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                A to Z Glossary of Antique Terms

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                Glossary of Antique terms  A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z

                Aalto, Alver - (Furniture Designer Finland) Hugo Alver Henrik Aalto (1899-1976) Finnish architect and designer famous for bent plywood furniture. He started designing furniture in 1929 and his first important design in the 1930, it was a convertible sofa bed that had a chromed tubular steel frame. He then designed a number of laminated birch wood chairs stools and tables. He enjoyed tackling special problems in furniture design and developed a durable stacking chair for kindergartens. He did not limit his talents to furniture he also worked in glass and made some of the earliest examples of free form bowls.

                Aarnio, Eero - (Furniture Designer Finland) The Finnish designer Eero Aarnio was born in 1932, studied from 1954 to 1957 at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki and started his own office as an interior and industrial designer in 1962. Eero Aarnio became Famous in 1966 for his Pop Art designed chairs. He designed the Ball Chair, the Bubble Chair and the Pastil Chair. They are among a few of his many designs. They are still manufactured today and you can even buy miniatures of these 1960s Mod creations.

                Abacus - (Architecture) In architecture an Abacus is the flat slab at the top of a capital. In classical orders it varies from a square form having unmolded sides in the Greek Doric, to thinner proportions and ovolo molding in the Greek Ionic, and to sides incurving and corners cut in Roman Ionic and Corinthian examples. In Romanesque work the abacus is heavier in proportion, projects less, and is generally molded and decorated. In Gothic work the form varies, appearing in square, circular, and octagonal forms with molded members.

                Abaquesne, Masseot - (Ceramics, Potter, French) Lived and worked at Rouen, France from 1526 until 1557. Famous for elaborately decorated pottery and paintings on tile.

                Abaquesne, Laurent - (Ceramics, Potter French) Son of Masseot Abaquesne took charge of his workshop and continued production until the end of the 16th Century

                Abbasal Talwer - (Weapon, India) The abbasal talwer is a saber with a slightly curved blade that was used by the Punjabi Indians

                Abbasl - (Weapon, India) The abbasl is a sword with perforated supports at the back and a straight blade that was used by the Rajput Indians

                Abbey, Richard - (Ceramics, England) Richard Abby was a Liverpool potter, apprenticed to Sadler & Green and founded the Herculaneum factory in 1793.

                Abbini, Franco - (Furniture Maker, Architect, Italy) (1905-1977) Franco Abbini was a modern Italian that designed various household goods, urban plans, museum interiors, exhibitions, and began to design furniture in the international style in the 1940s, his designs highlight the process of manufacture and structure, making them functional.

                Abbotsford Furniture - (Furniture) Victorian Gothic, from 1830's, dark oak usually, or walnut; the chair, heavily carved, upholstered in velvet or tapestry, like a Jacobean throne. Vogue attributed to Scott's novels. (Sometimes called 'Baronial'.)

                Abbotsford Ware - (Pottery, England) see Wemyss Ware

                Abildgaard, Nikolai Abraham - (Artist, Furniture, Danish) Nikolai Abraham Abildgaard was the leading Danish Neo-classical painter. Later in his life he made exact replicas of 5 Century Grecian furniture that were very elegant, and furniture for Prince Christian Frederick of Denmark.

                ABP - (Glass, Term) ABP is a shorten term for American Brilliant Period Glass. Brilliant Period Glass is fine quality, hand-cut crystal produced between 1880 and 1925. It has exceptional brilliance from the high lead content of the glass of up to 50%, versus 24% for modern crystal. This gives the glass a high refractive index. ABP pieces are similar to prisms or gemstones because they bend and scatter light into the different colors of the rainbow. In the process of making a piece of ABP glass, the artist would take a “blank” or uncut piece of glass and press it against a series of spinning wheels. This would cut the desired pattern into the surface of the glass. When finished, he or she would polish the design because cutting the glass gave it a milky-white appearance. Polishing restored its clarity and sparkle. ABP pieces were originally designed and manufactured for the upper classes of Victorian society. Pieces of hand-cut crystal were more expensive than most people could afford. A large, highly detailed piece might retail for two to three times the weekly salary of the artist that made it.

                ABP - American Brilliant Period

                Abrash - (Floor Covering) In hand dyed carpet if the yarn is dyed in more than one batch there can be variation in the colors of the wool, this is especially noticeable in background colors in a rug.

                Abrasion - (Glass, Decoration) Abrasion is a technique of grinding shallow decoration into glass with a wheel. The decorated areas are not polished.

                Abrizzi, Alexander - (Furniture Maker, Italy, England) (b.1934) Alexander Abrizzi is best known for his clear acrylic tables that he made during the 1960s. He is an interior decorator and designer from Italy that moved to London via Paris.

                Absolute Auction - (Term, Auction) An Absolute Auction is an auction where there is no minimum bid and the items are guaranteed to be sold at the maximum bid amount.

                Absolon, William - (Pottery, England) William Absolon (1751-1815) was a Decorator of Earthenware at Yarmouth Pottery Norfolk, England from 1784-1815.

