Glass Hand Vase

above: "Plum Crest"
hand vase by Fenton
c. 1990s.

Glass Hand Vases
from the
Glass Encyclopedia


Glass Hand Vases: A short explanation

Hand vases are shaped like a hand holding a vase. They first appeared around the 1870s and soon became popular. Many companies in several countries (UK, USA, Bohemia, and more recently Asia) made hand vases in many colors, styles and sizes. Their heyday was in the 1870s and 1880s.

One of the earliest designs was by John Derbyshire and Sons (Manchester, UK) and registered in 1874. It is shaped like a sheaf of leaves and bulrushes and is easily identified by the makers trademark, JD and an anchor, on the base.

In the US, Gillinder and Sons of Philadelphia were another early maker of hand vases. They produced several different pressed glass items held in a hand, including a vase made in 1876 to celebrate the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.





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Hand vases

The Fenton Art Glass Company have been one of the most prolific producers of hand vases, many of them exquisitely beautiful like the Plum Crest example shown above on the left. Fenton have been producing hand vases for nearly their entire 100-year span of operation.

Most glass hand vases are right handed, and left handed ones are quite rare.

Hand Vases are not usually expensive, so it is easy for the beginner to build up an attractive collection. Only the very rare ones are highly priced, and these are usually ones with an unusual kind of glass. There is an interesting article by Marinka Bozzec on the Glass Museum website which shows the range of glass hand vases, from the very mundane to the very rare. - click here to take a look.

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