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
rag. A pad of wet newspapers which a glass blower uses to mould the molten glass.

Ravenhead. There has been a history of glass and bottle making around the Ravenhead colliery since at least 1842, as this was a cheap source of coal. In the 1870's a new factory was built which used gas to fire the furnaces. This company was called Nuttall and Co, and in 1913 it merged with another five local firms, in order for the companies to share their resources and buy new equipment to make bottles. The merger created a company called United Glass Bottle Manufacturers Limited. In 1932 they began making tableware, in Art Deco styles which were very successful. In 1947 Alexander Hardie Williamson was employed as a designer. He had previously worked at Bageley, and was to go on to produce more than 1700 designs over the next twenty seven years. In 1948 the company bought a new machine, which fully automated the production of stemware. Willamsons' designs were very popular and some were made well into the 1970's. He designed the patterns on the new Slim Jims glasses which had machine printed enamels which were made from the 1950's to the 1970's. They were producing a third of all container glass in the UK by 1959, and the name of the company was simplified to United Glass. A subsidiary was created in 1964, United Glass (Ravenhead) Limited which focused on domestic glass. It changed its name again to Ravenhead Glass in 1965. During the 1970's John Clappison designed the Barmaster range which is still in production today. The Barmaster range has an angular shape and a thick base. The Siesta range which was designed in 1973 by Williamson, was one of their most popular ranges. It has a bark like surface texture and Clappison was to go on to extend the design to more shapes. United Glass was bought by Owens Illinois in 1987 and Ravenhead itself then became part of Libbey Glass, and after several changes of ownership Ravenhead was bought by Durobor in Belgian. Ravenhead was the largest maker of table glass in the UK, and was exporting to over 100 countries, producing 200 million glasses per year. Glass demand for dimpled glasses fell in the 2000's and Ravenhead closed in 2001.

Ravilious, Eric. British glass designer who designed enamelled glass ware for Stuart in the 1930's.

Red House Glass Works. Glass works at Wordsley, run by Philip Pargeter. The glass cone and outbuilding exist today and can be visited. See Stuart.

Redcliff Backs Glasshouse. Glass works in Bristol, circa 1757. Michael Edkins is connected with decorated white glass at the works.

registration mark. Between 1842 and 1883, this took the form of a lozenge or diamond with letters indicating its class and the date of registration of the design. After 1883 a number was used. A table to identify the date is given here.

resist. A coating of wax which was resistant to acid, thus wherever the pattern was cut through the wax, acid could be used to etch out the pattern on the surface of the glass. This was used for commercial cameo.

Rheinische Glasshutten. German glassworks at Koln Ehrenfeld between 1864 and 1931. Designers who worked there included Peter Behrens, Georges de Feure, and Kolo Moser.

Rhinestone. Imitiation gems made by cutting crystal or paste.

Richard. Etling sold 'Richard' cameo glass in Paris in the 1920's. It was produced in mainly floral and landscape designs for bowls and vases. Strong and contrasting colours tended to be used, such as blue on red. It is thought production was contracted out to Loetz although the quality is surprisingly variable.

