Orange Cloud Glass

Orange 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. The reporter wrote in the review of the British Industries Fair:

“...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.”

The picture, left, shows the original orange colour. The base glass is a pale orange and the trails are almost yellow, like custard. Indeed the trails can be such a colour that they are mistaken for the non-existent yellow Cloud Glass. If the trails are strong near the rim or edge of a vase, they have an almost pearline look to them. 

The picture, right, shows the second form of orange. Again the base colour is a pale orange, but now the trails are a deeper orange and completely different from the previous example. On heavily trailed pieces, the orange has a distinct reddish tinge.

The first trial run of Orange Cloud Glass was made on the 23rd January 1933 when 1910M and 1910MD bowls were made, none of which passed inspection. The next attempted production run was on the 14th February 1933 when No 20 bowls, 712 8" vases and 696 F, C and D flower bowls were made in a 'New Colour'. A second attempt was made on the following day when No. 279 6 and 8 inch vases, No. 279 D 10 inch vases, No. 51 vases, 283 6" jars and 732 and 732F bowls were made. The comment on the production run was 'All Blistery Metal'. The glassmaker, Graham, was paid 1 for these two days work. An entry in the index for the next account book which started on the next day, 16th February, confirms that this new colour was Orange Cloud Glass.

The next attempted production run was made on 20th March 1933. The glassmaker, 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 metal. 

Normally 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. 

After 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. 

The 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. 

Large 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. 

This 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. 

After 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. 

Orange 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’. 

Fortunately 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 are accurate. 

Davidson 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. The column headed Colour Variant shows whether a design was made in Unmodified Orange, Modified Orange or both.

Davidson Pattern No Number Made Number which Passed Inspection Colour Variant (Modified, Unmodified or Both) Comments
27 1242 1088    
29 Hearts 854 802 Both  
30 Spades 816 756 Both  
31 Diamonds 898 850 Both  
32 Clubs 845 802 Both  
283 S 8140 7320 Both  
Cigarette Box          
1 437 348 Modified  
Lid for No 1 600 455 Modified  
2 570 504 Modified  
Lid for No 2 818 754 Modified  
283 3" 1450 1369 Both  
283 Salad 8.5" 133 59 Modified  
26 9" 25 10 Unmodified   
27 Boat shaped 840 622 Both  
12 Hearts 50 36 Unmodified Only one batch made
13 Spades 50 37 Unmodified Only one batch made
14 Diamonds 50 38 Unmodified Only one batch made
15 Clubs 50 36 Unmodified Only one batch made
Flower Blocks:        
3H 2.5" 100 96 Modified Only one batch made
3H 3.5" 100 96 Modified Only one batch made
3H 4" 110 107 Modified  
3H 4.5" 50 49 Modified Only one batch made
3H 5" 63 51 Both  
8 2.5" 100 100 Modified Only one batch made
8 3" 50 46 Modified Only one batch made
Flower Bowls:        
20 976 862 Both  
21 2023 1586 Both  
24 778 728 Both  
24M 1690 1613 Both  
25 200 193 Unmodified  
696C 433 403 Both  
696D 512 497 Both  
696F 520 390 Both  
S/696D 1067 974 Both  
S/696F 1294 1083 Both  
699D 95 87 Both  
699F 23 17 Unmodified Only one batch made
700D 694 529 Unmodified  
732 2372 1928 Both  
732F 2098 1486 Both  
1907T 794 702 Both  
1907TD 1695 1611 Both  
1910BD 2961 2661 Both  
1910BF 8 4 Unmodified Only one batch made
10/1910 480 434 Modified Only one batch made
1910D 130 105 Modified Only one batch made
1910M 87 85 Modified Only one batch made
1910MD 834 805 Modified  
1910MG 221 186 Modified  
1910SD 1580 1494 Modified  
248F 1940 1735 Both  
248D 1932 1791 Both  
Grid Support:        
10 4.5" 80 80 Modified All Bad Colour, Only one batch made
Powder Jars:        
283 3" 1240 1204 Both  
283 5" 1188 906 Both  
Posy Bowls:        
204 7.5" Optic 141 127 Modified 9" Bowls known to exist. Only one batch made
204D 7.5" Optic 53 49 Modified Only one batch made
1 120 119 Modified   
2 60 56 Modified Only one batch made
3 200 195 Modified   
4 150 135 Modified   
248 200 195 Modified   
24 55 38 Modified Only one batch made
24M 155 140 Modified   
280 Square 610 469 Modified  
Trinket Trays:        
5P (Plain) 794 722 Both  
 1  120  92 Modified Only one batch made
34 D 31 29 Modified Only one batch made
34 SD 281 274 Modified  
34 SLF 130 111 Modified  
34 VF 50 47 Modified Only one batch made
34 SVG 150 147 Modified  
34 VG 50 49 Modified Only one batch made
34 SVF 160 159 Modified 109 wrong colour
34 SF 30 29 Modified Only one batch made
50 109 90 Modified Only one batch made
51 488 434 Unmodified  
279 6" 1264 1109 Both  
279 D 6" 72 60 Both  
279 8" 1141 995 Both  
279 D 8" 136 108 Both  
279 10" 709 579 Both   
279 D 10" 160 115 Both   
292 57 57 Modified Only one batch made
293 100 89 Modified Only one batch made
294 100 99 Unmodified Only one batch made
701 57 42 Both  
702 62 45 Both  
703 59 47 Both  
705 130 101 Both  
707 133 104 Both
712 8" 1167 1025 Both   
712C 8" 5 5 Modified Only one batch made
712D 8" 37 36 Modified Only one batch made
712 10" 369 310 Both  
721 194 164 Both  
722 161 149 Both  
723 388 332 Both  
725 337 320 Both  
726 6 4 Modified Only one batch made
727 787 544 Both  

Flower sets in Orange normally have a black stand and flower block. Orange flower blocks and stands were made, but are extremely rare - as can be seen from the table above. The contrast of black on orange was presumably more popular with the buying public. Orange Cloud Glass normally comes with  polished upper and lower surfaces.

In the 1960s Davidson attempted to revise some of it's earlier designs. A malachite or slag glass was produced which mixed orange, yellow and white.

Copyright (c) Chris and Val Stewart 2001