CARAFES

You might think you have a decanter, but there is a reasonable chance it is a carafe even if it has a stopper. The way to check is to run your finger down inside the neck of the bottle where the stopper goes. In a decanter you can feel where the inside of the neck has been ground or polished so that the stopper fits snugly and creates an air seal for the contents. If the inside of the neck feels like one continuous curve then it is probably a carafe. If it came with a stopper and the stopper also wobbles about, then don't put it in as it will only crack the neck open at some point. Also, another point to remember is that not all carafes have wide necks to give them away as such.

Carafes may be written off as the poor cousin of the decanter, but they have advantages and uses. You never have to worry about the stopper being correct as they don't have one. They are good if you just want to water on the table, or put out wine you know is going to be drunk. Carafes can be similar to decanters, but quite often have their own charm just as carafes.

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CARAFES

This is a tapered carafe with three bladed neck rings. It has a broken pontil and kick in the base to stop the pontil scratching the table. Absolutely no cutting in the making of this carafe. Made circa.1790.

This is an elegant carafe for the purist collector.

When blowing the bottle of a decanter, the lip of the decanter has to be cut away from the blow pipe whilst the glass is still hot and malleable. This is done by first attaching a metal rod with a blob of molten glass to the bottom of the bottle, then when the top is cut away from the blow pipe the bottom is now attached to the of a metal rod. The top of bottle is usually put back into the furnace so that it can be reheated so that the lip of glass can be shaped and smoothed out. As the bottle cools this leaves the bottom stuck the metal rod. This is broken off leaving a rough broken mark on the bottom of the bottle. If you don't polish this out and the bottom of the bottle is flat it would scratch any table the bottle rests on and make the bottle unstable. This broken mark is called a pontil mark. Before they started polishing out pontil marks, the trick was to push in the bottom of the bottle so that it rested on the outer edge, as you still see in modern wine bottles where the kick in the base is now a tradition and serves no useful purpose. Apologies if you knew all this and I am teaching grannies to suck eggs.

Reference: The Decanter, Andy McConnell, page 449

Height: 9.35 inches

Width: 3.25 inches

This is a club shaped carafe with three neck rings and a polished pontil. This carafe has quite a wide throat and couldn't be mistaken for a decanter. Made circa.1800.

This is a classic text book piece for the collector. It won't be cheap, unless you get lucky.

Height: 7.4 inches

Width: 4 inches

This is a shouldered shaped carafe, with two bladed neck rings, panel cut shoulders, and a small pouring lip. It has a polished pontil mark. Made circa.1810.

Design wise this has mismatched features that would not normally be seen together, the small pouring lip and two bladed neck rings seem to indicate an earlier design of decanter but the slim panels cut on the shoulders are usually post 1800.

This might be an Irish decanter by B.Edwards of Belfast they stuck to the older shapes, and two bladed neck rings with a small pouring lip was common. Happy to be advised on this.

I have called them bladed rings, but they are also sometimes called triangular rings.

Reference: Irish Glass, Revised Edition 1978, Dudley Westropp edited by Mary Boydell, page 84-5.

Height: 6.5 inches

Width: 3.5 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe with three neck rings and a polished pontil. This carafe has a wide throat and couldn't be mistaken for a decanter. Made circa.1800.

Again, this is a classic little carafe and you don't see too many of them, if you are collector buy it when you see it.

Height: 5 inches

Width: 3.5 inches

This is a small drop shaped carafe with a star cut base, hobnail cut body, and step cut shoulders and neck. Made circa.1820s

This is classic Regency cut glass taking advantage of new stream powered cutting machines we have deep cut sharp hobnails, and total coverage of the bottle in cutting.

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 3.5 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe, with three neck rings, panel cut shoulders, and a ribbed moulded body. It has a polished pontil mark. Made circa.1830s

Sadly someone scratched the hell out of the interior of this carafe so the full value of the optical moulding is not apparent. I have tried to have it professionally cleaned but to no avail.

Height: 5 inches

Width: 4 inches

This is a fancy shaped carafe with a flange at the base of the neck, and slice cutting to the neck and shoulders. Made approximately 1830s

I have seen the description fancy applied to decanters with this type of flange at the base of the neck in a number of books. Why "fancy" other than it is a new at that time, I don't know.

Height: 8 inches

Width: 3.5 inches

This is a shouldered shaped carafe with a single neck ring at the base of the neck, the body covered with large printies, and slice cutting to the neck and shoulders. Made approximately 1830s

This is a really nice carafe, the optic effect caused by the large printies is cool (even my teenage son thought so, so it must be true). As good looking as this carafe is, you won't find it in any text book. If this were a decanter with big printies like this it would be quite a desirable thing. whilst a carafe like this gets stuffed on a high shelf at the back of an antiques centre and sold to me for £10. So if you are looking for something cheap to collect; carafes.

Height: 9 inches

Width: 4 inches

This is a club shaped carafe, with a thick single squared ring at the base of the neck, slice cut neck and body. It has star cutting over the pontil mark. Made circa.1830s.

This is a small carafe, so not particularly useful. These are uncommon, and prices can vary a lot, depending on how much the dealer wants to get rid of it.

Height: 7 inches

Width: 3 inches

This is a club shaped carafe, with a thick single ring at the base of the neck, slice cut neck and body. It has star cutting over the pontil mark. Made circa.1830s.

This is a quality made item, only it's a pity the glass is so thick that it doesn't hold a full bottle of wine making it less useful.

Height: 9.5 inches

Width: 4 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe, with a thick single squared ring at the base of the neck, printies cut on the neck and panel cut shoulders. It has star cutting over the pontil mark. Made circa.1840s.

This is a solidly made carafe, ideal for the bedside table.