Richardson. This was more properly known as W.H., B., and J. Richardson, using the initials of three brothers (William Haden, Benjamin and Jonathan, William Haden being the eldest and Jonathan the youngest). Without doubt, they were to become one of the most innovative and influential glassmakers in Britain during the 19th Century. William Haden started work in the glass industry with Bilston in 1802 and then worked at Hawkes of Dudley from 1810 to 1828. William Haden and Benjamin and Thomas Webb bought the Wordsley glass house in 1829. Thomas Webb was to leave the partnership a few years later. It is thought that Jonathan joined the partnership in 1836. Richardson introduced press moulding in the 1840's, and used compressed air to get a sharper moulding. Many of the shops that they supplied were in London, including Thomas Goode and Mortlock. They also exported to Boston and Montreal. During the 1840's they were producing opaque white glass vases with enameled and transfer printed Chinese scenes. This was in tune with the Chinese fashion in Europe at the time. When the Portland Vase was smashed it is thought that they produced transfer printed replicas in various sizes. The Richardsons also picked up on the Rococo style and added acanthus leaves, ornaments and the like to their designs. They were awarded a gold medal by Prince Albert in 1847 by the Society of Arts. More medals were to follow. In the late 1840's they drew upon the French style, and an example is found of a white glass leaf bowl decorated with gilding, which was very similar to a French pattern made by Yolande Amic. They also used coloured glass canes in the stems of glasses which drew upon Clichy. In 1857 Queen Victoria ordered Venetian style glasses from Richardson and this raised their profile even more. The Richardsons were to go on to produce highly decorated glass, using enamels and engraving, using highly floral designs. The main engraver at this time was William Jabez Muckley who produced magnificent engraved glassware including glasses with 'prickly' stems by creating a very special diamond and sharply cut knop in the stems. Despite all this success, in 1852 the company was bankrupt. No doubt the stand at the Crystal Palace Exhibition had added to the financial strain. Every creditor was paid, and it is reputed that the bank reclaimed an interest on the debt several times more than the amount owed. Benjamin and Jonathan buried their tools and moulds to avoid seizure by the creditors, and thus they could begin again. It was amazing that within a year they were displaying at the Dublin Exhibition. The company was now renamed as B Richardson. Acid etching on cased glass was developed by them in the 1850's. They used this to good effect on drinking glasses for classic geometric design, and also to produce a vermicular or vermicelli patterns on the surface of jugs. They also developed a double twist loop handle on jugs which was to become a typical trademark of a Richardson jug. Benjamin patented air trap decoration. In 1864 they were trading as Hodgetts, Richardson and Pargeter producing cut, engraved and acid etched glass. Unlike the earlier years there was no further experimentation in glass. In 1870 Pargeter left the partnership to run the Red House Glass Works. The company became known as Hodgetts, Richardson and Son, and new techniques began to be developed again. Hodgetts developed and patented a threading machine, which drew fine threads of molten coloured glass onto any revolving glass body. After the reproduction of the Portland vase by Northwood, they employed Joseph Locke and Alphonse Lechevrel so that they could compete in the cameo market. They displayed at the Paris Exhibition of 1878. It was an extraordinary display of threaded and etched and engraved and cameo glass. It was around this time that they entered into a dispute with Webb, as Webb believed that they had infringed on the Webb patent for bronze glass. The Richardson version is reputed to have a brown body when viewed with transmitted light. After the international exhibition, the company seemed to take time to recover from all the experimentation and developments running up to the exhibition. Hodgetts retired in 1881. By 1885 they were making finely threaded glass, known as Iris Threaded Glass, and also Convolvulus vases with applied decoration. They displayed their new wares in London in 1897. At this time they were focusing on lighting. They produced a wide array of shades and globes in all their styles. They also did magnificent centre pieces for tables, and many flower holders, using the rusticana style. The ranges included Sunflowers, Campanula, Fir cone, Acorn and Bamboo. In 1905 they produced new effects with Ceonix (a marbled glass) and Firestone (an iridescent glass). In the 1920's they rejuvenated the cameo style, by producing what they called Cameo-Fleur. (Sometimes this is referred to as Pseudo-cameo). It used strong colours, such as purple, amber, green or blue on a clear body. It was acid etched and the clear background was then either stippled with the use of acid or cut into facets by hand carving. Webb took over the company in 1930. It had been one of the most influential glass companies of the previous one hundred years, developing glass techniques before others used them commercially. It could be argued that without Richardson, Galle would never have seen a piece of cameo glass. Richardson glass is often high on quality and many collectors would like a piece! See mark.

