Decanters as we know them today started to appear in the early 18th Century. Their purpose was twofold, one empty wine from one container to another and leave any sediment behind in the process, and two, to look good on the table.
For the vast majority of early decanters we don't have exact dates or locations of manufacture. There are exceptional decanters with dates on, and others with distinctive features such as Lynn decanters, or those decorated by artist/craftsmen such as James Giles and the Beilbys, and Irish ones with the manufacturer impressed on the base. Such examples are usually extremely rare and expensive.
Just to make things more complex, in the world of identifying decanters not only are some designs manufactured over decades, others designs come back into fashion as straight copies of earlier styles. In this case only some knowledge of changes in the manufacturing techniques allows you to distinguish between something 100 years old from that which is 200 years old. On top of this, fakes of some early decanters are in existence.
In order for you to know what you are looking at when considering a decanter is, it is like other manufactured goods, you need to know how styles changed over times and you need to know something of manufacturing techniques and skills, this website will seek to inform you of this and gain an insight into something you might have thought was simple but isn't.
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