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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.

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Glasses

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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 111

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

Reference: Decanters and Glasses, Therle Hughes, Page 23

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 309

Reference: The Turnbull Collection of 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Martine Newby, page 11

Reference: English Scottish & Irish Table Glass, G Bernard Hughes, page 217

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 137

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

Reference: How to Identify English Drinking Glasses & Decanters 1680-1830, Douglas Ash, page 169

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 114

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

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 137

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

Reference: How to Identify English Drinking Glasses & Decanters 1680-1830, Douglas Ash, page 169

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 114

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

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

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: the price guide to english 18th century drinking glasses, George Turnbull/Anthony Heron, page 296

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

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 137

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

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 114

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.

References show these wrythen ale glasses are difficult to date because they were still be made by at least Richardsons up into the 1830s.

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

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, Page 109

Reference: the price guide to English 18th century drinking glasses, George Turnbull/Anthony Heron, page 294

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Old Glass European and American, N Hudson Moore, page 260

Reference: The Turnbull Collection of 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Martine Newby, page 11

Reference: English Scottish & Irish Table Glass, G Bernard Hughes, page 217

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, Page 109

Reference: the price guide to English 18th century drinking glasses, George Turnbull/Anthony Heron, page 294

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Old Glass European and American, N Hudson Moore, page 260

Reference: The Turnbull Collection of 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Martine Newby, page 11

Reference: English Scottish & Irish Table Glass, G Bernard Hughes, page 217

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, Page 109

Reference: the price guide to English 18th century drinking glasses, George Turnbull/Anthony Heron, page 294

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Old Glass European and American, N Hudson Moore, page 260

Reference: The Turnbull Collection of 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Martine Newby, page 11

Reference: English Scottish & Irish Table Glass, G Bernard Hughes, page 217

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, Page 109

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 309

Reference: How to Identify English Drinking Glasses & Decanters 1680-1830, Douglas Ash, page 169

Reference: the price guide to English 18th century drinking glasses, George Turnbull/Anthony Heron, page 292

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, Page 109

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 309

Reference: How to Identify English Drinking Glasses & Decanters 1680-1830, Douglas Ash, page 169

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 138

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

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 115

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 138

Reference: English Table Glass, Percy Bate, plate LXVI

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

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 113

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a bladed knop on a capstan stem, a tall bucket bowl with cut panels. Made circa 1820-55.

This type of glass is relatively common from the 1820s however in the form of an ale glass it is less common and less common the wrythen type ale glasses.

Reference: English Drinking Glasses, Ronald Gabriel, Page 61

Reference: The Price Guide to English 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Turnbull & Herron, Page 295

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

Reference: Whitefriars Glass James Powell & Sons of London, Museum of London, page 247

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a ball knop on a capstan stem, a tall bucket bowl with cut panels. Made circa 1820-55.

This glass is constructed like a classic rummer but with the tall slim bowl of an ale glass. This type of heavy ale glass is not that common.

Reference: English Drinking Glasses, Ronald Gabriel, Page 61

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

Reference: Whitefriars Glass James Powell & Sons of London, Museum of London, page 247

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a round knob at the base of the stem and a flattened knop the middle, and a tall bucket bowl with petal moulding. Made circa 1780.

Again this is a type of glass that is not uncommon as a wine glass but is uncommon as an ale glass shape. It is a lower quality glass than the one above in that it has absolutely no cutting but does somewhat emulate the cutting with moulding. To me thought this glass has a lot of charm.

Reference: The Arthur Negus Guide to British Glass, John Brooks page 109

Height: 5 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall petal moulded funnel bowl sitting on a capstan stem. Made circa 1800.

This glass is constructed like a classic rummer but with the tall slim bowl of an ale glass. This type of heavy ale glass is not that common.

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 135

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall wrythen funnel bowl sitting on a capstan stem. Made circa 1800.

This glass is similar to the one above but with a fully wrythen bowl. You can see this glass has been used a vase with bloom most of the way up the bowl. This won't wash off and would require the inside of the bowl to be polished in order to remove it.

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 135

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall wrythen funnel bowl sitting on a slim capstan stem. Made circa 1800.

Following on with another variation this time with a slimmer more elegant version of the rummer style. Note how the foot is much smaller to match the slimmer bowl. If this were an 18th century glass the bowl would probably have been wider.

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 109

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 3 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall wrythen funnel bowl sitting on a slim capstan stem. Made circa 1800.

This glass is like the same glass as above but with the wrthen moulding being really tight. This wrythen moulding is a kind of signature of dwarf ale glasses but there is quite a bit of variation within it. This reflects the hand made nature of manufacture and that lots of companies were engaged in making this standard of glass over a long period of time.

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 109

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 2.25 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall funnel bowl sitting on a slim capstan stem. Made circa 1800.

If you look at the dimenensions this is smallest and slimmest of the capstan stem glasses here. I am not sure if this means the ones at the extreme in sizes are not actually dwarf ale glasses, the first two in the sequence of capstan stem glasses here hold about 3 times as much as this glass, hence this question.

Reference: The Glass Collector - A Guide to Old English Glass, Maciver Perceval, page 299

Reference: British Glass 1800-1914, Charles Hajdemach, page 250

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 109

Height: 5.25 inches

Width: 2 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall funnel bowl sitting on a slim capstan stem with a bladed knop. Made circa 1810.

I believe these capstan stem glasses with the blade knop where the bowl is a funnel are earlier than the similarly stemmed glasses where the bowl has more of a flattened blade. I am concluding this because the earliest catalogued examples of this kind of stem I have has this type of funnel bowl, and the later catalogued examples have more bucket shaped bowls.

Reference: English Drinking Glasses, Ronald Gabriel, Page 57

Reference: The Price Guide to English 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Turnbull & Herron, Page 295

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

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 135

Reference: English and Irish Cut Glass, E M Elville page 86

Reference: English Scottish & Irish Table Glass, G Bernard Hughes, page 109

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.5 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall funnel bowl sitting on a faceted stem and conical foot. The top of the bowl has an XOX frieze and the stem has hexagonal facets. Made circa 1785.

This glass is a classic old time collectors piece, not as sought after as cotton twist stem glasses but still collectable 18th century pieces.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 242

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 101

Reference: The Price Guide to English 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Turnbull & Herron, Page 277

Reference: English Glass, Sidney Compton, plate 136

Height: 6 inches

Width: 2.75 inches

This is an ale glass with a tall ogee bowl sitting on a faceted stem and conical foot. The top of the bowl has an XOX frieze and the stem has diamond facets. Made circa 1785.

This glass appears to be almost the same as the one above the close details are different. The cut facets are a different shape, the cut olives in the XOX frieze are horizontally aligned and not vertical as above, it has less faceting on the bowl and the foot is wider, and of course the bowl shape is different.

This glass has the classic wide foot 18th century drinking glass feature of having a wider foot than bowl. The foot is about an inch wider, but does have a nibble in it.

Reference: Eighteenth Century Drinking Glasses, L.M. Bickerton, Page 242

Reference: Phaidon Guide to Glass, Felice Mehlman, page 96

Reference: English Table Glass, Percy Bate, page 54

Reference: The Price Guide to English 18th Century Drinking Glasses, Turnbull & Herron, Page 278

Reference: Collecting Glass, Norman Webber, page 83

Reference: The Arthur Negus Guide to British Glass, John Brooks page 109

Height: 6.75 inches

Width: 3.5 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.

Reference: Early English Glass, D. Wilmer, page 233

Height: 7 inches

Width: 3 inches

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