Riedel. The Riedel family started many glass works in Bohemia from 1828 onwards. They were not only entrepreneurs but also expanded the science of glass making. They developed two Uranium based colours, and in 1912 had a laboratory where they developed 600 different glass colours. They were to go on to produce an extensive variety of glass ware. During the first half of the 20th century, they produced cameo glass, and marbled and Jugendstil vases and bowls. In the 1900's they produced enamelled and gilded glass, and in the 1920's they produced pressed opalescent glass figures similar to Lalique. They produced Wiener Werkstatte styles in blown glass and also heavy marbled classical pieces. They were also famous for cubist style perfume bottles. Walter Riedel invented glass fibre, and was to be arrested in 1945 and forced to the Soviet Union to manage a glass laboratory. The Riedel factories were nationalised. Walter was released in 1956 and he moved to Austria, where he and his son set up a new glass works by buying Tiroler Glashutte in Kufstein after it went bankrupt. They specialised in fine stemware, and won many prizes for design. During the 60's and 70's they began to develop a more dramatic style with designers from Italy, with lop sided glasses and interlocking vases. Between 1962 and 1976 they were commissioned by Rosenthal to produce glass and giftware. They opened another factory in 1969 in Schneegarten in Austria. Claus Josef Riedel developed the Sommeliers range in 1971. This is also known as the Wine Waiters range, and there are more than 30 glasses in the range. The company continues today producing tableware. See mark.

Riihimaki Glass. This glass works was started in 1910 in Finland producing bottles and domestic glass. Kaukalahti glassworks was purchased in 1927, and Riihimaki was then the largest producer of glass ware in Finland. From the 1920's one of the keys to their success was the number of excellent glass designers that they commissioned. Amongst those many designers, they commissioned Tyra Lundgren (art glass), Eva Gylden (cut glass), Henry Ericsson (engraved glass). During the 30's and 40's Gunnel Nyman produced over fifty designs in organic and flowing designs. In 1933 and 1936, they organised design competitions. From this they produced Alvar Aalto's Riihimaki flower, which was a set of nesting bowls. In 1937 their name was changed to Riihmaen Lasi Oy, and they took over Ryttyla Glassworks. In 1949, they ran another design competition, and first prize went to Arttu Brummer, and second to Timo Sarpaneva, and third to Helena Tynell. Tynells designs ranged from organic forms to geometric engraved patterns. Nanny Still joined in 1949, and produced highly geometric designs, such as the Harlekiine set, which had bulbous decanters with cone and ball shapes within the form. In 1966, they organised another design competition. This was won by Erkkitapio Siiroinen. He produced tableware and cast glass sculptures. In 1961 they agreed to make clear colourless glass, whilst Karhula would make coloured glass. This was a trade agreement with Ahlstrom which owned Iittala and Karhula. It was replaced with a new agreement in 1982, so that Riihimaki would make green glass, Karhula would make brown glass, and both would make clear glass. By this time, Riihimaki were no longer making glass by hand and everything was automated. Riihimaki was bought by Ahlstrom in 1985, and after merging with Karhula in 1988, the factory was closed in 1990 and Karhula sold to Owens Illinois.

Rindskopf, Josef. Glassworks in Czechoslovakia between 1891 and 1927. Produced iridescent, pressed and various coloured glass.

Ritzenhoff. German glass printer, operating today, producing decorated glasses, particularly lager and beer glasses.

rock crystal. This is naturally occurring quartz crystal and from early times it was carved. It also refers to a style of carved glass, which resembled carved rock crystal. It became possible when full lead crystal was used, as this was hard enough to carve. The glass can look as though it has come out of a well defined mould. It was popular in the 1870's and 1880's and was carved by Kny, Krettschmann, Fritsche and others at Webb and by Orchard at Stevens and Williams.

rolling pin. This was a frigger, often in the Nailsea style. It is thought that the rolling pins could be filled with cold water to roll out dough, or could be used for storage, but more often thought to be love tokens or gifts, as some have enamelled or gilded mottoes or rhymes.

Roman glass. This term generally refers to glass produced in the Roman Empire for a period of time from about 100BC to 400AD. Bowls and vases were produced along with mosaics and cameo glass, see Northwood and the Portland vase.

rose bowl. A bowl with a metal grill fitting on the top through which the stems of roses can be pushed so that a symmetrical blanket pattern of rose flower heads is created on the top of the bowl. In America it also refers to a small bowl for rose petals.

rose du barry. A type of glass made by Steuben and Stevens and Williams. The Steuben version was pink, whilst the Stevens and Williams version was very similar to the Queens Burmese produced by Webb. It had a different name and was slightly different in colour and thus avoided a lawsuit.

