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.

N - O P - Q R
Nailsea Glass. This refers to a type of glass which is believed to have been originally made at Nailsea near Bristol by glass houses around 1788-1873. It has been made by many other glasshouses, including in Stourbridge and Bristol. The glass is normally flecked with coloured glass, or has festoons of coloured glass or is coloured with simple white filigree effects. Typically rolling pins, bells, mugs, walking sticks and flasks were produced.

Nancy, Crystalleries de. This is a glass works in Nancy France, and it is separate to the Daum factory also based at Nancy. It was launched in 1922. Several Daum workers were encouraged to work at Nancy, and Michel Colle was the head designer. He had previously been at Baccarat, and had also been a recognised painter. He focused on limited edition cameo, art glass and tableware in Art Deco styles. After the stock market crash in New York in 1929, the company had to close, after being launched in 1922 with a lot of borrowed money which it just could not pay back.

Nason & Moretti. Nason and Moretti was founded by two well known glass making families in Murano in 1923. In the 1920's they produced lighting and specialised in some unusual and geometric designs, using spherical glass balls and glass cones, in strongly contrasting colours of black, red and white. In the 1930's they began specialising in clear colourless glass tableware. After the Second World War, colour began again, and they made ranges of glasses with each glass a different contrasting colour. They produced carafes with tumblers that could be used as a cover for the carafe. In 1951, they won an award for a simple design of tumblers and carafe (similar to Kaj Franck) which were different colours but had an outside coating of white glass. They still make this design today. In the early 1960's they kept with the vibrant colours and used more organic designs with long necks. Later clear colourless glass became more prevalent, and decoration included bands, spirals and rims of applied colour. During the 1990's they have commissioned artists including Rosanna Toso. Currently they produce table and giftware, in clear glass and with the use of colour and gold leaf.

Nazeing Glass Works Ltd. Nazeing was founded in 1928 in Nazeing by Richard Kempton. At this time it produced domestic glass, and struggled during the depression. John Ismay, bought a controlling share of the company in 1932. Ismay ran an electrical firm, and the factory began to produce glass bulbs. Ismay retired and Malcolm Pollock-Hill acquired the company in 1938. During the 1930's they made lanterns in clear and coloured glass, blown into metal frames. They also made a type of cloud glass which was similar to the Whitefriars, Gray-Stan and Monart versions. It was sold through Heal's of London and at Elwell's in Harlow. Candlesticks, vases, bowls and lamp bases were made in cloud glass. Later they went on to make pressed glass, and during and after the Second World War they had a series of government contracts. They began to produce glass to order, such as advertising ashtrays and Babycham glasses, suites of glass designed by Ronald Stennet-Wilson in the Tower Suite and the Pullman Suite. They produced glass ware for Boots the Chemist. They produced reproduction Bristol blue glass for the Bristol City Museum. They produced lenses for railway signals. They produced novelty horses and fish, paperweights, and thick glass with bubble inclusions. They made a novelty cereal bowl for Nestle, with the poem Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, written on the rim with indentations to hold the stones from the prunes. They could just about turn their hands to anything. In 1972, they acquired the moulds and interests in Sowerby, when it closed down. Today most of its glass is for rail signal lenses in red, amber, green, white, clear and a special purple.

New Carnival. Carnival glass reproduced since 1961.

New England Glass Co. See Libbey. Glassworks from 1818 to 1890 in East Cambridge, Massachusettes. Began as New England Glass Co, and changed to Libbey in 1880.

Ngywenya Glass. A glass factory in Swaziland. Makes decorative items including animals. An important exporter.

Nonesuch Flint Glass Factory. Glassworks in 1805-35 at Bristol, England. Ran by Issac Jacobs, blue glass gilded by Michel Edkins.

Northwood, Harry. Harry Northwood was the son of John Northwood. He emigrated to Wheeling in America in 1881. He began work as an etcher with Hobbs, Brockunier in Wheeling. Eventually he bought his own glassworks in 1887 in Martins Ferry Ohio. His younger brother Carl, came over to join him. Competition was fierce in the glass industry, and Harry continually introduced new designs and techniques, and achieved enormous success with his Carnival Glass. Some say that he brought decorative iridescent glass to the masses. Carl died in 1918 and Harry in 1919 and the company known as H. Northwood Co. closed in 1925. Most of the moulds were held by L.G. Wright Co, in USA, but in 1999 the moulds were auctioned. They were sold all over the world, and today these moulds are back at work.

