November 2002 Newsletter

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Introduction

Welcome to the November Cloud Glass newsletter from a Great Britain recovering from recent storms. We were hoping to bring you the results of our last visit to the Newcastle Archives, but we are still processing the data. Hopefully this will be available for the next newsletter. In this shorter than normal newsletter we have:

  • Web site update
  • Sowerby Cloud Glass or a trick of the light?
  • Cloud Glass on Ebay during the last 12 months
  • The W mark on some Davidson Glass
  • More reports from the Pottery Gazette

Cloud Glass Web site

The most exciting addition to the web site has been the page on Brockwitz. In October we brought you the news that some rare Amber Cloud Glass bowls were made by the German Brockwitz Glass company. The bowls are from their Meissen glassware service. This suite of glassware appears in their 1931 catalogue. Unfortunately we do not know when Brockwitz started making Cloud Glass or what other styles and colours they made. Only a small number of Brockwitz catalogues are known and none of these mention Cloud Glass.

Recently on Ebay a Grey Cloud Glass candlestick and powder jar appeared on Ebay. These came from the trinket set which was previously only known in Cobalt-Blue and Inky-Violet Cloud Glass. This finding means that a single manufacturer made Grey, Inky-Violet, Cobalt-Blue, Lime-Green and Pink Cloud Glass. Hopefully we will not have to wait too long before the manufacturer of these colours comes to light. Note, Although Walther made Pink Cloud Glass, there is no evidence that they made these other colours or styles.

Talking of Walther Cloud Glass, thanks to Siegmar Geiselberger  http://www.pressglas-korrespondenz.de  , we have been able identify some more of the Walther styles which occur in Cloud Glass. Some of these have been added to the site and more to come.

The other addition to the web site has been the Davidson Trademark page. Surprisingly, Davidson registered very few trademarks.

Sowerby Cloud Glass or a trick of the light?

Sowerby's London showroom in Charterhouse street, London was bombed out in 1941. They quickly moved to an office in Bank Chambers and in 1948 acquired two new rooms and after much difficulty opened a new showroom. This was featured in the Pottery Gazette with the following photograph.

Of interest is the 8-sided dark coloured bowl to the left of the picture. This bowl is shown in more detail below. Are those streaks trails of Cloud Glass, or part of the design? 

Cloud Glass on Ebay during the last 12 months

Over the last twelve months there has been nearly 1,000 pieces of Cloud Glass sold on Ebay. A number of rare items have also been sold. These include:

  • Two No 275 Umbrella Vases in Purple Cloud
  • An Amber Cloud Globe lamp
  • Two Amber Cloud Glass 'Good Companion' Lamps
  • Two pieces of Grey Cloud Glass from a trinket set
  • A violet 'Roland' Cloud Glass trinket Tray
  • A Purple 283 Sugar (originally thought to be Chippendale)
  • Two 741 Ripple bowls in Amber Cloud

Of the 983 items auctioned on Ebay, 18% failed to sell either because the reserve price was not met or the item received no bids. Unsurprisingly 47.8% of Cloud sold on Ebay was Amber. The full breakdown by colour is as follows:

Amber 47.8%
Purple 14.8%
Green 11.2%
Blue 10.2%
Orange 7.8%
Briar 2.6%
All Walther Cloud 5%
Rest 0.6%

Of the Walther Cloud Glass, The colours break down as follows:

Sepia 57.5%
Malachit 25%
Violet 5%
Pink 7.5%
Butterscotch 5%

Most of the Cloud Glass sold originated in the UK (70.4%) with Australia second with 22.5%. 

UK 70.4%
Australia 22.5%
New Zealand 2.4%
USA 2.0%
Canada 1.9%
The Netherlands 0.87%

Examining the origin of Cloud Glass by colour shows some interesting results:

Country of Origin Amber Purple Green Blue Orange Briar Red All Walther
UK 75.8% 89.1% 72.2% 86.6% 11.2% 85.7% 100% 7.5%
Australia 20% 8.4% 18.9% 9.7% 81% 9.5%   40%
New Zealand 1.8% 0.8% 6.7% 1.3% 6.3% 4.8%    
USA 1.3% 1.7% 1.1%   1.5%     17.5%
Canada 0.8%   1.1% 2.4%       20%
The Netherlands 0.3%             15%

Most Cloud Glass originates in the UK, with the exception of Orange and Walther Cloud Glass, where most originates in Australia. We know from the records that most of the Orange Cloud Glass produced was exported, but why so much of Walther's production went to Australia is a mystery.

Trying to interpret how prices have varied over the year is much more difficult. A number of factors will affect the selling price. These include:

  1. The country selling the Cloud Glass. Most collectors of Cloud Glass are in the UK. Due to the cost of shipping and import duty, these collectors will only buy rare items from abroad. Low value items will generally only sell in the country of origin.
  2. Other concurrent auctions. What other Cloud Glass is selling will impact prices. Collectors will tend to bid on the rarer items, which means that other Cloud Glass may only fetch modest prices.
  3. Completeness of items. In general flower bowls are sold without the flower dome or plinth. Complete items will generally fetch more.
  4. Other factors. For example, in the last few months some new collectors/dealers have start buying Cloud Glass. This has meant that some pieces have reached unexpected and unsustainable prices.
  5. The Cloud Glass web site. This web site has undoubtedly influenced the price of Walther Cloud Glass.

