Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Butter trencher - Cutting


  • Object:

    Butter trencher

  • Place of origin:

    Manchester (made)

  • Date:

    1885 (design registered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Press-moulded glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by M. J. Franklin

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 2

Object Type
This butter trencher was one of many types of glass dish, each designed for a particular food. Extensive glass table services became increasingly popular towards the end of the 19th century. Such sets were cheaply made in press-moulded glass and became widely available. They were often elaborate in design.

Materials & Making
The technique of press-moulding glass with the aid of a hand-operated machine was first perfected in the USA in the early 1820s. It took only two men to shape a measured quantity of hot glass in a heated metal mould. They simply depressed a lever that lowered a metal plunger into the glass, forcing it into the patterned mould. By the 1830s this method had spread to Britain and continental Europe, giving rise to stylistic changes in glass and revolutionising the availability of glassware. The technique made the mid-to-late 19th century the first real period of true mass production. In the 1890s the introduction of steam-powered presses improved the product while cutting costs even further.

Place of Origin

Manchester (made)


1885 (design registered)


Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd. (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Press-moulded glass

Marks and inscriptions

Registration number for 1/1885
Registration number


Height: 5.2 cm, Width: 9.0 cm, Length: 12.8 cm

Object history note

Manufactured by Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd., Manchester

Descriptive line

Glass Butter trencher, England (Manchester), made by Percival, Vickers & Co. Ltd., 1885-1900, C.138-1983 .

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Mrs Beeton decribes how to serve curled butter in such a dish: 'The butter may then be garnished with parsley, if to serve with a cheese course; or it may be sent to table plain for breakfast in an ornamental dish.' [27/03/2003]


British Galleries; Glass


Ceramics Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.