Crystal cutter is dating
Borrow or purchase one or more authoritative publications about Brilliant Period glass, to start the learning process. Fellow collectors are a friendly clan, eager to help the newcomer.
Whatever you do, take joyful pride in those years, the years of the Brilliant Period, truly a part of our great American heritage. Cuts are made in an otherwise completely smooth surface of the glass by artisans holding and moving the piece against various sized metal or stone wheels, to produce a predetermined pleasing pattern. Unfortunately, until late in the nineteenth century, American glass houses found it difficult to compete against a vogue that held European glass to be superior to the domestic product. The cutting is brilliant because it is sharp and deep, reflecting light from highly polished surfaces.
The subject is only cut glass produced by only one nation. Cutting shops proliferated to meet the demand for fine pieces of cut glass being sought by wealthy American households. American cut glass had reached the zenith in its acceptance throughout the world.
Be prudent about making purchases until you achieve a reasonable level of knowledge. Volcanoes make crude glass constantly, called obsidian, but fine glass requires purity of ingredients, blended under ideal conditions, by talented and experienced master glassmakers. It is deep because it was made from leaded crystal that was beautiful in its clarity even though thick enough to be cut in high relief. If your tool still has a cutter you'll note that the cutter has a bevel towards one side.
Each cutter was given a different sized wheel, and by passing a piece from station to station, productivity was immensely increased. Then it's a simple matter of advancing the cutter until you break through the blank and you will have a nice, round crystal with a bevelled edge that will fit inside a bezel with a lip. It would probably be easier to understand if people saw the tool mid use. The prejudice began to disappear when eight enterprising American companies showed their beautiful wares at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Forces of Change Several exciting events dramatically improved American's cut glass industry, and brought about a superiority that won world acclaim.
If you already have American made cut glass that belonged to a grandmother or another family member, cherish it as you would any prized possession, for no more like it will ever be made. The actual fit is done either by flexing the crystal or heating the bezel to expand. Leading dealers participate in convention activities, and bring choice pieces for sale.
The depth of cut is advanced by the nut on the top slide. He was blind to the contact of the wheel with the glass, except for what he could see through the glass - looking from inside to outside. You may make an occasional mistake, but with the foregoing preparation, it should not be a too costly one. Most of the best was made by the nine leading glass houses previously named. All crystal is a type of glass, but all glass certainly is not properly called crystal.
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