Pressed and Pressed-Patterned Blanks

After about 1910 some pressed blanks were made with molds that contained elements of the pattern to be cut. They should be called pressed-patterned blanks to distinguish them from “figured” blanks (which were blown, of course, not pressed) and from pressed-unpatterned (that is, plain) blanks. Wilson (1994, p. 690) mentions their use at the Libbey Glass Company as characteristic of “post-Rich Cut glass,” that is, post-Brilliant Period cut glass. He also quotes a statement that appeared in the 6 Feb 1904 issue of China, Glass, and Lampsas follows: “The Libbey Company is experimenting with pressed blanks on an extensive scale.” Unfortunately it is not clear whether these pressed blanks were plain or patterned.

The molds used to produce pressed-patterned blanks contained the item’s pattern, in whole or in part. The plungers, however, were smooth, resulting in interiors that are also smooth, unlike “figured” blanks. It is usually impossible to determine which elements in the pattern were present in the mold, and were subsequently “over-cut” or “over-engraved,” and which elements were cut or engraved “from scratch.” The following item could have been cut and engraved on a mold-blown, pressed, or pressed-patterned blank:

Nappy cut and engraved in the Wistaria pattern. From the 1920 Libbey catalog: “A combination of polished rock crystal effect vine and leaf work with copper wheel engraved birds and sprays of Wistaria blooms. The cockatoo, or love bird, ornament follows a timely decorative tendency for birds. A wide silver diamond cut band fittingly frames this attractive pattern.” Shape no. 219. Signed Libbey (in circle). D = 8″ (20 cm), H = 1.75″ (4.4 cm), wt = 2 lb (0.9 kg). Retail price $7 in 1920. Sold for $275 in 1982.