American Cut Glass Association (ACGA) - Jim Havens' "Guide to American Brilliant Cut Glass"
Thank you for purchasing this final edition of my GUIDE. I hope you will find it interesting and useful. I greatly appreciate those of you who have read, and commented on, previous editions. They have been used as drafts for the present book.
I originally had no intention of even writing a book, much less one that has turned out to be as large as this one. However, a dozen years ago it was necessary for me to take up an activity that would help me cope with the chemotherapy I was undergoing as a follow-up to surgery for colon cancer. This proved to be an excellent decision on my part because mental stress can often be the most difficult part of any cancer therapy.
My first thought when beginning this project was to merely provide descriptions and background information about "antique" cut and engraved American glassware based on my own fairly extensive collection of professionally-taken photographs. That these comments might be useful to dealers and collectors seemed reasonable. It soon became evident, however, that cut glass was, and continues to be, a subject that is riddled with inaccuracies and half-truths. Therefore, several commonly-held beliefs were examined with accuracy as my primary concern:
First was the "Russian myth" that had been accepted as gospel for decades. The truth was made evident with the help of Bill Evans. Next, Libbey's star-in-a-circle trademark and the similar L. Straus & Sons trademark were examined, and they were found to be otherwise than usually represented. The complete story emerged only with the help of Craig Carlson. Additional inaccuracies, both large and small, were soon brought to light and dealt with, but today there are still many such errors waiting to be discovered, analyzed, and "put right"!.
Before using this GUIDE, it is recommended that the reader copy it onto a recordable medium -- hard drive, flash drive, CD-RW, etc. -- and keep the CD-R as back-up. You have read the "opening page" and are now reading the TOC and Preface file. Go back a click and notice the seven additional files on the opening page. Each of these is independent of the others. No links are provided between them. This requires that you always return to the opening page when changing from one part, for example Part 3, to another part, for example Appendix A. When you go online from the GUIDE, make sure that you return offline so that you can continue to use the GUIDE. Remember that index = Table of Contents (TOC).
An important aspect of this GUIDE is that it encourages the reader to personalize his or her own copy. Make this GUIDE your guide! This is easily accomplished by using the "notepad" software (also known by other names) that is available almost universally. Notebook is also useful in editing the files to eliminate errors (I am sure there are some!), to add more information, etc. I have included two "blank" files in each part. These yellow-colored files can be used for the reader's notes as well as for his or her own files. If you are unfamiliar with htm-language you can use the other files as templates. Also, several manuals are available for beginners. Images are saved directly. Incidentally, in each part the image-bank contains some illustrations that are not linked to the text. Because space is really not an issue, it seemed best to leave these extra images in place for possible use in the future. Similarly, I have included many books in the bibliographies (which are all identical) that are not referred to in the text. They help provide a more complete data base, especially when the articles that are cited in individual files are included.
Only recently did I learn of the "fair-use" provision in the U. S. Copyright Act. I now realize that I need not have requested "permissions" from various copyright holders in the past because all of the quotations and images herein are covered by this provision. Nevertheless, I have let stand those permissions I received prior to 15 Sep 2007. Note, however, that the University of Chicago recommends that such permissions should not be sought in the first place, if "fair use" is applicable (University of Chicago 1993, sec. 4.58).
Most of the uncredited images in the text are owned by me. They were taken either by Bob Wilke of The Wilking Studio, Wakefield, RI during 1981-1988 or by Jack Cole of Up-County Photo, Oneonta, NY from 1989 to 1991. Images from the Internet have provided most of the other images, but there are also several that were taken from publications. References are provided for this latter source, but the Internet sources are necessarily anonymous for the most part. They all are covered by the "fair-use" provision.
Note that all prices quoted are actual prices as reported by the sellers involved. Auction results do not include the so-called buyer's penalty. Be sure to adjust all prices to present-day dollars when making comparisons. (Inflation can be a major factor.) It is assumed that all items were in excellent or better condition when sold. If it is believed that condition was a factor that affected the selling price of an item, then its condition is stated.
During the past few years the GUIDE's scope has broadened, in both time and space: Temporally, the pre-brilliant period of cut glass has been included and is seen as being an equally valid period for study in addition to the American brilliant period (c1875-c1920) which has received a lion's share of attention since the 1960s. Spatially, the subject of cut and engraved glass is properly seen as a truly international subject, and it should be studied as such. In fact, limiting one's inquiry to American brilliant-period glassware exclusively severely limits one's appreciation of the subject.
Because there are more than 160 books in the GUIDE's bibliography (further reading) -- together with scores of articles listed in the files -- recommended readings can get overlooked. Here are two books, published several years ago, that contain background material that is informative for both the beginner as well as the more experienced cut-glass enthusiast:
A HISTORY OF GLASS by Dan Klein and Ward Lloyd (1989). Numerous examples, many illustrated in color, are provided. Unlike many authors, Klein and Ward do not neglect cut and engraved glassware. Crescent book.
CHATS ON OLD GLASS by R. A. Robertson (1969). A more intimate history that is written with considerable charm. Short chapter on American glass by Kenneth Wilson. Dover paperback.
While it is not possible to list everyone who has help me without inadvertently omitting someone, I believe that you know who you are and that you are aware of my appreciation. I must, nevertheless, specifically mention that Yahoo! GeoCities has provided the platform for Antique Glassworks from its beginning in 1997. Although the GUIDE is now offline, for the most part, I found that my early use of the Yahoo! GeoCities platform was especially helpful, and I can recommend it.
Because I continue to be without a computer (or a digital camera), I am particularly happy to acknowledge "public access" at the Olean (NY) Public Library where I was able to use a full range of computer facilities during my stay of several years in that city. In addition, the library taught me basic computer skills and was able to obtain more traditional material for me through its inter-library loan service. Since my temporary move to Corning, NY in March 2005 I have become similarly indebted to this city's Southeast Steuben County Library. I am also appreciative of the assistance provided by the staff at the remarkable Rakow Research Library, Corning.
Please stay in contact with Antique Glassworks through the online file Addendum 5. Its URL will be sent to you by e-mail.
15 Sep 2007
ANTIQUE GLASSWORKS is not affiliated with the American Cut Glass Association.