Northwood, John. John Northwood started work at WHB & J Richardson in 1848. He had excelled at the Stourbridge School of Art. Around this time Benjamin Richardson challenged his workers to produce a copy of the Portland Vase. Richardson's action would have a substantial, if unexpected, legacy reaching forward into the Art Nouveau movement. The Portland vase was a glass vase, with a deep blue body which had been cased in white glass and this white glass had been carved back to display classical figures and decoration. It had been produced by the Romans around 100BC-100AD and the technique had not been tried again in the Western world. In 1845, the Portland vase had been smashed whilst on display in the British Museum. Once it was broken it was found to be made of glass, and that it was not made of ceramic, as were the Wedgwood Jasper vessels that had been so popular around this time. Now that the Portland vase had been smashed into two hundred pieces, the imagination of the public was captured. In the mid 1850's John Northwood began to experiment. The first step was to create a suitable glass body on which to carve. This needed two layers of glass which would adhere and contract together, otherwise the vessel would crack. It was Philip Pargeter of the Red House Glass works who finally produced the blank. Northwood took several years working on the glass. It did eventually crack in two pieces, simply due to the glass being cold and then being held in warm hands. It was glued together and the crack was not visible. While it was being worked on it created a great deal of interest and it was finally completed in 1877 and it was an immediate success. Northwood was commissioned to make more cameo such as tazzas and a variety of vases, vessels and plaques. In the meantime whilst all this was going on, Northwood also invented and patented machines which would thread, etch or comb glass. He also taught at the Stourbridge School of Art. One of his pupils at this time was Frederick Carder, who was to go on to work at Stevens and Wiliams and then, to establish Steuben in New York, USA. The last great piece of cameo was commissioned by Webb, and is now known as the Dennis Vase or Pegasus Vase. It is twenty one inches high, it has a blue body and a white cameo layer. It has two handles in the shape of winged horses, and a lid with Pegasus on the top of the finial. It is decorated with acanthus, classical banding and Aurora and Amphitite. Most of the tools used by Northwood were made and designed by himself and as far as we know, the whole of these cameos were completed by hand. This technique was not commercial and hydroflouric acid eventually began to be used to dissolve away the basic outlines and mechanical tools were now used to carve as cameo was now in demand. These techniques were all developed by Northwood. In 1882 he was art director at Stevens and Williams, and he remained there until he died in 1902.

Northwood II, John. John Northwood II was the son of the great John Northwood I. He carved cameo and was chief designer at Stevens and Williams until 1950's. His developments included the fabulous Silveria.

Nuutajarvi. This is a very old glass house, founded in 1793, in Urjala in Finland. From time to time the company attempted to do more than window glass and bottles. For instance in the 1850's glass blowers from Germany, Belgium and France were recruited, who could do more delicate work, although there is no record of what they produced. In 1905 a design competition was organised, and won by Helena Wilenius for a glass tumbler and decanter, and Walter Jung for some Art Nouveau glass. In between times it produced bottles and domestic wares. It was not until 1946, that real design and art glass was to take hold. Erik Lindqvist commissioned Gunnel Nyman. Amongst her designs, she produced vases with fine bubbles in a pattern to form a mesh, and other vases with an internal spiral of coloured glass. Nyman died in 1948. There was a fire in 1950, and Wartsila bought the company. Wartsila also owned Arabia, and Kaj Franck was to become the artistic director at Nuutajarvi too. Franck produced multicoloured and modern tableware. Kremlin Bells was a set of decanters, with nested stoppers in the shape of smaller decanters and reminiscent of the Kremlin domes. Oiva Toikka, who worked there between 1963 and 1993, produced a whole range of artistic wares, including pressed glass table ware to structures with lollipops. In 1981, Toikka's range of glass birds was began, and today is highly collected. Over the recent years many unusual designs have been produced by a variety of designers. Today, they only produce art glass. In 1988 they merged with Iittala, and all their glass is sold using the Iittala name.

obsidian glass. This is a volcanic glass which is either black or very dark. Splinters of obsidian were used in South America as simple tools. It was also used by the Egyptians. Simple modern black glass has sometimes been called obsidian, but it is not the true volcanic glass.