                Abstract Expressionism - (Fine Art) Term applied to a movement in American painting and art, that was first coined in relation to the work of Vasily Kandinsky in 1929. This movement flourished in the 1940s and 1950s, sometimes referred to as the New York School or Action Painting. The works of the generation of artists active in New York from the 1940s and regarded as Abstract Expressionists had a diverse range of style. It undeniably became the first American visual art to attain international status and influence. Abstract Expressionism has been interpreted as an especially ‘American’ style because of its attention to the physical immediacy of paint. The artists were linked by a concern with varying degrees of abstraction used to convey strong emotional or expressive content.  However, the majority of Abstract Expressionists rejected critical labels and shared, a common sense of moral purpose and alienation from American society.  It has also been seen as a continuation of the Romantic tradition of the Sublime.
                 
                Abura - (Wood) Abura is a hardwood from Nigeria Africa, its popular use is for moldings and furniture. Its color is plain, pale yellowish-brown and it accepts stain well.

                A/C Mark - (Silver) The Albert Coles & Co was Listed in the New York City Business Directory from 1836–80. Coles Silversmiths used “Pseudo” Hallmarks as their Trademark that consisted of an eagle, AC, Coles initials and a head.  Pseudo hallmarks were quite common among New York silver smiths between 1825-1860.

                Acacia - (Wood) A decorative wood that shows a contrast between the pale yellow sapwood and the dark heartwood. The false-acacia or locust-tree (Robinia pseudo-acacia) was introduced into England during the seventeenth century.

                Acanthus Leaf - (Decoration) Ornament derived from the stylized foliage of the acanthus plant on Greek and Roman decoration, used as decoration on furniture, silver, and china during the Renaissance Period and it made a resurgence during the Victorian Era. It was favored by the Chippendale school.

                Accessories - 1. (Decoration) A decorative object that is secondary and not essential 2. (Fine Art) Objects in a painting that are there to add interest but have nothing to do with the main theme of the painting.

                Accidental Rarity - (Coins) An accidental rarity is a flawed coin that was poorly struck and thus unique.

                Accordion - (Musical Instrument) The accordion was invented by Freidrich Buschmann (1805-1864). It is a bellows type instrument with keys, it is a popular instrument with folk music bands.

                Achromatic Lens - (Scientific Instrument) Two or more lenses of different powers that are put together. This eliminates color fringes that distort images.

                Acid Gilding - (Ceramics) Minton Porcelain Factory first used acid gilding in 1863. The pattern is first printed on the piece of porcelain with a material that is acid resistant, and then the porcelain is put into an acid bath, which etches the material not covered with the acid resistant printing. The etched area is then painted gold and fired. The most common use of this process was borders on tableware. However it could also be done in reverse, by acid etching the design.

                Acid-gold - (Decoration Ceramics) a type of dinnerware decoration in which the design is acid- etched into the body, then painted with liquid gold which is fired on and burnished.

                Acid-Polished - (Glass) Acid Polishing is a technique of dipping cut or other glass into a bath of hydrofluoric and sulfuric acid which leaves the glass with a smooth polished surface.

                Acid-Stamped - (Glass, Mark) Acid Stamping is done after the glass piece has been annealed. A good example is using a device similar to a rubber stamp to apply a signature or trademark.

                Acorn Clock - (Clocks & Timepieces) The acorn clock is a shelf clock whose upper part was shaped like and acorn, that was common in New England in the early 19th Century. They are generally about 24 Inches tall.

                Acorn Finial – (Furniture) An acorn finial is a finial in the form of an acorn. They can either be in the form of an upright finial or a drop finial.

                Acorn Knop - (Glass) An acorn knop is a tooled acorn shaped form that is found tooled into the stem on stemware drinking glasses. They can be found inverted as well as right side up.

                Acoustic Jar - (Ceramics) Acoustic jars are jars that are found embedded in the walls of Medieval Churches to help with the acoustics.

                Acroter - (Architecture, Decoration) The acroter is a decoration used in classical architecture. This decorative device was commonly used on European furniture in the 18th Century during the Neo-classical Style. Placed at the apex or lower corners of a pediment it is a plinth or pedestal for a stature or other ornament. Also known as acrotere, acroterion, and acroterium.

                Adams Family Pottery – (Ceramics, Pottery, England) The Adams family had potteries in Staffordshire as early as 1650. At that date two brothers; William and Thomas had separate ventures in Burslem, England. Such family activity continued for many years. William Adams and Company, with large potteries in Tunstall was managed by members who were the 11th and 12th generations in direct descent from the original 17th century Adams of Burslem. There is no longer an Adams pottery; some of their designs are still produced with their backstamp under the Wedgwood Group name. Adams joined the Wedgwood Group in 1966.A famous and recurring name in Staffordshire. The most important are three William Adams. The first (1746-1805) made at Burslem from about 1770 and at Tunstall from about 1780 cream-colored earthenware, blue-printed earthenware and, most notably, jasper ware that rivaled that of Wedgwood. The second (1748-1831) made at Cobridge and at Burslem from about 1770 various kinds of earthenware and, in the early nineteenth century, some china. The third (1772-1829) was in partnership with his father-in-law at Burslem for a time, but from 1804 was in business on his own at Stoke-on-Trent, making useful earthenware and stoneware, bone china (from c. 1810) and Parian statuary. The business was carried on by his several sons until 1864.

                Adams, Robert – (Furniture, Designer, Architect, Scotland) (1728-92) Along with his brother James had a great influence on the revival of classical design in the last quarter of the 18th Century.

