of later studio glass. These forms became elongated, sometimes in solifleur shapes. In 1918 Aquarium was introduced consisting of a rough clear bubble glass sometimes lightly coloured by powdered glass with heavy forms topped by a coloured band, typically orange. Strong colours subtly applied were common in production in the 1920’s. So strong pinks, oranges, blues, greens as powdered colours were applied in regions and graduated to produce subtle shades. Both massive and small items were produced, the latter described as Bijou, both in bowls and vases. The term Jade and Marbines (marbled glass) apply to mottled glass of varying density. It is worth noting much of the attribution of styles and dates has been a retrospective process and so it is difficult to be precise. Also notable are cameo pieces, some of simplified forms and very occasionally in the style of the Art Nouveau movement. Possibly the latter date from the first period of production(?). Ball foot supported platters were produced and a very attractive range of mauve or black footed long stemmed platters were made. Wheel finished cameos consisting of single flower heads on a variety of body types including Jade are extremely desirable. Applied hot threads and beads of glass were used to create branches and fruit on clear, mottled or bubble glass on, ever so slightly, over weighted bodies. The variety of glass produced was stunning and yet clearly came from the same ‘family line’. Some glass from this period of Schneider links to past designs but in a slightly subversive fashion, perhaps some could be considered post modernist. Unfortunately, like so many glasshouses it failed financially in 1931, not helped by continuing legal battles with Degue, and ceased all activity by 1938. Ernest died in 1937. After WWII, Charles’s sons, Robert and Charles were persuaded by their father to start a glassworks at Epinay-sur-Seine and it was to function until Charles retired in 1981 closing the factory. Early production was designed by Charles senior and Robert. These picked up the theme of clear glass but with a mixture of past and Scandinavian influences. This glass is rare and highly attractive. Some forms are fixed but with the application of thick flowing glass giving an uneven fluid profile. Charles Snr died in 1955. Styles developed to represent the modernist spirit of the age and clear crystal dominated production for the rest of the works history. Period 1 and 2 production is signed Schneider. Le Verre Français or Charder is used on less expensive production pieces. In period 3 production Robert’s signature is found occasionally, acid etched marks are found on clear crystal pieces. Clear pieces of a similar style, typically Vannes, are found with faked engraved signatures.

Schott. Began as the Jenaer Glassworks at Thuringa in Germany in 1884 by Otto Schott. Co owned by Abbe (famous for his refractometer). Various name changes and associates (Carl Zeiss), (Schott & Genossen, Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Gen) lead to the company to emerge as Schott & Gen. the technical innovation of the works was at the heart of the development including Borosilicate glass, specialist glass for lenses, lighting and the chemical industry. Implemented Bauhaus designs from Wagenfeld and Marcks in the 1930's for domestic wares. WWII and the division of Germany, resulted in Schott losing its identity in the East but modernist production continued. The deportation of some staff to the West resulted in several factories emerging. Loffelhardt was designing domestic wares in the West again along modernist design. A complex history was completed with the emergence of Schott Zwiesel Glaswerke Ag. This still produces handmade art glass. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany lead to the joining of the East and West businesses. Schott is now a vast multinational corporation which specialises in innovation.

seed. A small grain of waste material (frit etc) accidentally included in the body of a glass object.

Seguso, Archimede. Trained at Barovier and Toso in 1909 in Murano. Set up his own workshop with his father Antonio producing traditional Venetian styles. Later established a new business (Seguso Vetri d'Arte traded until 1993, the name re-emerged for lighting production) with Barovier and Ferro, making designs of Flavio Poli and Zecchin. Seguso branched out on his own in 1946 establishing his own business (Seguso Viro S.r.l.). Early designs consisted of filigrana in lattimo. The 1950's and 1960's saw the production of exquisite modern Venetian glass with dipped and applied forms in addition to variations on filigrana. Production was supplied to Tiffany. It remains a family business today.

serica see Leerdam

Sevres et Clichy Reunies, Cristalleries de, Originally Cristallerie de Sevres, glassworks founded during Louis XV reign. Good quality tableware and decorative glass. In the 1880's joined with Clichy. Production included a brown marvered tortoiseshell like glass and also the use of aventurine. Although most production was mundane, quality was always high. Output followed the Art Nouveau movement crackle glass, enamelling and towards the start of the 20th century, acid etched cameo. The cameo pieces can be striking with a clever use of colours, often graduated. Often marked with an S for Sevres or VS either side of a sailing vessel for Verrerie de Sevres.

Sevres, Cristal de. Actually a trade name for the better glass production by Vannes. Mostly tableware but some art glass production and figurines. The latter typified by a translucent glass form on black glass base.

Sevres, Manufacture de. Ceramics manufacturer of outstanding quality but also involved in experimental glass production. They made space available to Jean and Henri Cros for Pate de Verre production. Also to Dammouse. Eugene Rousseau designed ceramics for them and worked with Solon who was later to set-up Minton's pate sur pate production. This 'Sevres' is sometimes confused with the previous two entries.

shears. Scissors for cutting hot glass.

Silesia. Glassmaking region of Southern Poland.

silica. The basis of glass is sand which is predominantly silica or silicon dioxide.

silver deposit. Electroplated silver deposits on glass.

silver overlay. As the name denotes, silver decoration is produced which is applied as an overlay.

silvered glass, mercury glass. A combination of metal salts in solution were used, typically, tin, lead, bismuth, silver, lead and mercury are poured into a vessel containing a cavity. Ironically mercury is quite difficult to use and is not common. Normally silver salts are reduced, typically silver nitrate. Patents were taken out in the USA (1855) and the UK (1849). The patents in the UK were taken out by E. Varnish or F. Hale Thomson. The coating can be fragile and so it is necessary to plug these vessels to prevent damage from environmental effects. In Bohemia they often appear with white enamelled decoration. Occasionally engraved examples appear. Whitefriars is believed to have made blanks for Varnish. In the USA they can appear with the mark of New England Glass. Most significantly the air gap with a metal reflective coating acts as a good thermal insulator. This property was used by James Dewar who evacuated the intervening space to retain liquids at either elevated or reduced temperatures. The Dewar flask (essentially the Thermos or Vacuum flask) is still used today, in the lab for the temporary storage of the liquified coolant gas Nitrogen and in everyday use for a hot cup of tea on a cold day at an Antique fair. Famously Dewar had some of his vessels made by James Powell.

silveria and silverina. The first term is a decorative term used by Stevens and Williams. It was a style developed by John Northwood II in 1900. A gather of glass was coated with silver foils and further cased in a clear or weakly coloured layer. Trails were then applied, typically green. The process of heating resulted in oxidation of the foil in places imparting a reddish hue to some regions. Its highly attractive and highly desirable. Silverina was developed by Carder at Steuben and consists of mica flakes trapped in glass diamond shapes formed by an air trap pattern. Also very attractive.

A Sabino glass fish. 20th century
Gunnel Sahlin for Kosta Boda, Frutteria.
St Louis decanter and glass. 20th century,
Timo Sarpaneva for Iittala made in 1985
A characteristic Schneider jug from the 1920's.
A marvered vase, containing coloured enamels, mica inclusions and air bubbles by Schneider, 1920's.
A 19th century green silvered vase by Hale Thomson. The integrity of glass/metal plug seal (shown above) helps to prevent degradation of the silver layer
Silver Overlay by the Alvin Corporation owned by Gorham since 1928. The glass decor is Green Metallin by Loetz.
Sowerby Salt in Queens Ivory ware from the 1880s.
Rigati by Salviati designed by Anna Gili (2005) (from here)