Some of the earliest manufacturers of pressed glass are often categorised as the "minor manufacturers". These companies were small, experimenting with this new way of creating glass. Soon they were over taken by larger manufacturers such as Sowerby, Davidson and Greener and were also unable to recover from accidents or fires, which often led to the factory closing and the larger manufacturers buying their moulds.
Picture taken in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, with items mainly consisting of Sowerby Vitro-Porcelain. The Heppell fish jug is on the far left and Derbyshire's mammoth piano insulator is in the right hand corner.
William Henry Heppell took over an existing glass works from Mr Wright and from 1874 to 1884 registered 12 designs. They mainly produced lamp lenses for collieries and street, desk and mast head lights. In 1880 they produced their famous sugar and salt dishes in the shape of colliery coal trucks (19 June 1880).
Photo of the Heppell Coal truck (19 June 1880) from the Victoria and Albert Museum
Heppell registered a fish design on 24 November 1882 with the mouth of the fish as the opening for a jug or the bowl. While the shape works well for the jug, it is unable to accommodate the bowl for the stemmed sugar bowl, without looking unsightly - because of this the suite was soon abandoned.
Fish design registered on 24th November 1882, as you can see the fish jug design looks acceptable, however the design for the bowl, does not do any favours for the appearance.
In February 1885, the company dissolved. George Davidson brought the moulds and patterns so there are some products that were registered by Heppell, but produced by Davidson such as their famous shell design, which can often be distinguished by the better finishing and higher quality of glass.
One of the first to register their designs in 1847, Percival, Vickers and Co. continued registering designs until 1902. Most of these items were domestic, such as celery vases, stemmed dishes, vases, and goblets.
A acid etched butter dish registered 18 August 1865
They created a pattern that is similar to, and often confused with the Davidson's Hobnail pattern registered on 10 May 1884 when many companies were trying to recreate the look and feel of lead crystal cut glass. Their other popular pattern is of vertical and horizontal triangular ribbed patterns.
This glass works was running from 1872 to 1880 by Samuel Neville, who initially was in partnership with John Sowerby. The glass works was completely destroyed by fire in June 1880. Business had been difficult for them, so their pot furnaces were being used for storage, apart from one which was left heated to keep the others dry. It was this furnace that caught fire and burnt the glass works down. Four months later the company folded. In April1881, Davidson bought all of the moulds and pattern registrations that had survived the fire.
Founded in 1858, Burtles and Tate and Co. first registered a design in 1870. By 1881, they produced a 62 page pattern book, and continued to expand the company. Their items had an animal and botanical themes such as an flower holder in the shape of a swan in 1885 which was apparently brought by Queen Victoria and a rare opaline elephant shaped flower holder (28 December 1886). As well as Greener, they briefly made their own version of Davidson's Pearline range calling it Topaz Opaline. The firm continued to manufacture glass until the 1920's.
The glass works was initially founded in 1797 by Thomas Robinson and later joined by his nephew Peter Robinson. Edward Bolton enjoyed a brief partnership with Peter, before breaking off to form his own glass works in 1869. Only a few of designs were registered including a sardine dish in October 1867 and the biscuit barrel below of a diamond striped pattern that has registration diamonds on both the lid (28 January 1870) and the base (15 January 1870)
This company produced both cut and pressed glass. In 1888 they bought moulds from the Coalborn Hill Glass works but unfortunately the factory was completely destroyed by fire on 4 July 1891. The factory was rebuilt in May 1892 and continued to produce high quality pressed glass, patenting several unusual pastel opaque colours. They made a large range of gadrooned glass in 1887 as can be seen here from the V & A Museum website.
The firm ran into financial difficulties in 1913 and tried to raise some capital by selling off some of their moulds and presses in an auction. although Davidson bought the best moulds privately. In 1922, Edward Moore and Co went into voluntary liquidation.
This fantastic lidded dish has registration marks on both the body and the lid for the scalloped shape of the design, with the trademark rope handles Rd No. 88124 29th November 1887.
This glass works is famous for their Penny Glassware. They were one of the only companies that made items for birdcages, but also produced lemon squeezers, drawer knobs, salts and small dishes that were unmarked and often seen in abundance. They also produced piano insulators - decorative blocks of glass that were placed under the feet of the piano to cut down the vibrations when played (John Derbyshire in his novel style produced insulators in the shape of hairy mammoth's feet). It is quite unusual to find a complete set of these and many people do not know what they are for! Thomas Kidd and Co. joined many other manufacturers by commemorating Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 with a small bust of the Queen and a plate, both of which were unmarked.