                Adams' Rose - (Ceramics, Pottery, Pattern) This popular pattern was first produced by the Adams & Son Pottery of Brickhouse, Burslem and later Cobridge Hall, Cobridge in England between 1825 and 1850. The line of dinnerware was white blanks with large hand painted red roses and green leaves. Other companies copied this pattern because of its popularity.

                Adam Style - (Furniture) Adam, Robert (1728-92): Architect and designer who was responsible for the introduction of a classical revival in England. His three brothers also worked in the architectural profession, and James and William Adam joined Robert Adam in the London-based family business (the eldest brother, John Adam, like his father, was a Palladian architect and was based in Scotland).   The Adam style in furniture, and ceramics, is characterized by severe classical motifs. The Adams brothers designed furniture but made no furniture themselves.

                Adams and Adams-Deane Revolver - (Weapon) Patented by brothers Webley and Robert Adams in 1851, this was England's answer to the Colt revolver. It was a double-action piece and stronger and faster. The parts of the revolver were not interchangeable and it was less accurate at long range.

                Adams, Nathaniel  - (Furniture, Maker) Nathaneil Adam was a furniture maker in Boston Massachusetts that was active before 1652 and died in 1675. He was trained by Thomas Edsall of London England. He made American Jacobean Furniture incorporating English Jacobean Styles.

                Adams, Nehemiam - (Furniture, Maker) Nehemiam Adams (1769-1840) was a furniture maker from Salem Massachusetts that made Federal Period Furniture.

                A Deux Crayons - (Fine Art) A Deux Crayons is a chalk or pastel drawing that utilizes only two colors, usually black and red but it can be black and another color.

                Adirondack Furniture - (Furniture) Adirondack Furniture was made popular from 1898 until the early 1940s by the people that owned camps, cabins and resorts in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York. The furniture is rustic and was made mostly from bark-on unmilled Hickory. The Old Hickory Chair company was the first to make this type of furniture in 1898
                Adnet, Jacques - (Furniture Maker) Jacques Adnet was a furniture designer that was slightly behind the times. He designed Art Deco furniture from 1930 until 1950 in the manner of Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. After 1946 almost all of his furniture creations were covered in fine leather, which was in fashion at the time.

                Advertising Card - (Paper) 19th Century cardboard card given out by merchants to advertise their establishment. They had a colorful picture, name and address of the business giving the merits of a particular product. They are also called trade cards.

                Adz or Adze - (Tools) An adze is a carpenter’s tool used to shape and dress wood, it is shaped like an ax with the blades at right angles to the handle.

                Adze - (Weapon, New Zealand) The adze is a weapon used by the Maori Warrior in New Zealand, they have elaborately carved handles and blades of Jade.

                Aegricanes  - (Furniture, Decoration) The aegricanes is a decorative motif from the late 18th and early 19th century Neo-classical design, it is the head of a goat or ram and was taken from 7ancient Greek iconography. 

                Aeier, Michael-Victor - (Ceramics, Porcelain, France) Porcelain modeler who was installed in 1764 as chief modeler at Meissen, jointly with Kandler,  He held this post until 1779.

                Aeophile - (Glass, Greek, Islamic, Toy) The first use of steam to propel something was Hero's 1st century (60AD) Aeophile Steam Turbine but it was more of a toy than an actual engine. Essentially a glass sphere full of water with glass right-angled nozzles on opposite side of it, users would light a fire under it and as the water boiled, steam came out of the nozzles and made it spin. It was fun to watch, and probably dangerous, it was a toy and nothing more.

                Aerogram - (Stamps) An Aerogram is a piece of airmail stationary that is made from very thin lightweight paper and can be folded into and envelope and sealed, pre-stamped are of Government Issue.

                Aeronautica - (Collectibles) aviation memorabilia, or collectibles that has anything that has to do with airlines, flying machines, or the famous people that flew them, like Amelia Earhart. 

                Aeronautica Militare Italiana - (Military, Italy) The Aeronautica Militare Italiana is the Italian air force. It was founded as an independent service arm on the March 28, 1923, by King Vittorio Emanuele III as the Regia Aeronautica. After World War II, when Italy was made a republic by referendum, the Regia Air Force (meaning "Royal Aeronautics") was given its current name. Its Aerobatic precision team is the Frecce Tricolori.

                Aerophilately - (Stamps) Aerophilately is a term use for the collectors of airmail stamps and airborne postal items.

                Aerugo - (Metal) The greenish-blue patina on copper or bronze that occurs naturally after time.

                Aesthetic Movement - (Art, Style) English artistic movement of the late 19th century, dedicated to the doctrine of ‘art for art’s sake’ – that is, art as a self-sufficient entity concerned solely with beauty and not with any moral or social purpose. Associated with the movement were the artists Aubrey Beardsley and James McNeill Whistler and writers Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde. Pieces were influenced by Japanese designs and had light colors and little ornamentation.

                Afara - (Wood) Afara is a hardwood from West Africa, its popular use is for furniture and veneer. Its color is from yellow to dark brown.

                Affleck, Thomas - (Furniture, Maker) (1740-1795) The leading furniture maker of Philadelphia in the Rococo Style in the manner of Thomas Chippendale.

                Afghan Stock - (Weapon, Pakistan) A name coined in England for a style of gun stock used in Sind, West Pakistan. The stock is curved with a deep narrow butt.