Octopus. see Loetz

Okra. Okra glass was started by Richard Golding in 1979. The production has been likened to that of Tiffany, Loetz or Quezal. It is normally iridised and in an Art Nouveau form. It was owned by Moorcroft between 1997 and 2000, and is now back with Richard Golding. Just recently he has been producing exceptional cameo and iridescent glass. It is based in Stourbridge.

Olbrich, Josef. Viennese designer, worked with Bakalowits around 1900.

Onyx. see Loetz

opal glass. This is a translucent white glass. It can show brown and red tints with transmitted light. It was made in Venice in the 17th and 18th Centuries, in Bohemia in the 17th and 19th Centuries and again in England in the 19th Century. The glass is more translucent than opaline glass.

opalescent glass. This can be described as a type of glass which shows a similar type of colouring to opal. When this was used in pressed glass, then the raised pattern was translucent. Such items were made by Lalique, Jobling and Davidson. It was also used to describe some Steuben iridescent glass.

opaline glass. This is not as translucent as opal glass. It can also be coloured in pastel colours. It was very popular in France during the 19th Century. It was sometimes decorated with enamel or gilding, it was both mould blown and free blown, and sometimes would be made to sit in metal gilt frames.

opalique. A type of opalescent pressed glass made by Jobling.

opaque. A material which does not transmit light.

opaque twist. This is a type of decoration in a glass stem. Using the techniques of latticino, coloured threads are elaborately twisted around each other to form spirals within the centre of the stem.

optical glass. Glass which is used for making lenses. The glass is high quality with a high refractive index.

orchid vase. Generally made in Scandinavian, this is a vase for a single flower. Designs have been produced by Sarapaneva and Lutken. see also soli fleur.

Orient and Flume. American glass maker of paperweights and iridescent glass, since 1972, and based in Chico, CA. It produces fine quality, well designed glass and probably a significant area for collecting in the future.

Orrefors. Orrefors was established in 1898 in Sweden. At first it produced simple bottles, window glass and tableware. In 1914, art glass was started with acid cut cameo and engraved glass. In 1916, Graal glass was developed by Knut Bergqvist. Simon Gate began in 1916, and Edvard Hald in 1917, both working with the Graal technique. In 1922 a school of engraving was established, and from this point onwards they excelled in this technique. Hald produced classical and mythological designs, and then more modern designs. In the 1930's, times were hard, and simpler cheaper designs were necessary. Simple ribbed bowls and vases with black bases were produced by Hald. He also produced fish graal bowls in green and clear glass. Hald was artistic director until 1978. Vicke Lindstrand began in 1926, he produced enamelled designs on acid matt surfaces, engraved glass and graal glass. Lindstrand developed Ariel in 1937, in which patterns of air are encapsulated within the glass body. Orrefors continued with innovative designs, and in the 1970's took over Altersfors, Flygsfors, Strombergshyttan and Gullaskruf. However, due to the recession, all of these companies were closed by 1983. In the 1980's they produced Ariel and Graal in modern styles and Orrefors has continued to produce innovative and decorative items with numerous key designers. Kosta Boda and Orrefors merged in 1990 to form Orrefors Kosta Boda. In 1997 they became part of Royal Scandinavian group.

overlay. This is the outside layer in cased glass.

overshot glass. This refers to a type of surface finish. Hot glass is rolled over chips of glass. The vessel is reheated and the surface looks like ice. See also peloton and marver.

A Victorian 'Nailsea' mug from a works in the Bristol area
Nazeing Glass. An example of a trapped bubble pattern in a yellow posy bowl.
Ngywenya Glass. Cast Recycled glass Hippo.
Eagle by Oiva Toikka in the mid 1990's for Nuutajärvi, Finland.
Venetian Opalescent Glass with applied trails
Orrefors Decanter from the end of the 20th Century decorated by Arne Lindblom and designed by Eva Englund.
The Portland vase held by the British Museum.
Cased Osiris vase, pulled up feathering designed by Northwood from a combing device developed in the late 1880's for Stevens & Williams