Pearline barrel in lemon
above: Pearline biscuit
barrel; & below: blue
pearline jug
both by Davidson

Pearline in blue

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Pearline Glass from
The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Pearline Glass:

In 1889 Davidson's introduced one of their most popular and successful lines, a colouring which they called "Pearline". It was only made in two colours, blue and lemon yellow, each with a white edge. Pearline glass was so successful that Davidson's introduced a new suite of designs made in "pearline" almost every year until 1903, and continued production of pearline until the outbreak of the First World War (1914).

Davidson's pearline glass is virtually always marked with a number or (on very early pieces) the word "Patent". The number is the British registration number of that particular pattern, and identifies the manufacturer and the date of registration. The exceptions to this rule are the small items which Davidson's marketed as "novelty" pieces, and this quilted pattern (right), which does not have a number but does appear in Davidson's advertisements of 1893. American glass collectors have named this design "Quilted pillow sham" (Heacock).

Pearline glass reacted to heat by turning white on the parts exposed to heat during the cooling process, a reaction caused by the chemicals mixed into the glass (notably arsenic). It was extremely popular in the 1890's. This pattern (above left) was issued by Davidson's in 1889, registration number 130643, called the "643 Suite" by Davidson's and named "Brideshead" by American collectors. The Pearline colour combination of a white opalescent edge on turquoise blue glass was almost unique to Davidson's. Greener's (from nearby Sunderland) produced a smaller number of patterns in a very similar colour, and these can be identified both by the registration numbers and from pattern books and advertisements of the time.

Lemon Pearline is often called "Vaseline Glass", which is a general term used for any kind of yellow glass with an appearance similar to the old yellow vaseline ointment. This includes hand blown glass as well as the output from many factories. I have come across antique dealers calling the blue pearline "vaseline glass" but know of no justification for this.

These pieces (right) are in one of the last Pearline patterns; registered by Davidson's in 1903 registration number 413701 and named "William and Mary" by US collectors (see William Heacock's publications).

The lemon colour was produced by adding uranium to the glass mixture (in those days before people knew about bombs made from uranium). If you shine an ultra-violet lamp onto Davidson's lemon pearline glass it will glow green (fluoresce) because of these ingredients. However we are assured that the amount of uranium in glass is so small it is not dangerous to us.

If you want to see examples that are for sale, click Pearline glass

Here are some books which include Davidson's Pearline Glass. Click on any book cover or title to read more about that book.

Davidson Glass (2005) English Pressed Glass 1987 English Pressed Glass by Thomson 2000 British Glass Book 2 Millers 20th Century Glass 2006 20th Century glass 2004 British glass book British Glass Between the Wars 1987 20th Century glass book 19th C British Glass Victorian Glass - British Arwas glass book

Davidson Glass: A History (Aug 2005) by Chris Stewart and Val Stewart. This is a great book with comprehensive history, catalogue information, designs, types of glass and great photographs. It may be hard to obtain copies.
English Pressed Glass by Raymond Slack (1987). Really good information about the English pressed glass companies from late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
The Identification of English Pressed Glass, 1842-1908 by Jenny Thompson (1990). Detailed information.
British Glass 1800-1914, by Charles R. Hajdamach, (1991). One of the great reference books on British Glass.
Nineteenth Century British Glass by Hugh Wakefield (1982). Still an excellent reference book on glass factories in the early years of pressed glass.
Victorian Decorative Glass 1850-1914, by Mervyn Gulliver, (2002).

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It is always interesting to see what Pearline Glass there is on eBay. Take a look often to be sure you don't miss something. Click Pearline glass

INFORMATION about Bagley Glass!
Bagley Glass were competitors of Davidsons from the 1930s onwards so we thought you might be interested in this book.
The first three editions sold out very quickly.

The 4th Edition is now available and has received a rave response
- more information, more and better pictures, new items identified
as Bagley for the first time, a helpful index, and more compehensive coverage.
A truly excellent guide to help you identify Bagley Glass.
Click on the picture for more details.

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