                Afikomen - (Judaica) The middle of three pieces of matzah on the seder plate at Passover. As part of a game, the children at the seder search for the afikomen, which is hidden by an adult before the meal begins.

                African Mahogany - (Wood) African Mahogany is a hardwood from Africa, it had been popular since the American Mahogany is in short supply it is used for furniture. Its color is less red than American Mahogany.

                African Walnut - (Wood) African Walnut is a hardwood from West Africa, it is not really walnut and is a species of African Mahogany. Its popular use is for structural elements and if used in furniture it is generally covered with other wood veneer. Its color is brown and it resembles European Walnut in color.

                Afromosia - (Wood) Afromosia is a hardwood West Africa, its popular use is for furniture and veneering. Its color is yellow to brown and it resembles teak. It has been used in shipbuilding since World War II.

                After – (Art Term) After is an art term that means a work of art may either be nearly identical to the other's work, or differ to some degree from it. When used in an artist's inscription, it means that that artwork was modeled on the work of another artist.

                After-Cast - (Metal, Sculpture) 1) An after-cast is a mold that is made from a figure that was cast before and then is recast usually making the figure slightly smaller. 2) A mold that has been sold or after-cast someone other than the artist or original manufacturer and then a figure is cast from this mold.

                Afzelia - (Wood) Afzelia is a hardwood from South Africa that is typically used in furniture as veneer and also as solid wood. The color varies from yellow to dark brown.

                Agata - (Glass, Decoration) Agata is a type of New England peachblow glass from the late 1800s that has been treated with a metallic stain to form the decoration. Agata glass did not hold up well to time and the decoration on most pieces is worn.

                Agate - (Marbles) Agates are translucent stone marbles with band of color that alternates with white.


                Agate Glass - (Glass) Agate glass was first made during the Renaissance, which was an imitation of a type of Roman glassware. It was made in both Venice and Germany. In agate glass many colors of glass are mixed together, and then blown or molded into a form, however the colors are not blended. In Germany agate glass is called schmetglas and in Venice, Italy it was called calcedonio.

                Agate Ware - (Ceramics) Pottery in which clays of different colors are kneaded together in imitation of veined agate or variegated natural stone. They can be glazed with a clear lead-based glaze. This style dates from the early 1700s and it is a form that was refined by Josiah Wedgwood.

                Aigrette - (Jewelry) has been in Use since the 1700s they are a piece of jewelry that holds a feather in a ladies hair or hat. They are usually jeweled.

                Aiguillette - (Jewelry, Military) In the 18th Century Military uniforms had a knotted cord on the shoulder called an aiguillette, they were sometime jeweled.

                Aimery - (Furniture) A cupboard in a wall or piece of furniture; a safe for food; a press for clothing and other objects; a doored recess in a church for the storing of sacred utensils. (Also called ambry, aumbry.)

                Air-lock or Air-trap - (Glass, Decoration) The technique of making air-lock or air-trap glass was patented in 1857 by Benjamin Richardson of the W.H., B. & J. Richardson Glass Company. To form a piece of glass with a decoration of air-locks or air-traps they take a gather of glass and blow it into a mold, the mold has a specific pattern with shaped projections on it to form the decoration. A second gather of glass is then put over the first and it traps air between the two layers of glass forming a pillow-like pattern.  

                Air-twist Glass Stems - (Glass) Air twist stems were an English glass-making development that dates from the 1730s and followed in the 1740s by the opaque white enamel twist. Air twist stems are made by incorporating bubbles of air into a gather or mass of hot glass, which is then quickly twisted and pulled, the elongated bubbles thus forming corkscrew air lines inside the stem. In later examples the stem was made separately, still on the principle of the extended air bubble, being cut from long lengths; later again, from about 1750, a molded process brought with it much greater uniformity in the spiral and allowed for compound twists of considerable variety. When it cools slightly the whole mass is taken out of the mould and reheated and covered with another coating of clear glass. This is drawn out and twisted until it reaches the required thickness.

                Aitkin, John - (Furniture Maker) John Aitkin is a cabinetmaker from Philadelphia that made furniture for George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon during the 1790s. He made Federal period furniture in the style of Thomas Sheraton.
                Akro Agate Glass - (Collectibles) The Akro Agate Glass Company started in business in Akron Ohio in 1911. In 1914, they moved the glass factory and entire business to Clarksburg, West Virginia. They only made marbles until 1930. In 1930 they expanded their inventory to ashtrays, children’s play dishes, planters and vases, these items were made with extremely thick opaque slag type glass. Akro Agate ceased production in 1949.

                Alabama Coon Jigger - (Black Memorabilia, Toys, Tin) An Alabama Coon Jigger is a tin lothograph wind-up toy, that when wound up a black man in a suit dances a jig. It was first made in 1910 by the Ferdinand Struss Toy Company.

                Alabaster - (Materials) Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals: gypsum (a hydrous sulfate of calcium) which is the type found now and calcite (a carbonate of calcium) which is the alabaster of acient times. The two kinds are distinguished from one another readily, because of differences in their hardness. The gypsum kind is so soft it can be scratched with a fingernail, while the calcite kind is too hard to be scratched in this way, although you can scratch it with a knife. Alabaster is usually white however it does come in colors, with black being the rareist with only three known veins in the world, China, Italy and Oklahoma (USA).

