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    Posted 5 years ago

    dasullywon
    (62 items)

    Hello friends! It's been a little while, but I have some hopefully useful insight into the discussion about how to tell an original from a copy, and in this case I will use an example from a discussion we were having on Facebook's Art Glass Collector's group.
    We will discuss Steuben glass, and in particular the Red Rouge Flambe glass candlesticks. The example on the left is the item in question, and the one on the right an authentic Steuben piece. My arguments are based on my experience as an art glass collector, and as an engineer, and in particular on manufacturing techniques used for molding and producing glass objects. First a little bit about Steuben glass.
    As we all know, Steuben has always been a 1st rate and top quality glass house, and they have always used the finest and most detailed methods of glass production, and have never sold anything but the very best. This means that they don't cut corners, or use methods that look to reduce costs, if that means sacrificing quality. This means they always finish their pontils, instead of just grinding the sharp edge which saves one very expensive step; finish polishing. Even if polishing runs the risk of higher defect rates they just add these into the cost of the item, which is why they cost and command higher prices. That's what the customer has come to expect.
    So, looking at photo 1, notice the example on the left (subject piece) has a thicker neck, a larger radius at the top, and a thicker top flange disk. All of these qualities are consistent from a manufacturing standpoint to produce the item with much lower defect rates, making it cheaper to produce in mass quantities. The second photo shows a ground but unpolished edge on the pontil, and a taper and larger radius at the corner/edge. The taper makes it easier to remove from the mold, as does the thicker neck and top flange, and the larger radius between the neck and top flange; meaning that less pieces break when removing them from the mold. Again, these features are all consistent with lower cost, less defects, and an overall lower manufacturing cost.
    Steuben did not worry as much about this, and conversely looked to maximize their quality while keeping defect/reject rates manageable. Their products cost more mostly because they are of higher quality and cost more to make, and this did result in more breakage and rejects. It was all figured into the retail price. So they ALWAYS polished the pontil, even though it cost more and ran the risk of more rejects. They also made their necks and flanges thinner, their radii tighter, and all their features finer, even though it meant they would break more pieces removing them from the molds.
    This is what made them such high quality, fine pieces of Art Glass. and this is the place where you can tell a copy all the time. If they went to the trouble and expense of making them just as fine then they would have had to cost the same. Quality is never cheap, and no shortcuts can be made if you want to be the best!
    Thanks everyone, I welcome your comments/feedback. Also I want to thank Bill Bennett for the photos and Facebook posting that started this discussion. Peace!

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    Comments

    1. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Okay, there is still a question about Steuben using the waffle pontil only ground and not polished. Does anyone have an example of a genuine Steuben piece with this waffle unpolished pontil? One that still has a label, or documentation that proves it's genuine? Has anyone contacted Steuben directly to find out if they even did not polish the pontil? It still seems totally contrary to their whole philosophy? Wouldn't the customers complain if they compromised on quality like that?
    2. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Other question; did Steuben make two different versions of this piece? Did they find that the design was too hard to make so they made newer version that did not break as much? Steuben experts what do you think?
    3. Project_Harrach Project_Harrach, 5 years ago
      It's well known that Steuben used the waffle pontil, mostly on pieces whereas the pontil didn't interfere with the items table surface. The piece in the third photo above is not a Steuben waffle pontil.

      Although this photo is only partially showing the waffle pontil, take a look at the Carder Steuben Clubs site, third signature example with a signature right next to the rough waffle pontil scar:

      http://www.cardersteubenclub.com/aboutus/about-view.cfm?category=Signatures
    4. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      wow beautiful!!! love the color!!
    5. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Thanks Project_Harrach, so you're saying the waffle pontil on the piece in question is not a Steuben pontil, and therefore not Steuben? Would the item be signed as in your linked page? Either was it seems you agree that this is not a Steuben piece? I guess I am wrong about the pontil always being polished, but they would not leave deep grind marks, would they? The waffle pontil in the link looks clean. Thanks!
    6. Project_Harrach Project_Harrach, 5 years ago
      Exactly, I don't believe the waffle pontil on this red piece is Steuben glass, but it is well known that they did use an unfinished waffle pontil a fair bit. I'll try to get a good photo from one of my pieces tonight and post it on the FB discussion so we can compare the two. I really don't think they'd ground out the area around the pontil scar either, seems very unlikely.

      Steuben was inconsistent in signing their work, so it may, or may not be signed.
    7. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Thanks again P_H, and the point about the grinding is really what I was talking about in my post. Steuben surely did use the waffle pontil as I have learned, but they would not have left it sloppily ground like this one I would think. Thanks again!
    8. famatta127 famatta127, 5 years ago
      Color. ..wow...challenges Tiffany's red
    9. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Yeah Mr. T, their red Flambe was pretty intense. I hear these are pretty rare.
    10. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Merry Christmas Big Guy !!
    11. dasullywon dasullywon, 5 years ago
      Merry Christmas Sean!
    12. inky inky, 5 years ago
      Merry Christmas dasullywon to you and yours!.....:-)
    13. SEAN68 SEAN68, 5 years ago
      Your very welcome dasullywon!! and Thankyou dasullywon!!

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