|April 2002 Cloud Glass Newsletter|
This issue is devoted entirely to Orange Cloud Glass.
is the second rarest colour of Cloud Glass made by Davidson. Most of the
Orange Cloud Glass available for sale today comes from Australia and New
Zealand. This suggests most of the glass was made for the export market.
Orange Cloud glass was difficult to make and more expensive than the other
Cloud Colours available at the time. Typically Orange was between 20 and 25%
more expensive. Davidson also produced two variants. The first Orange Cloud
Glass had trails that were very yellow, appearing like custard on the rims of
bowls and vases. Davidson had many production problems with this variant, and
produced a modified form in time for the 1934 British industries fair. Here
the trails were a definite orange colour.
first attempted production run of Orange Cloud Glass was made on 20th
March 1933. A glassmaker named Graham made 55 8” No 712 vases. These were
all described as ‘Bad Colour’ and rejected. On the following day the same
glassmaker made 712 vases and the full range of 279 (column) vases. The result
this time was ‘Bad Shapes’ and ‘Seedy Metal’. Seedy Metal means the
glass contained lots of small bubbles. Despite this most of the production run
was passed by the inspectors. On the 24 and 25th March the
glassmaker George Hall made a large number of different styles of bowls in
Orange, including patterns 701, 702, 727, 21, 20, 732, 248, and 696. This time
the shape of the glass was fine, but they still had the problem of seedy
glassmakers were paid for each item they made which passed inspection. The
amount paid depended on the complexity of the design. Higher rates were paid
for Cloud Glass than ordinary flint or coloured glass. As they were having so
many problems with the Orange the glassmakers were paid a flat hourly rate,
rather than per item.
the 25th March they went back to the drawing board and no more
Orange Cloud Glass was made until the 8th May. On this day the
glassmaker Graham made 712 and 279 vases and 732 Flower Bowls. This run was
more successful, with the records having no comments about seedy metal. Over
the next five days, a large range of vases and bowls were made. Only a few had
the seedy metal problem. Again there was a break in production until July,
when on the 11th Orange Cloud Glass was once again made. This
production run ended on the 26th July.
manufacture of Orange Cloud Glass did not resume until the 7th
December that year. It would appear that this was the first production run of
the modified form of Orange Cloud Glass. After the 20th December,
no more Orange was made until March 1934. As the modified form of Orange was
first shown in the February 1934 British Industries fair, this glass had to
have been made in the December.
quantities of Orange Cloud Glass were made in March, April, May and June of
that year. There then followed a short break and production resumed at the end
of August. This run was short lived, Orange Cloud Glass was made on only 6
days in late August and Early September. No more was made until April 1935.
Again large quantities were made in April, May and June of that year.
is an unusual production schedule. For all other types of glassware, the
production was constant through out the year. Typically a particular colour
would be made over a period of one or two days followed by a gap of a few days
or even a few weeks. The Orange Cloud Glass production schedule could have
been the result of trying to keep shipping costs down.
They produced the glass and then shipped the bulk of the production run
to Australia in a single shipment.
June 1935, there was again a break in production until the 10th
December. The very last production run was on the 13Th December
that year. In this final run they made the 204 and 204D posy bowls – the
only time this style was made in orange Cloud Glass.
Cloud Glass caused Davidson many problems. It was both difficult and expensive
to produced. As a colour, it was not popular at home and the bulk of
production went abroad. The short
life of the colour suggests that its popularity abroad was not great. In the
records there is also no mention of a Yellow Cloud Glass. This suggests that
yellow results from times when they had problems obtaining a good orange
colour and probably sold as ‘seconds’.
for collectors some of the Davidson records survive. From these we have been
able to produce a complete catalogue of Orange Cloud Glass. The table below
shows the total number of items made in Orange Cloud Glass for each style. The
table includes both the number of items made, and the number of items that
passed inspection. The problems with orange meant that the wastage rate with
Orange Cloud Glass was higher than any other colour. The information in the
table was obtained from surviving glassmaker records. These show what the
glassmaker made and how much he was paid (it was an all male profession at the
time). There are some errors in the records. For example according to the
accounts only 7.5” 204 posy bowls were made in orange, yet 9” ones are
known to exist. In other places the No 10 Grid fitting is described as an
ashtray! The fact that a wrong style was written down did not concern the
glassmaker, providing he was paid the correct amount. On the whole the records
Office staff often were not consistent as to whether a style was classified as
either a bowl or a vase. In this table we have followed Davidson’s records
and some flower bowls are included under the Vase list.
column headed Colour Variant shows whether a design was made in Unmodified
Orange, Modified Orange or both.