                Alabaster Glass - (Glass) Fredrick Carder of Steuben Glass developed alabaster glass in the 1920s, however it is reported to have been made first in Bohemia in the 19th century. It is a type of translucent iridescent glass that is usually white; this decorative technique is achieved by spraying the glass with stannous chloride.

                Alabastron  - (Glass, Pottery, Greek) An Alabastron Greek word for a small bottle or flask made to hold perfume, oil or ointments. They were made to be suspended from the wrist by a string. Alabastron’s have a long cylindrical form with two loop handles, sometimes they are figural. Also called Alabastron, which is Latin.

                Alamani - (Weapon) An Alamani is a type of saber from India

                A La Poulaine Solerets - (Armor) A la poulaine solerets were part of a set of armor worn during the 15th century Gothic period. They guarded the foot and they were long and pointed.

                Alarum - (Clocks) An alarum is a type of alarm clock from the 17th Century

                Albarello – (Ceramics, Pottery, Glass) An albarello, also called alberello, is a cylindrical drug jar with the neck and foot that is narrower than the slightly tapering body, it also had a flange so that a piece of parchment could be tied over the top. Style originated in the 12th century in Persia and it remained popular through the 19th century as a decorative vessel.

                Albers, Josef - (Artist, Designer, Germany, United States) (1888-1976) Josef Albers was an important German-American teacher of fine art and design. He taught furniture design at Bauhaus in Germany from 1923 until Hitler closed the school in 1933. He then immigrated to the United States and took a position teaching art at the Black Mountain Collage in Asheville, North Carolina for 16 years and then he taught at Yale University from 1950 until his death in 1976.

                Albert Chain - (Jewelry) An Albert chain is a watch chain that can be worn by either men or women, it can also be a single chain or a double chain that has a loop on one end for attaching the watch and on the other end is a bar that fits through a buttonhole.

                Albert Coles & Company of New York - (Silver Company American) see Coles, Albert & Co.

                Albertolli, Giocondo - (Furniture Maker, Italy) (1742-1839) Giocondo  Albertolli was a designer and interior decorator that designed elaborate ornamentation using classical motifs. His work was published between 1782 and 1805, these designs had a great influence on furniture makers of the Italian Neoclassical style.

                Albumens - (Photography) Albumen photography was a great advancement in photography. In 1880 they were the first photographs that could be printed on paper and made it possible to have multiple prints of the same photo.

                Album Quilt - (Textiles) Album quilts are a type of quilt that was given for a wedding or special occasion. A different person made each block, with each using their own style or theme then the quilt was put together.

                Alchemy - (Metal) In the 1700s and 1800 alchemy was used to make spoons and plates. Alchemy is an alloy that is a mixture of tin and copper.

                Alcohol Colors - (Fine Art) Alcohol colors are airbrush paint where the colors of paint are thinned with alcohol and then sprayed onto the canvas or paper.

                Alcora - (Ceramics) A faience factory founded in this Spanish town in the Province of Valencia about 1727, the wares produced being in the style of Moustiers until the 1780's, when the factory turned to the manufacture of creamwares in the English manner.

                Alcove Bed - (Furniture) The alcove bed is made to fit into and alcove, therefore it is generally highly decorated on the side that is seen, with the other three side being plain. It is a French furniture form from the 1700 and remained popular until the early 1800s.

                Aldegrever, Henrich - (Furniture Maker, Engraver, Germany) (d. 1561) Henrich Aldegrever of Soeset, Westaphlia, Germany was a designer and engraver that produced engraving of Renaissance ideas and decoration from Italy into Germany in the early 1500s.  

                Alden, John - (Furniture Maker, United States) (1599-1687) John Alden is reported to have been the first known furniture maker in America; he was a cooper (person that makes or repairs wooden casks) by trade and arrived in the United States in 1620.

                Alder - (Wood) Wood used in the eighteenth century for country furniture; white with pinkish tinge, usually marked with knots and curls.

                Ale Glass  - (Glassware) An aleglas is a drinking glass used for ale or beer first made in England in the 1600s. They are tall with a conical form cup over a short stem over a round foot. They can be plain, gilded with barley or hops, enameled or engraved.
                Alembic - (Glass) An alembic is a distilling apparatus. An alchemical still consisting of two vessels connected by a tube. Technically, the alembic is the lid with a tube attachment to the capital or still-head, which is placed on top of a flask, the cucurbit, containing the material to be distilled, but the word is often used to refer to the entire distillation apparatus. If the lid and flask are in one piece, it may be called a retort. The liquid in the first flask is boiled; the vapour rises and flows into the tube, where it cools and condenses, running into the second flask.

                Alençon Lace - (Textiles) Alençon lace is a deleicate created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches onto a net background to form the lace itself.  Also called Point d'Alençon

                Alephbet - (Judaica) Hebrew alphabet consisting of twenty-two letters. There are no vowels in the Hebrew alphabet. Lines and dots placed below the letters are used instead. Each Hebrew letter has a corresponding numerical value.

                Alexandrite - (Glass) Alexandrite glass starts out as a transparent art glass which has chemical properties in the glass so that when varying amounts of heat is applied during production, it creates gradual color changes throughout. The colors progress from pale yellow to rose to blue. Thomas Web & Sons patented this process in 1886. Other sources on Alexandrite glass identify it as having resulted from the first commercial use of purified neodymium in the laboratory of Leo Moser in 1927. This resulting product line, also dubbed "Alexandrite Glass", was produced in various American glass factories and also referred to as "Neodymium glass". The use of the term "alexandrite in alexandrite glass stems from the semi-precious gemstone Alexandrite

                Alexandrite – (Gemstone, Jewelry) in alexandrite is a semi-precious gemstone Alexandrite, which is a greenish brown and exhibits red highlights under certain lights. The stone was first discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1830 during the reign of Czar Alexander II - hence the name.