Rosenthal. Rosenthal Porzellan was founded in 1879 in Germany, and was not involved in glass making. However, during the Second World War, Rosenthal managed the Saint-Louis glass factory in Paris between 1942 and 1944. In 1950 Rosenthal first began to decorate glass with cutting and engraving and from 1957 it made glass at Bad Soden. They produced stem ware, and commissioned designers in the 1950's for their Studio Line. This range included matching ceramics and cutlery. In 1956 the Series 2000 was designed by Richard Latham and decorated by Raymond Loewy and Margaret Hildebrand. In the 1960's, Tapio Wirkkala designed a stemware range called Variation with a milled foot. The now famous designer, Bjorn Wiinblad designed the cut and engraved Romanze range (both shape and pattern) and the Lotus range (the pattern only, the shape was by Latham) which was decorated by sandblasting. This matched the Wiinblad porcelain in 1964. Pavel Hlava designed wine glasses, and Vicke Linstrand and Timo Sarpaneva designed candleholders. Rosenthal commissioned Riedel to produce its glassware between 1962 and 1976. Rosenthal began the Thomas ceramic factory in 1960 in Kulm. It bought Elizabeth Glashutte in 1966 and from here it made the Thomas range of glass ware whilst at the Bad Soden factory it produced luxury glassware. Michael Boem designed a wide variety of stemware between 1976 and 1998. Nanny Still designed champagne glasses and cast glass in the 1980's. The Bad Soden factory closed in the 1980's. The old Elizabeth Glashutte factory was sold to Nachtmann in 1997. Rosenthal and Thomas glass today is made in Germany and the Czech Republic. Today it is part of the Waterford Wedgwood group, as they became a majority shareholder in 1998. See mark.

Rousseau, Eugene. Eugene Rousseau worked at his fathers shop in Paris selling ceramics. He also worked at Sevres alongside Marc Louis Solon. (Solon was to go on to produce pate sur pate at Minton's in the UK). Rousseau was influenced by the Japanese style at the time and started a glass decorating workshop. Eugene Michel joined him at the workshop. The glass that he decorated was produced by Appert Freres at Clichy. Rousseau had a large variety of styles and designs. Some glass was like imitation stone, and sometimes he used a smokey glass with intaglio designs. He also carved cameo and intaglio designs on cased glass often in a Japanese style. In 1877 Ernest-Baptiste Leveille joined as a decorator. Rousseau continued to work with Appert Freres. Another glass style which he developed was to case a crackle glass with clear glass, and in so doing capture metallic oxides and gold leaf between the two layers. Intaglio would sometimes be added and also metal mounts and fittings. In 1884 he was awared a French Legion of Honour medal. He sold his workshop to Leveille in 1885. Leveille continued to produce Rousseau designs for some time. Rousseau died in 1891. Whether produced by Rousseau or by Leveille these vases are extremely rare. Rousseau is very interesting as it pre-emptied the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movements some items have a strong naturalistic theme.

Royal Brierley Glass. See Brierley.

Royal Doulton. Tableware and giftware producers, based predominantly in the UK. Included Caithness paperweights, Webb Corbett, Royal Doulton Classics and Royal Doulton Studio.

Royo. This is found within the enamelling of some Spanish glass. It is highly decorated and gilded all over, and some say it is a Moser signature. See mark.

ruby flash. Glass made by encasing a clear glass body with a very thin layer of red glass.

ruby red. Red glass produced by the addition of colloidal gold.

rusticana. Type of glass produced by Loetz.

A study by Eric Ravilious for Stuart Crystal c1934, from Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities by Alan Powers. ISBN 0 85667 567 9
Red House Glassworks Glass cone, Stourbridge. Eventually the home of Stuart.
Cameo-Fleur, Rich cameo by Richardsons from the 1920's.
Rose from Riedel. A glass in production in 2005 from the Sommeliers range.
Ritzenhof Glass from 1997, designed by Bruno Gregori.
Rosenthal Candle holder Late 20th century.
Royo, first half of the 20th century
Registration numbers. The diamond changed in 1867 and was abolished in 1883.
An example of a Registration diamond post 1867 from a black Sowerby glass basket.