Day 44-Chartreuse


Chartreuse was made from 1948 to 1955.  Chartreuse was one of my must have colors when I first started to collect.  Most Chartreuse glass is seeded.  I have seen sites that claim, “Chartreuse is ALWAYS seeded.”  I have learned that you should be very caution when using the word ALWAYS in regard to Blenko glass.

At this point I would like to bring up the topic of “clunkers” again.  I think that shortly after Winslow Anderson became Blenko’s first designer, he changed the look of the water bottle so it had a more sophisticated shape.  This entailed elongating the neck slightly and keeping the neck closer to round.  (I am guessing that, if the neck of the water bottle is too hot and very pliable, the finisher can stretch the neck into an oval shape while making the spouts.)   I also believe that, originally, the tops of the water bottle were cut off with shears.

Before I explain why, I should tell you how water bottles are made today.  The simplified version goes like this.  A blowpipe is used to get a gather of glass out of the furnace.  A metal mold is closed around the gather of glass.  The glass blower blows sufficient air into the end of the blowpipe to expand the glass into the mold.  At the last moment, the glassblower causes a bubble about the size of a large orange to form just above the top of the mold.  The mold is now opened and the water bottle is removed.  A special tool, designed specifically for the water bottle, is used to grasp the water bottle which is then broken off from the end of the blowpipe by shattering the thin bubble of glass.  When the bubble breaks, it invariable leaves a jagged edge of thin glass on the neck.  The neck of the water bottle is now scraped over an iron bar to break off the jagged edge.   The water bottle is then returned to an opening in the furnace and “fire polished” until the remaining sharp edges are melted smooth.  While the neck is still pliable, a small rod is used to form the spouts and further smooth the inner neck.   Once the water bottle has cooled sufficiently, a long rod with a U-shaped hook on the end is slid around the neck just under the spouts.  This is how the hot glass is transported to the lehr to cool.  The scar from the bubble being broken off is still visible on many contemporary water bottles.

Fire Polishing Scar

None of the clunkers that I own have this scar.   That is why I think that originally the tops were cut with shears.   This would also explain why the height is variable and generally shorter in the early water bottles

There are occasionally small bits and strings of glass stuck to the inside of a water bottle.  These most likely come from the breaking off of the bubble.  When the bubble shatters, little pieces of glass can be catapulted into the inside of the water bottle and can then adhere onto the surface of the water bottle.  I have actually seen this happen while water bottles were being made.

Water Bottle Mold

Water Bottle Mold Closed

Water Bottle holder

This is the holder that allows the water bottle rim to be fire polished. Once the water bottle is removed from the blow pipe, it is placed in this specially made device.  Normally, a glass piece would be attached to a pontil rod by a blob of glass.  This device is the reason why Blenko water bottles do not have pontils.  Most Blenko glass does not have seams.  They are removed by spinning the round glass inside the mold, thus polishing away the seam marks.  Because water bottles are not round, they cannot be spun in the mold so the mold marks remain visible.    (10/18/2014)  Wayne Husted has informed me that the tool which holds the water bottle and replaces the pontil rod is called a “snap.”


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