                Algrette - (Jewelry) Jewelry piece broach, clip, etc. made in the form of a feather or feathers. (Ornament) A spray of feathers or gems worn on a hat or in the hair.

                Ali-Ali - (Weapon) Ali-Ali is a type of knife from Malaysia

                Alidade - (Scientific Instrument) is a device that allows one to sight a distant object and use the line of sight to perform a task. This devise is used on surveying and nautical instruments.

                Alix, Charlotte - (Designer, France) Charlotte Alix was a French furniture designer that collaborated with Louis Sognot when designing the Indore Palace. She designed Art Deco Furniture during the 1920s and 1930s. 

                Alkali - (Glass) Is one of the major ingredients in making glass. Alkali is the flux that lowers the melting temperature of the silica or sand. It is a soluble salt of consisting of potassium carbonate or sodium carbonate and it generally makes up 15 to 20 percent of the batch of glass.

                Alkaline Glaze - (Ceramics, Pottery, Decoration) Alkaline glaze is made from sand and potash.

                Allendale - (Textiles) An Allendale is a bedspread from England made in the early 19th Century.

                Alligator Cracks - (Fine Art) Cracks that can happen to the paint on a oil painting due to age or poor storage conditions. The paint looks like alligator skin.

                Allison, Michael - (Furniture Maker, United States) Michael Allison was a furniture maker from New York that made furniture during the Federal Period in many different styles, American Empire, Neoclassical and French Empire. He was active 1800-1855.

                Alloy - (Metal) Combination of metals fused together; a base metal mixed with a precious one to make it workable, to harden it, to change its colors.

                Alma-Tadema, Lawrence - (Artist, Fine Art, Designer, England) (1836-1912) Lawrence Alma-Tadema was a well known artist during his lifetime, he also designed furniture using Egyptian and classical motifs with rich carving and inlay.  
                Almorrata  - (Glass, Spanish) Almorrata were made in the North of Spain circa 1500s to 1700s. It is a rosewater sprinkler with many spouts.

                Alpacca - (Metal) The Berndorf Metalware Factory established in 1843, was the first industrial enterprise in Austria to introduce galvanic silver-plating and it established "Alpaca Silver" as the quality brand for years to come. Berndorf's development of "Alpacca" named, after the alpaca in Peru, is the registered trade name of an alloy consisting of copper, nickel and zinc  the progress of development in the so-called 'galvanization' of metals. "Alpacca" cutlery - also called the "New Silver" - was much lighter in weight than solid silver cutlery. Moreover, galvanic silver-plating permitted lower production costs. The price for Alpaca amounted to only two thirds of the price of real silver. Products made of "Alpacca" became the first "best-seller" of the Berndorf Metalware Factory. Nickel formed a major part of the "Alpacca" alloy but its natural availability was limited. By purchasing a nickel works in in Hungary in 1853 and by acquiring interests in a nickel mine in Eastern Slovakia, they secured the factory's requirements for this raw material. The Berndorf Metalware Factory participated with great success at international exhibitions. The climax was the presentation of Berndorf products - finished products and raw materials - at the World Exhibitions in 1855 in Paris and in 1873 in Vienna. At the Viennese exhibition, the extraordinary nature of Berndorf products even made it necessary to exclude them from the awards-competition. Otherwise, the other candidates would not have stood a chance of an exhibition-medallion. The fact that Berndorf was unbeatable was immediately virtually "on record".

                Altar Table - (Furniture Chinese) An altar table used in the home for religious celebrations. The Chinese word for altar table is ji tai shi an.

                Altazimuth - (Scientific Instrument) An altazimuth is a base that can move both horizontally and vertically. This type of base allows for rotation of astronomical telescopes.

                Aluminum - (Metal, Furniture) Aluminum has been used in furniture since World War 2. Aluminum is corrosive resistant, light weight, hard and silvery white metal.

                Aluminum Ware - (Metal)  Hammered Aluminum Ware can be cleaned with a paste of cream of tartar.

                Alvin Corporation - (Silver Manufacturer, American, 1928 - Present) Located in Providence Rhode Island the Alvin Silver Company was named the Alvin Corporation in 1928 when it was purchased by the Gorham Corporation. Originally based in Irvington, New Jersey they manufactured metal, plated and other goods and novelties. In 1897, the factory was moved to Sag Harbor, New York and they made watch cases. After becoming the Alvin Silver Company in 1919 they manufactured sterling silver flatware, hollowware, dresser ware, silver deposit ware and plated silver flatware. Also Known As: Alvin Manufacturing Company 1886-1893, Alvin-Beiderhase Co. 1893-1919, Alvin Silver Company 1919-1928.

                Amaranth - (Wood) Amaranth is another word for purpleheart wood. Purpleheart wood grows in Central America and has a beautiful purple color when stained with clear stain. It is an extreamly heavy hardwood.

