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Glass research is hard when you’ve got no starting point.

That’s what happened here when, as per usual, we stumbled across a piece of glass with no obvious attribution. We dive into the books, hit Google, talk to other collectors on message boards and Facebook groups, but on this occasion to no avail.

The basics of glass research are to examine manufacturing technique, ascertain age from wear and attribute the style to a period, maker or region. On this occasion these are obviously pressed glass vases, generally a mass production technique, which you’d think would make it easier to find more examples or people who’d come across them before!

 

Then there’s the creative Googling. These aren’t sommerso, cased, graal, lined, engraved or cut, have no pontil or ground flat base, fire polished rim or bird bath bottom, which means you have to start getting imaginative with the search terms. We’ve come to lovingly describe these as ‘brutalist style’ vases whilst throwing in a few ‘chocolate block’s into the searches – still nada.

 

 

The small collection we have on display here I honestly believe is a serendipitous set of circumstances that’s brought them together. Obviously there’s the connector, me, but these all turned up within a few weeks of each other, one from the US, one from mainland Europe and the rest from the UK, from unrelated sources. I’d not seen one before nor since our first purchase a month or so ago. A couple turned up on eBay using the most unlikely and generic terms of just cylinder vase and square glass vase!

 

 

The first two purchased were the kingfisher square version and the, as yet the only cylindrical example found, the dark green variant. The subsequent finds have all been square – a pair of clear, an amber and a pale green. The biggest lead to date arrived with the pale green version which has the faint letters raised to the base ‘MADE IN TAIWAN‘, yes, somewhere to make some progress!

 

What do we know about Taiwanese Glass? Not much!
Enesco, an international gift ware company, sourced glass production from Taiwan although the pieces we’ve seen have had ‘bird bath’ style bases with ground foot. Many pieces of inferior lead crystal labeled ‘Stylesetter’ emanates from the region, but again, we can’t see a link to our vases.
At the top end of the Taiwanese glass chain you have the renowned glass artist Heinrich Wang overseeing the Tittot Company (And how we’d love to own some of those!!). At the lower end, again where to be honest a lot of what we’ve found out about seems to be hovering, is Art Glass Taiwan, a company producing short wholesale runs of repetitive household decorative glass items, with no history that we can find.

 

Back to the pieces in hand, they are quite crudely pressed, a good weight with a few hot crease marks, not as clean as Sklo Union, as has been suggested by many prior to our Made in Taiwan revelation, or as thin as some of the Japanese output. The pale green example we have though is thinner and lighter, with smoother edges, maybe nearing the end of the life of the mould? Confusingly though, this being the one with ‘MADE IN TAIWAN’ to the base could mean that this is actually a blatant copy of the other vases so puts us no closer to an ID?!

There are many examples of hobnail vases, milk glass, decorative bowls, vases, candle holders and other kitsch items, all looking very 1930’s but we would guess were made much later. The raised TAIWAN lettering seems fairly common although we’ve not seen another that states ‘MADE IN TAIWAN’
In conclusion all we can guess is that these are what they are, mass market, relatively short run production pieces, most likely for export to the European and US markets, possibly by Enesco but without an import label we can only speculate.

They also bear a similarity to an Ichendorf range by Horst Tüselmann c. 1970, perhaps inspired by or vice versa, but nowhere near the same quality.

Ichendorf

 

Age wise the style makes them quite easy to place around the 1970’s but could have easily been produced into the 1980’s. As an aside it’s always amazed me that in the UK many vintage home wares are wrongly attributed by sometimes ten years or more due to the fact that in the UK, along with New York, Paris, Milan et al, being on the forefront of design trends, manufacture of tried and tested designs trundle on for years in countries let’s say not so avant-garde!

 

The inner base staining in all examples has also been rather consistent as has the wear. Another quirk, and apparently consistent characteristic of these vases, is that the top inch or so on each example looks as though the mould was too short and another section was added. Not seen this before but I’m looking forward to being educated as to why?

 

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So to summarise, we’ve found clear, amber, kingfisher, pale green and dark green and they all measure approx. 170 – 175 mm tall by 47 mm across. All the examples we’ve found have been photographed and documented by ourselves and we’ve put them back up for sale on our website to release them back into the wild. We are no closer to knowing who actually made them but we’ve discovered an awful lot whilst researching!

Available from Retro Mojo

Kingfisher Blue Square Vase
Pair of Clear Square Vases
Dark Green Cylinder Version
Amber Square Version

As always please email images of any examples you may have and thanks for reading 🙂

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