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Older pieces of Crackle Glass will show more wear marks on the bottom and inside where a stopper may have been. Shapes are more imperfect, may lean to one side slightly and feel bumps or variations in glass.
The fewer the cracks a piece has, the cheaper the piece of crackle would be.
Crackle Glass is known by other names: Craquelle Glass, Ice Glass and Overshot Glass. It was the Venetian Glass Makers of the 16th Century that invented this marvelous process. The glass was immersed in cold water while it was molten hot, thereby cracking the glass. The glass was then re-heated and either mold or hand-blown into the shape the glass blower desired. The re-heating of the glass would seal the cracks. If you run your hand over Crackle Glass, you can feel the cracks, but the inside would be smooth to touch. Glass makers today are still using this same method.
Glass should be stored in dry ventilated conditions as damp can cause white cloudy stains. A glass wrapped in damp newspaper can be permanently marked with the newsprint [I can attest to this], and a damp glass can be permanently stained in a few hours by strong sunlight. Decanters should not be stored with their stoppers in place in case there is remaining damp inside.
Some of the companies that produced Crackle Glass are: Blenko Glass Co., Pilgrim Glass Co., H.C. Fry Glass Co., Boston and Sandwich Glass Co., Hobbs, Bruckunier and Co., Cambridge Glass Co., Kanawha Glass Co. Some of these companies are still operating today making Crackle Glass.
In common with ceramics, glassware should never be put in a dishwasher, as the salts and detergents may harm the surface and cause cloudiness. Wash glass carefully by hand in a plastic bowl with a towel or foam mat on the bottom. Use warm water and a little soap liquid and wash only one piece at a time. If the glass is very dirty or greasy, a few drops of household ammonia can be added to the water but not if the piece is gilded. Dry carefully and thoroughly while the glass is still warm using a lint -free cloth. A warm hair dryer can be used, well away from the sink and water, to dry the inside of decanters or other vessels or place them upside down in an airing cupboard for 24 hours. You can also roll up paper towel, push it into a decanter until it touches the bottom, being careful not to lose the end, and remove it 24 hours later.
To date a molded bottle, look at the height of the seam, the higher the seam-the later the bottle. Pre-1860, the side mold marks don't go all the way up the neck of the bottle. In the late 1800's they ran to about a quarter inch from the top. After 1903, the seam will run all the way to the top of the bottle.
Hard water left in glass can leave deposits of calcium carbonate, and alcohol will often leave dark stains which can be treated with a solution of denture cleaner and warm water or with an organic acid such as citric acid, white vinegar or a mixture of one tablespoon of salt to a quarter of a pint of vinegar. Whichever is used, leave in the glass or decanter for 24 hours, shaking occasionally, then rinse and dry thoroughly. If stains are still there, repeat the process, although it may not be possible to remove them completely. Do not use stronger acids, as they may etch into old glass. Alcohol-based perfume bottle stains can be treated with methylated spirits or pure alcohol. This should be changed every hour or so until the stains have gone. If attempts to clean glass using these methods fail, the process can be done professionaly for a relatively low cost. Specialist glass dealers can usually advise on reputable dealers.