                Ambasz, Emilio - (Architect, Furniture Maker, Italy) (b. 1940) Emilio Ambasz is an Italian architect that collaborated with Giancarlo Piretti on several lines of furniture that was designed in accordance with ergonomic research.

                Amber - (Jewelry) Amber is an amorphous resin. It is actually fossilized tree resin or sap that flowed down an ancient coniferous tree trunk in an ancient forest. The tree sap was sticky, and it caught organic materials: drops of water, bits of moss, dirt, bark, seeds and insects. As it grew older, it hardened into a sort of Mother-Nature-made plastic, a resin, and mellowed into a golden, light brown-orange color known as Amber. The more clear the resin, the more perfect the color, the more full of organic materials the amber is, the more it is worth. The Mediterranean countries started to trade in Amber for jewelry making as far back as 2500 BC. Amber has long been worn and carried by men, as a talisman against sexual impotence.

                Amber Glass - (Glass) Amber Glass is glass that has a yellowish brown color. It was used to make many types of useful and decorative glass items. Amber is also a popular color for bottles. Sulfur, together with carbon and iron salts, is used to form iron polysulfides and produce amber glass ranging from yellowish to almost black.

                Amberina - (Glass) Translucent flint glass, often with air bubbles, shading red to amber.

                Ambrotype - (Photography) Ambrotypes date from the late 1850s, the exposed negative is the final print so copies are not possible. This under exposed negative becomes a positive when the exposed photo wet-collodion is placed into glass and mounted onto a black background

                Amboyna - (Wood) Name given to certain burr woods imported from the Moluccas and Borneo; brown with yellow tinge and marked with small knots and curls. Also a West Indian wood similarly marked. Used as a veneer and for inlays and banding.

                Ambry – (Furniture) An ambry is a cupboard, locker, or pantry, chest for tools or arms, it can also be a niche near the altar of a church for keeping sacred vessels and vestments.

                Amen - (Judaica) Said after a prayer or blessing, meaning 'so be it' or 'truly'.

                Amen Glass - (Glassware) An amen glass looks like a vase, but is a drinking vessel with verses of a Jacobite hymn etched into the glass, the hymn always ends with the word amen.

                Americana - (Antiques & Collectibles) Americana is a term for antiques and collectibles that reflect the founding, culture, culture and growth of the United States.

                American Antique Trader Plate - (Collectibles) An American antique trader plate is a commemorative plate depicting a point in American history.

                American Belleek - (Ceramics, United States) American Belleek is porcelain made in the United States that copied the Irish Belleek porcelain style. It was made at several factories; Ott & Brewer was the first to copy it in 1872 with assistance from William Bromley that had worked at Belleek in Ireland. Lenox, American Art China Company, Ceramic Art Company and Willets Manufacturing Company copied it, Knowles, Taylor & Knowles also produced some similar porcelain under the name of Lotus Ware. American Belleek is more richly modeled and decorated that the Irish wares. 

                American Brilliant Period Glass - (Glass) American Brilliant Period Glass is commonly called ABP. Brilliant Period Glass is fine quality, hand-cut crystal produced between 1880 and 1925. It has exceptional brilliance from the high lead content of the glass of up to 50%, versus 24% for modern crystal. This gives the glass a high refractive index. ABP pieces are similar to prisms or gemstones because they bend and scatter light into the different colors of the rainbow. In the process of making a piece of ABP glass, the artist would take a “blank” or uncut piece of glass and press it against a series of spinning wheels. This would cut the desired pattern into the surface of the glass. When finished, he or she would polish the design because cutting the glass gave it a milky-white appearance. Polishing restored its clarity and sparkle. ABP pieces were originally designed and manufactured for the upper classes of Victorian society. Pieces of hand-cut crystal were more expensive than most people could afford. A large, highly detailed piece might retail for two to three times the weekly salary of the artist that made it.

                American Chippendale - (Furniture) American Chippendale furniture is furniture made in the American Rococo style. The designs were elaborated from Thomas Chippendale book The Gentleman Cabinetmaker’s Director published in 1754. American Chippendale furniture was mare conservative and not as elaborate as Chippendale’s designs.

                American Coin Silver - (Silver) American coin silver is 900 parts silver and 100 parts other metal. This was the normal percentages for American Silver until the 1850s when it was raised to 925 parts silver to 75 parts other metal. Marks on coin silver can be coin, dollar, premium, pure coin, standard, or marked with the makers name or initials and sometimes pseudo hallmarks. Pseudo hallmarks were quite common among New York silver smiths between 1825-1860.

                American Empire Style - (Furniture) The American Empire Style was a popular form 1810 until the 1830s. It was Neoclassical Style that drew on elements from the French Empire Style and the British Regency Style. This equates to large bold furniture with matched veneers usually in mahogany with rounded corners and other curved components.

                American Indian Beading - (Native American) all American Indian tribes make American Indian beading. The tiny beads and beadwork is added to leather, and clothing and different tribes have distinctive patterns that they use. Some tribes also incorporate other materials such as porcupine quills, shells, fur and animal teeth.

                American Jacobean - (Furniture) Furniture made in New England in America during the 1600s. It was based on English Jacobean furniture and was plain and square in appearance, Decoration was limited to painting, and some shallow carving and decorative turnings. The bun foot was popular.

