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Jelly glass

Jelly glass

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine-engraved glass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Alex Werner

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 2

Object Type
The first table services made entirely in glass were devised by the mid-1820s. Extensive services became increasingly popular by the end of the 19th century. Jelly glasses in the design of this piece, in a matching service of 13 different shapes, were made by F. & C. Osler of Birmingham and sold at £1.5.0 per dozen or 15d each.

Materials & Making
Etching glass by drawing a pattern in a layer of wax on the surface of the glass and then plunging it into hydrofluoric acid was first practised in the late 18th century. The process was developed commercially in the 1840s. By 1861 John Northwood (1836-1909) and James Northwood (1839-1915) at Wordsley, West Midlands, were among the first major producers to use it extensively. They had earlier invented the template etching machine for inscribing the pattern through the wax. With the invention in 1864 of a gear-driven, geometric etching machine, interlocking patterns such as loops or the ever-popular 'Greek key' border patterns were applied to virtually all table glass. They were used especially on the new paper-thin glass that appeared in the 1870s.

Physical description

Engraved with star pattern

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Machine-engraved glass

Object history note

Made in Britain

Descriptive line

Jelly glass, engraved, English; ca. 1870.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Jelly could be given at dinner before the dessert and was often served in individual glasses. The glasses could be purchased in the same pattern as the drinking glasses used on the table and cost between 11 and 19 shillings (50p and 90p) per dozen. The more expensive jelly glasses had engraved decoration. [27/03/2003]


Glass; Food vessels & Tableware; British Galleries


Ceramics Collection

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