BACK

GEORGIAN DWARF ALE GLASSES

For over a hundred years ale was drunk in these little conical glasses that are smaller than modern wine glasses. I have read a number of things about this, for example, that the ale was stronger or that they used to top it with ether, etc.. These little glasses may seem a little off beam today, but everyone has their way of doing things and this is how it rolled back then.

Click Pictures to Expand Them

Glasses

Click Picture to Expand

Description, References and Size

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, engraved with hops and barley, a single knop high on the stem, and conical folded foot. Made circa mid 18th century.

This is one of my older glasses and it has a number of features that help confirm that age. It has a conical foot with a broken pontil. The foot is made quite thinly and the rim has been folded underneath itself. They fold the foot to make a round edge that is less likely to chip. The other feature it the little bobble in the bottom of the glass. I have seen this on a number of early glasses, I think it is something to do with the manufacturing process, and I haven't seen it on any post 18th century glasses.

I remember buying this from a guy at an antiques fair and it looked like he was selling someone's collection of ale glasses. He was selling them all for the same price, but this one was in a different league to the others and came home with me.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 3 inches

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, engraved with hops and barley, on a drawn stem, and conical foot. Made circa mid 18th century.

It's the conical foot that makes me consider this to be made a bit earlier. The conical foot is designed to lift the broken pontil off the table. Over time glass makers became less concerned about this. I don't know exactly but towards the end of the eighteenth century the foot on glasses did become flatter even though they still had broken pontil marks.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 2.5 inches

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, engraved with hops and barley, on a drawn stem, and a flat foot. Made circa late 18th century.

I wouldn't normally say that I call has a flat foot but I am trying to show some progression in these very similar looking glasses, to help you work out which are newer and are older. This is not going to be a 100% guarantee of this progression as these differences would have overlapped depending on the manufacturer, but I am trying to give you a direction of travel from what I have gleaned from the various books I have.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 2.25 inches

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, engraved with hops and barley, a double knop high on the stem, and a flat foot. Made circa early 19th century.

Theoretically the knops on this stem are supposed to suggest this is an earlier glass, but I have a couple of objections to that. My first is the robust flat foot, which suggests a later date. The other thing is that I have seen several glasses exactly the same as this and the thing about the 18th century glasses is that they tend to be unique. For example, although I have seen a lot of and have several wrythen dwarf ale glasses, none of them are exactly the same. They are made to a theme, but there is lots of minor variation between them. So the manufacture quality is telling me these are not 20th century, but the multiples (not at one time) I have seen kind of says they are later.

The other thing about these glasses is the lack of quality in the engraving, these slightly heavily double knop glasses all have cruder engraving. If you are presented with a choice of dwarf ale glasses and you can't buy them all, buy this one last.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, on a drawn stem, and a flat foot. Made circa mid 18th century.

Although this glass doesn't have hops and barley engraved on it, it is the same size and shape as other glasses I have that do. There is no absolute markers to all of these glasses, and you kind of have to learn the shapes as well as know engravings of hops and barley means it's for some kind of beer.

You will have seen me mention drawn stems, this is for glasses that are made in two parts. One part being the foot of the glass, the other being the bowl and stem. The stem is "drawn" from the blown bowl of the glass. When you look at these glasses in detail you can see that the bowl and stem are all one piece.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.75 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is a wrythen ale glass with a conical bowl, a wrythen double knop stem, and a flat foot. Made circa late 18th century.

These wrythen ale glasses must have been very popular as you see a lot about and they come with lots of minor variations. I have included a few here. Being fully wythren from the rim to the bottom of the stem is less common, but it really doesn't seem to make much difference to the price of them. Only if you are nerd like me can you look at a lot of them and realise there are more and less common variations.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 4.75 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is a wrythen ale glass with a conical bowl, a single knop high on the stem, and flat foot. Made circa late 18th century.

Of the wrythen ale glasses I believe this is the most common type you will see. As I said it doesn't seem to make much difference to price, however, if you are looking to put together a little collection, go for the less common ones first as you might not see them again.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is a wrythen ale glass with a conical bowl, a single knop high on the stem, and flat foot. Made circa late 18th century.

The description of this glass and the one above is exactly the same, only with this one wrythen pattern is different. With this glass the twisting pattern starts out more vertical and the twist becomes more horizontal as it rises up the bowl. Whilst I think these are about equally common, to my eyes there is something more aesthetically pleasing about this progression.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 4.75 inches

Width: 2.5 inches

This is a half wrythen ale glass with a conical bowl, a wrythen double knop stem, and a flat foot. Made circa late 18th century.

This is a less common type of late 18th century dwarf ale glass, but if you see something that looks a bit like this but with a conical or domed foot, it could be from the beginning of the 18th century putting it in a different league. When I say different league, I mean out of my league.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5 inches

Width: 2.25 inches

This is an ale glass with a conical bowl, and panel moulded bowl. Made circa late 18th century.

If you are trying to kid of tick boxes whilst collecting these ale glasses, this one is plainer but slightly rarer. With most of the ale glasses the panelling or ribbing is twisted to create the wrythen effect. The wrythen glasses are the standard and those with just straight forward panelling or ribs are not common.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 4.75 inches

Width: 2.5 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall ogee bowl, engraved with hops and barley, on a drawn stem, and conical foot. Made circa mid 18th century.

This is a nice early glass that is less common of a better quality and should have a price premium over some other engraved glasses shown here.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall ogee bowl, on a drawn stem, and conical foot. Made circa mid 18th century.

This is a really elegant glass with a bowl shape that feels more classy to me. This is the kind of glass that you might find in a charity shop, as it is quite a plain an anonymous. It's all the little manufacturing details that should pull it out of the crowd, the slightly raised conical foot with its broken pontil, the particles and bubbles in the glass, and tooling marks of the glass makers. This why you not only need to have an appreciation of the older shapes but also the limits of manufacturing in those times.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 253

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall u-bowl, short inverted baluster stem, and cut with printies. Made circa late 19th century.

This is kind of the end of the line for these tall slim ale glasses. Although it holds more than the preceding glasses it still doesn't hold half a pint. With its heavy duty nature this is clearly a glass for more commercial use, probably not a pub, more of a hotel kind of thing. The reason I say that is that there are cheaper pressed glass versions of this from the same time period.

Reference: Hallmarks of Antique Glass, R. Wilkinson, Page 183

Reference: The Journal of the Glass Association, Volume 2 1987, page 37.

Height: 7 inches

Width: 3 inches

BACK

2020 AND BEYOND COPYRIGHT RETAINED ON ALL TEXT AND IMAGES ON THIS SITE.