In examining the data, it is very difficult to draw any specific conclusions about price trends as there are wild variations in the prices paid. The following general conclusions can be drawn:

  1. Walther Cloud Glass. As very little has been sold on Ebay, trends are not evident. However Violet and Malachit (Topaz-Violet) colours realise much higher prices than Sepia. The Edith comport in Sepia Cloud Glass is now only fetching 12 to 20 compared with 50 a year ago.
  2. Orange Cloud Glass. Orange Cloud Glass prices have remained strong and there is no evidence of the market becoming saturated.
  3. Unusual non-Davidson and Walther colours do not achieve very high prices.
  4. Prices for standard Davidson pieces in Amber, Green, Blue and Purple have wild variations e.g. for a 6 inch 279 vase in Amber prices have varied from 8 to 27. Flower bowls seem to have the largest price variation.
  5. Pairs of Vases or Candlesticks do not necessarily fetch twice what a single vase or candlestick would realise.
  6. Prices for Green, Blue and Purple are generally higher than for Amber.
  7. There is very little 'ORA' Cloud Glass out there!!!

The average prices over the last year for all Ebay Cloud Glass can be found on the Ebay pages of this site.

The W mark found on some Davidson Cloud Glass

Some Davidson glass, particularly items found abroad have an impressed W mark on the base. What this signifies and when it was used is currently unknown. In an attempt to throw some light on this I am compiling a list of pieces which have this mark. If you have any Davidson Glass with the W mark, please can you send me details :- The style, colour and where it was purchased (if known). I will publish the results in the next newsletter.

My own view is that it may be related to exports made during or immediately after the war. At this time there were a lot of restrictions on what could be produced, particularly for the home market. In 1947 the Pottery Industry was allowed to sell more onto the home market, but had to mark the pieces with a letter under the glaze. Could the W be something similar?

Reports from the Pottery Gazette

The immediate post war years were difficult for all manufacturers. Production and price restrictions were in force, there was a shortage of both raw materials and skilled manpower and imports were once again rising. After allowing decorated and fancy glassware to be made for the home market again in October 1946, the need for foreign exchange forced the government to reintroduce this ban in April 1947. At the same time some countries such as New Zealand were restricting or banning imports of pottery and glass.

Despite these problems companies such as Davidson and Sowerby had full order books and had no trouble selling everything they could produce. They were gradually switching back to more normal peace time production as conditions permitted. In 1948 Davidson once again had a display at the British Industries Fair. The first post war British Industries Fair was in the previous year, but very few of the glass companies attended. In 1948 the Pottery and Glass section was held at Earl's Court and not Olympia due to the smaller number of exhibitors.

The Pottery Gazette had this to say about what Davidson would show at the BIF:

'They will show a selected range from their well-known Davidson and "Chippendale" fancy and domestic pressed glassware, embracing fruit sets, sundaes, grape fruit glasses, bowls, dishes, celery trays, ice plates, salvers, sweets, condiment and water sets in flint, also their celebrated "Dome" flower blocks, flower bowls, vases and ashtrays in colours amber and emerald. Further interesting features include several distinct lines recently reintroduced after their withdrawal from production during wartime conditions.'

These reintroduced lines were the Ripple pattern as can be seen in this photograph of Davidson's display which appeared in the Potter Gazette.

Interestingly there is no mention of Cloud Glass in the list of colours produced. We do know that Amber Cloud was still being made in small quantities as late as 1954.

In November 1948, the Pottery Gazette reported on the long service awards given to a number of Davidson employees. The Gazette reported :

'In recognition of their exceptionally long service with the firm, several of the employees of George Davidson and Co,. Ltd., Teams Glass Works, Gateshead, received presentations recently. Seventy-two-year-old Mr. W. Corbett was the employee with the longest service - 59 years- to be presented with a long service award. Mr A. Hughes (71), with 58 years' service, was a close second, whilst the oldest employee with the firm is Mr G Carter (75), and is still working after 57 years' service. Other men who received presentations for 50 or more years' service were: J. Melville, 52 years; J Pickering, 52 years; F. Duffy, 51 years; G. Wood, 51 years; C. E. Young, 50 years. Woman employees receiving awards for 25 years service were: Miss D Davidson, 34 years; Miss B. Hollins, 30 years; Miss J. major, 25 years; Mrs E McCrystal, 25 years; Mrs Mrs M. Williams, 25 years, and Mrs A. Percival, 25 Years.
Mr C. L. Fraser, the governing director, who opened the proceedings, said the Board of Trade had been gratified with the efforts the firm had made in the export markets, and, in making the presentations, Sir Arthur Lambert, M C., J.P., a director of the firm, stressed the necessity for still greater efforts in the export drive.'

Some of these names will be familiar to anyone who has been examining the surviving Davidson records in the archives. Sadly for the Davidson company, Sir Arthur Lambert died on the 29th October 1948. Sir Arthur had been director of Townsend and Co., a famous china and glass firm founded by his grandmother in 1832. Townsend and Co was sold to Fenwick Ltd in 1935. Sir Arthur was twice Lord Mayor of Newcastle-on-Tyne and received a knighthood for his efforts in organising the North-East Coast Exhibition in 1929.


Copyright (c) Chris and Val Stewart 2002