Height: 6.25 inches

Width: 4.5 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe, with a single ring near the top of the neck, a broken step at the base of the neck, no pouring lip, and no other decoration. It has a polished pontil mark. Made circa.1850-60s.

Whilst being totally impractical as it only holds about 2 glasses of wine, this is a really aesthetic and ergonomic design. It actually feels good to pick up by the neck and pour.

Height: 8 inches

Width: 4.5 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe, with a thick single ring at the base of the neck, and no other decoration. It has a polished pontil mark. Made circa.1850-60s.

A nice simple design for this period.

Height: 6.75 inches

Width: 4.75 inches

This is a flat bottomed carafe, with a row of printies cut around the body and a slice cut neck. It has star cutting over the pontil mark. Made late 19th Century.

This is good carafe to get drunk with, it looks good on the table, it has a nice wide neck for easy filling, will easily take a bottle of wine, has a flat bottom so won't be easily knocked over, and best of all, if it suffers an accident, you won't have broken a valuable piece of glass.

Height: 8.75 inches

Width: 5.75 inches

This is an ovoid shaped carafe, with two rows of printies cut around the body and a slice cut neck. It has star cutting over the pontil mark. Made late 19th Century.

This is a really useful carafe as you should just be able to squeeze a bottle of wine into it. The two rows of oval printies look good too.

Height: 8 inches

Width: 4.75 inches

This is a shaft and globe shaped carafe, with a single row of oval printies around the body. It has a polished pontil mark. Made late 19th century.

When it comes to carafes this is near the bottom of the pile of what it is possible to buy. This was designed as a water carafe and would have originally had a slightly rounded tumbler that was designed to sit upside down over the top. The tumblers must have been more easily broken as you don't see many, especially with their original carafe.

Height: 6.25 inches

Width: 4.75 inches

This is a thinly blown conical carafe, with the an base oval made by Whitefriars. There is an applied crimped trail to one side and frilled trail around the neck. This carafe also has an etched heraldic cifer of an eagles head and crown. Whitefriars pattern number J.1. Made circa 1870s.

In the Whitefriars catalogue this carafe is referred to as "The Oval ‘Leather Bottle’", the form presumably having been inspired by early flasks made of leather which are this shape and have a sown seam to one side.

Reference: Whitefriars Glass, James Powell & Sons of London, Wendy Evans, Page 262

Reference: The Decanter, Andy McConnell, page 450

Height: 7.5 inches

Width: 5 inches

This is a thinly blown conical cup mouthed carafe, with the an base oval made by Whitefriars. There is an applied crimped trail to one side and frilled trail around the neck. Made circa 1890s.

The carafe like this shown in the Leslie Jackson book in a photograph dated 1896, has a silver and cork stopper. I have yet to see one with it's actual stopper. Even with a stopper this is still considered a carafe (you figure it out).

Whitefriars weren't the only company reputed to have made this type of carafe, the next most frequent attribution being Stuart & Sons. I think this attribution is wrong, as I have a marked Stuart piece and although similar it is not the same. Unless someone can show these carafes in a Stuart catalogue I don't think it is correct.

You may also notice how this carafe and the one above differ although they are both by Whitefriars. I can only attribute this difference to the 20 years age difference between them as illustrated from source material in the books. As I see the cup mouthed versions more frequently it would make sense that they are the more recent version.

Reference: Whitefriars Glass, The Art of James Powell & Sons, Lesley Jackson, Page 30

Reference: The Decanter, Andy McConnell, page 450

Height: 7.5 inches

Width: 5 inches

A conical carafe with a neck frill and turquoise pulled glass thread wound around the base and the neck. Made circa 1870-1900.

This may be a Whitefriars as whilst this exact pattern is not in either the Whitefriars books (see bibliography) they do have glass from a similar period with pulled glass thread of the same turquoise colour on aesthetic pieces of this character. Carafes like this were made in imitation of leather bottles from earlier times.

Height: 7.5 inches

Width: 4.5 inches

A conical carafe, similar to those with the crimped trail done one side made in imitation of leather bottles. This one has a milled neck ring, four dimples to the body and pouring lip pinched into a concave square. It has a stopper of cork and silver plate, with a ring on top. The shape of the top of the stopper is contoured nicely to match the pinched shape of the pouring lip. Late 19th Century to early 20th century.

I believe that most of this type of decanter started life with stoppers similar to the one photographed here. I have a larger version of this decanter without a stopper for it, which has Stuart England etched into the bottom, as used 1926-50. It may be that other companies made this type of carafe, but Stuart Crystal definitely did. This style of carafe started in the 1870s and as this design was still being made post 1926 it illustrates the longevity of successful designs and consequently how difficult it is to date glass with precision.

Height: 8.25 inches

Width: 4 inches

A conical carafe, similar to those with the crimped trail done one side made in imitation of leather bottles. This one has a frilled neck ring, and pulled glass thread covering the entire body.

This "carafe" is tiny and may be intended as a small vase or just a decorative item or a posy vase.

Height: 3 inches

Width: 1.5 inches

This is a French carafe with panel cutting to the base of the body and slice cutting running in a continuous strip from the shoulder to the top of the neck.

Whilst I have seen these decanters described as UK William IV decanters, the look, feel and design of them is too close to some distinctly French designs for me to believe this is true. Also the quality of the glass doesn't feel as heavy as that on English decanters. This is only my opinion and I would be happy to be corrected in this.

Height: 9 inches

Width: 4.5 inches

This is a French carafe with panel cutting to the base of the body, a band of printies on the prow of the shoulder, a break step above the shoulder and slice cutting running in a continuous strip from the shoulder to halfway up the neck.

This is a distinctly French shape, and the decanters in this shape generally have tall blown stoppers with vertical panels cut in them.

Height: 10.25 inches

Width: 4.25 inches