Each of these vases is 9.25 inches tall and is 4 inches across the opening at the top. They are hand made deep pressed early crystal glass on a thick heavy blank which gives them the look and feel of cut glass. With the exception of a tiny nick flake on one stem and a minimal chip on the underside of the base, these vases are in exceptionally good condition.
Imperial Glass made these vases in the early 1900s to imitate costly cut glass which only the wealthy could afford. They are a part of the Nucut line but are unmarked. Imperial introduced the Nucut line to produce imitation cut glass affordable to the average person. The Nucut line was introduced in 1911. The pattern for these vases is Thunderbolt, Line 4047. The Thunderbolt pattern was first advertised in Imperial's 1909 catalog. Imperial actually began making the pattern before the formal introduction of the Nucut line in 1911-1912.
The pattern features hobstars, diamonds, fans, cross-cuts, zipper slashes, and deep pressed miter lines. This is a very ornate and intricate pattern. The pattern is repeated on the base of the stem. Only about 1.5 inches of the multi-sided stem is not heavily decorated.
Glass molds could be 1, 2, 3, or 4 part. The mold seams were raised when the glass was removed from the mold. These vases were made from a 4-part mold. The pattern was cut into a heavy cast iron mold or form. Liquid hot glass was squeezed into the mold to give the glass its shape and pattern design. The glass was mechanically formed but the finishing work was done by a team of workers, one piece at a time. The mold seams on these vases are disguised very well as a result of the team's efforts. Imperial did not begin making machine glass until around 1929.
The glass in these vases is very clear and the deep pressed cuts add to the brilliance of the glass by catching and reflecting the light through the intricate pattern. The clarity was achieved by adding soda lime to the glass mixture. There is no cloudiness or color change in these vases. The glass in Imperial's Nucut line was made from better quality Pot Glass rather than the Tank or Utility Glass produced from continuous feed melting tanks.
These are stunning vases. They are a piece of American glassware history and the quality and craftsmanship in these vases is outstanding. Whether you want to use the vases for a bouquet of colorful flowers or just put them on display, if you love beautiful old glassware, you will not be disappointed with the Thunderbolts created so many years ago.
Sources: Imperial Glass Encyclopedia Vol. 3; Shotwell, Glass A-Z; Edwards & Carwile, 3rd; McKearin, Geo. & Helen, American Glass, 633pg; National Imperial Glass Collectors' Society; Stemware of the 20th Century, Harry Rinker p. 3-9.
Item ID: PW556
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