Flower Blocks and Holders


 To create an attractive flower display in a vase or bowl, some form of support is required to keep the flowers in the correct position. Today flower arrangers use oasis, an artificial foam into which the flower stems can be pushed. Prior to the introduction of oasis, vases and flower bowls came with their own flower supports. Davidson, in common with other glass manufacturers, produced a variety of different flower holders for their vases and flower bowls. These were also sold independently. Adverts for the 'Dome Flower Block' can be found in the Army and Navy Stores catalogues of the 1930s. Another example is a 1934 Liberty catalogue which shows a Monart bowl fitted with a Davidson flower dome

Today the term 'frog' is sometimes used by collectors and dealers for flower blocks and supports. This is a modern term. Davidson always described them as flower blocks or flower supports.

Probably Davidson's most well known creation was the Dome Flower Block. This simple flower holder was the subject of no less than 3 patents. The first patent came in 1910 (Patent No 7830) and appears on all of the Dome Flower Blocks, even those made in the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1931 Davidson obtained two more patents (382,699 and 382,902) which improved the process of manufacture. Davidson's original patent was entitled 'Improvements in the manufacture of flower blocks and the like'. Thus the patent is not for the idea of a flower block, rather a method of manufacture.

The Dome flower block was in the following sizes 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4. 4.5, 5, 5.5, 6, 6.5, 7. 7.5, 8.5 and 10 inches diameter. Davidson also made the dome in two styles, Pattern No 3H which had the holes pierced through the base and No 3 which was not pierced. The flower dome was made in the full Cloud Glass colour range with the exception of Red for obvious reasons. On the base of the frog can be found the size, the words 'Made in England' and the phrase 'Patent 7830/1910' all in raised letters. Domes made after 1931 will also have either just the 382699 patent number or both the 1931 patent numbers. A special interlocking version of the Dome Flower block was also made. This was patented by Frederic Atkinson in 1931. See Patent No 362737 for more details.

Davidson also produced an oval version of the flower dome - Pattern No 5 (not pierced) and 5H (pierced). The oval version was produced in only 3 sizes - 6, 7 and 8 inches. This dome was used in the oblong 321 flower set. Consequently it is quite rare in any colour. When found in Cloud Glass it is usually Amber Cloud. As this shape was introduced after 1931, the oval block will have the 1910 and one or both of the 1931 patent numbers on the base.

Davidson made two other flower blocks, the No 1 Round Block (flat) and the number 8 Round Block (semi-dome). These where used in flower sets where the dome block would be two high. The No 1 block was supplied with the 1907T flower set. The No 8 flower block is found in small flower sets such as the 1907TD and the 1910SD.

The No 1 Round Block (right) was made in the following sizes 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5 and 5 inches. A oval version, Pattern No 2, was also produced in 4 and 5.5 inch sizes.  A notable feature of the No 1 and 2 blocks is the ribbed side which gives the impression that it is made up of many cylinders of glass. As this flower block is not covered by the dome patents, the only markings found on this flower block are the words 'Made in England'.

The No 8 Semi-dome flower block was made in the following sizes 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4 and 4.5 inches. This dome is covered by the Dome patents so it normally has the same information on the base as the Dome Flower Block.

Davidson also produced a number of different flower supports for their range of vases. These were the "Premier", the "Teams" the "Wheel" and the "Grid" flower supports.

The "Premier" flower support was a registered design (No 698103, May 1923). Surprisingly this was a design registered by the Stourbridge Glass Company. One assumes that Davidson bought the rights to use the design themselves. The "Premier" always bears the registered design number, but no reference to Stourbridge Glass. The Premier was used in vases such as the 278 (which was also sold with the "Grid" flower support according to the 1935 catalogue. It is difficult to see how the grid support would fit this vase).  An oval version of the Premier was also produced.

The Premier support was made in the following sizes 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6 and 7 inches. All sizes were made in both the oval and round form. The round Premier support occurs in most Cloud Glass colours. It is rare to find the oval form in any Cloud colours. The most common size made appears to be 4.5 inches.

The Premier was actually a dual purpose flower support. Davidson also sold the "Premier" as a flower support for the 705 and 725 flower bowls. In this instance the support was used upside down as shown in the photograph. The 725 bowl with the Premier support was the centre piece of Davidson's only colour advert in the Pottery Trade Gazette in the 1930s (Feb 1931).

Davidson describes the "Teams" Flower support as 'A practical fitting for Vases'. The design for the support was registered in November 1929 (Registered Design No 750394). It was made in 3 sizes 4, 4.5 and 5.5 inches. Despite the fact that Davidson went to the trouble of registering this design, it is rare to find a vase with this fitting. Indeed, although it is described in a number of Davidson catalogues, it is not mentioned in conjunction with any vase.

A more common flower support is the 'Wheel' flower support. This is most often found with the "Ripple" pattern vase No 741 which was introduced in 1939 and made for sometime after the war. The 'Wheel' support was made in 3 sizes 4, 4.5 and 5.5 inches diameter. Practically the only Cloud Glass colour this support is found in is Topaz-Briar.

The final flower support produced by Davidson was the No 10 "Grid" support. This support was used on the 10/1910 3 piece flower set and also on the Chippendale No 1547/10 flower set. The 10/1910 flower set was produced in many different Cloud Glass colours and it quite common. The most common colours being Amber and Topaz-Briar. Davidson also produced a rectangular Grid support for the No 296 'Fan' vase.

There are two other flower supports that have not been mentioned so far. The first is the Glass support for Hyacinth set No 292 the design for which Davidson registered in 1936 and secondly the flower block No 721774 which Davidson registered in 1926. The Hyacinth support with the 'Stayket' support for the blooms  is a very practical idea, unfortunately the holes for the bulbs are generally too large for today's prepared Hyacinth bulbs. The 721774 flower block, although registered by Davidson does not appear to have been used by them. Certainly it does not appear in any Davidson catalogue.

Copyright (c) Chris and Val Stewart 2001