October 2001 Cloud Glass Newsletter


In this Issue:

  • Web site updates

  • Ebay and Fair news

  • Davidson Cloud Glass post World War 2

  • Reports from the Pottery Gazette

Cloud Glass Web Site

I have made many changes to the web site since the last newsletter. Catalogue pages for Davidson Ashtrays, Lamps, Trinket Sets and Vases have been created. Also the Walther catalogue pages have been updated with some new styles and photographs. In particular have a look at the Topaz-Violet bowl on the Walther Bowls and Comports page (The last one on the page). It is very unusual. I have seen a similar example in a photograph taken at an Exhibition at the Broadfield House Glass Museum. Many thanks to Tony Hodgson for supplying the photograph.

Ebay and Fairs News

For a while in September, there was very little rare Cloud Glass going through Ebay. In seems to have picked up recently, and there has been some strong competition for some pieces. Hopefully in the next few months we will se more on Ebay. Most of the Sepia and Topaz-Violet is still coming from Australia and New Zealand with some interesting examples coming from Holland. Now that Ebay Germany is online, we should start seeing more coming from Germany the home of Oralit.

I did wonder what the effect would be on prices now that we know much of the rare Cloud Glass is German. The dealers I have talked to say that collectors are taking an interest in other types of Walther Glass as well as their Cloud Glass. This should mean that prices will remain strong – which is either good or bad depending on whether you are a collector or a dealer!!

Davidson Cloud Glass post World War 2

There has been some debate in the past about how much Cloud Glass was made after WWII. We know that Topaz-Briar was introduced in 1957, but what about before then? Nick Dolan has suggested in the Guide for the 1993 Shipley Art Gallery Exhibition that only old stocks were ‘finished’ and sold in the 1950s. My own view is that Davidson continued to make Amber Cloud until about 1955. An advert for Davidson in the 1952 Pottery Gazette featured a number of Cloud Glass flower sets. Also Davidson’s 1954 price list (available from the Shipley Art Gallery) includes about 18 articles that were sold in Amber Cloud. So Amber Cloud was being sold for at least 10 years after the war.

Could this have all been pre-war stock? I think this was unlikely for a number of reasons. Firstly, immediately after the war the British Government was encouraging companies to export goods, as Britain desperately needed the foreign currency. As Davidson switched from War work to normal production, any domestic glass they produced would have been exported. Secondly that was a shortage of domestic glassware in the UK. Reports in the Pottery Gazette talk about glassware coming into shops and being sold on the same day. Some shopkeepers were even exploiting the situation and charging very high prices for what little glass was available. If Davidson had any pre-war stocks of glassware, they would have very quickly sold. Also I would not have thought that Davidson had the warehouse space to store domestic glassware during the war. All available space would have been used for wartime production.

Reports From the Pottery Gazette

The Pottery Gazette and Glass Trade Review, was the main journal for the glass and pottery industry. It is still going, but is now called Tableware International. The Gazette featured adverts and articles of interest to pottery and glass manufactures (and sellers). In the Gazette you can find articles that range from how to display glassware to the latest techniques in designing pottery kilns. It is also a mine of interesting social history as it includes such things as employment statistics and reports on industrial injuries. Also prior to WWII, the articles are long and very ‘wordy’. After the war they are much shorter and generally convey less information.

The Davidson Company normally placed only one or two adverts in the Pottery Gazette each year. This compares to companies such as Clayton Meyers, which advertised every month. Information about Davidson, and for that matter other pressed glass companies such as Sowerby, is hard to find in the Gazette. Occasionally Davidson would be featured in the ‘Buyers Notes’ articles and towards Christmas in the ‘Gift Ideas’. Most information is obtained in the report for the British Industries Fair (and later the Blackpool Gift fair). The British Industries Fair was the main trade fair for British Industry until the early 1950s. It was normally held in London in late February. When the BIF ceased, the Blackpool fair became the main showcase for the pottery and glass industry.

The reports in the Pottery Gazette give a glimpse as to what styles Davidson, and the reporter, thought important. I therefore intend to include a report from the Pottery Gazette in each Newsletter. The first is from the year 1934:

Geo. Davidson & Co., Teams Flint Glass Works, Gateshead-on-Tyne.- This firm made their usual wonderful display of pressed glass in all varieties, from plain flint wares for utility to coloured wares for decorative purposes. The coloured glasses were particularly impressive. Several new colours were included amongst them, and in all shades good business was done with a range of 5 piece bathroom sets. One noticed a new green cloud effect – on view for the first time. We were told that with this wonderful business was done. We also noticed that the orange cloud has been subjected to some modifications, and in its new guise this appeared to be in great demand for the export trade. Amongst the other leading colours were emerald – available either in clear or matt glass – and cloud amber. The Queen visited the stand and purchased several pieces of matt emerald, as well as a hors d’oeuvres set in plain flint and some pieces in the Chippendale glass, which is now being made at Gateshead-on-Tyne in a full range of articles. The stand of this house was a real object lesson as regards display. The various coloured glasses were suitably toned up with flowers of the critically correct shade to attain perfect harmony, and the way in which the flowers were poised by utilising the firm’s “Dome” flower block could have been made – and probably was – a great point in salesmanship. Bunches of anemones, tulips and daffodils were dotted around with an expert eye for effect, and fresh fruit also was employed to attain to the perfectly correct display note. We could not help thinking that if we ourselves had possessed a china and glass shop we should have been tempted to hang around this particular stand for a long time absorbing some of the display ideas.

It should be noted that the Queen would not have handed over any money. Davidson would have ‘donated’ the items to the Queen. This year Davidson excelled them selves and had 4 adverts in the Pottery Gazette.  Mostly they were advertising Chippendale. Davidson had become the owners and sole manufacturers of the range in 1933.  

And Finally

That’s all for this newsletter – except for a warning. If you plan to use Davidson’s hyacinth bowl (Pattern No 292) with the glass support (design No 809129) then pick the bulbs carefully. Modern prepared hyacinth bulbs are much smaller than they were in 1936 – they fall through the holes. We have used a layer of cotton wool to support ours!!

Please email info@cloudglass.com if you have any comments or suggestions for this newsletter.

Best Wishes

Chris & Val

Copyright (c) Chris and Val Stewart 2001