                American Luminism - (Fine Art Style) Luminism is a term of recent origins, used to define a manner of painting or school of painting in mid nineteenth century America in which the polished, smooth, classic quality of light is transcendent and possesses a sense of sacred quietude. Luminism is an extension of the Hudson River School and most of the Hudson River School artists may be considered part of American Luminism.

                American Moderne - (Furniture) American Moderne Style was popular in the 1930s. It was derived from the International Style and Art Deco. Contrasting shapes with straight lines, and shiny sleek surfaces characterize American Moderne furniture.

                American Queen Anne Style - (Furniture) American Queen Anne style furniture was popular from 1720 through 1750. American Queen Anne Style is a style of American Baroque furniture and is based on English Queen Anne style. Most of the furniture was made from walnut, was lighter and more delicate and featured the cabriole leg.

                American Regency Style - (Furniture) American Regency Style is another name for the Directoire style. The Directoire style is the French furniture style of the French Revolution. This furniture has limited decoration and uses classical motifs and was popular circa 1810.

                American Restoration Style - (Furniture) American Restoration Style is another name for the Pillar and Scroll style furniture, which was based on the French Restauration Style. This style of furniture was popular in the 1830s and was characterized by columns pillars and S and C scrolls.

                American Victorian - (Furniture) American Victorian furniture is furniture that was made in America from 1830 until 1900. This type of furniture incorporates rococo, gothic, renaissance and Eastlake style into its designs. It is generally made of oak or mahogany.

                American Whitewood - (Wood) Wood from the tulip poplar tree. Mainly used as secondary wood in case furniture.

                American William and Mary Style - (Furniture) American William and Mary Style is a style of American Baroque furniture that was popular from 1675 until 1725. American William and Mary Style furniture shows the curves and color of the Baroque, furniture was Japanned and the Spanish Foot was popular.

                Amethyst Glass - (Glass) Amethyst glass is purple colored glass that was made to be purple. Amethyst glass should not be confused with either black amethyst or sun purple glass.

                Amish - (Collectibles, Folk Art) The Amish are a Christian religious sect that followed Jacob Amman from Switzerland, France and Germany and settled in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Their food and crafts are highly prized for their handmade appeal.

                Amorini - (Decoration) Amorini is another name for putto or putti, fat faced cherubs with wings.

                Amphora - (Ceramics, Glass) Two-handled vessel used by the Greeks and Romans; tall, slender, narrow-necked used to carry oil and wine.

                Amphoriskos - (Glass, Greek) A amphoriskos is a small glass jar with two handles made to hold perfumed oil. The word amphoriskos means small amphora and it pre dates Roman times.

                Amulet - (Jewelry, Native American, Judaica) Amulets are charms or ornaments that were traditionally worn for good luck or to ward off demons and spirits.

                Anabori - (Orientalia) An anabori is a very deep, small carving.

                Ananaspokal - (Table Ware) An ananaspokal is a covered cup that was made in Germany in the 15th and 16th century. The form is of a pineapple sitting on a pedestal, and they can be as large as 30 inches tall. Another name for a ananaspokal is a pineapple cup.

                Anatolian Rugs - (Floor Coverings) Bright-coloured, often of silk, from Anatolian plateau; woollen warp with two to four coloured wool weft threads between knots; border of one to three stripes; coarse weave owing to fifty to seventy Ghiordiz knots to the square inch.

                Ancestor Scroll – (Fine Art, Chinese) Paintings painted in Gouache on heavy paper of Chinese people, generally depicting one person or sometimes a couple. There are rare examples that depict a Man at the top and several wives or concubines at the bottom. There are also examples of Tigers painted on this type of scroll. They generally date from around circa 1800 to 1900.

                Ancient Glass - (Glass) Ancient glass is a term that encompasses all pre-Roman and Roman glass.

                Anchor Escapement - (Clocks) The invention of the anchor escapement is attributed to two different men, Dr. Robert Hooks and William Clement in 1656-7. It was named for the shape of the pallets, which is the steel surface that interrupts the motion of the teeth clicking by on the escape wheel. It looks like a curved anchor. Also called recoil escapement.

                Ancus - (Tools) An ancus is a tool or goad used by handlers of Indian Elephants. The handle of an ancus can be made of plain wood or highly decorated with semiprecious stones, jade, ivory, or gold. The handle can also be short for elephant handlers that ride, and up to fie feet long for handlers that walk beside the elephant.

                Andirons - (Metal) Articles of chimney furniture comprising an upright standard on a base or short spread feet, and a horizontal bar, one end of which is affixed to the standard (low down), the other end turning down to form a foot. Andirons (or fire-dogs) belong in a fireplace for which the fuel was wood. Examples survive from the fifteenth century. Most andirons of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were of cast iron, but wrought iron specimens can be found, brass, latten and silver were used from the mid-seventeenth century. With the general use of coal and the grate in the eighteenth century, the andiron went out of use.

                Aniline Dye - (Floor Covering) Aniline dyes were first used in the 1800s, and is made from coal tar. The color range is red through purple.

                Aniline Ink - (Stamps) Aniline ink is water-soluble ink used on early stamps. The ink will run if it gets wet.

                Animated Toy - (Toys) An animated toy is a toy that moves or has some type of action and is powered by rubber bands, winding a key, batteries, or electricity.

                Animated Toy Pistol - (Toys) An animated toy pistol is a toy made from 1880 – 1910. It was a cap gun made mostly from cast iron in the form of an animal or person, or vehicle. The character would move when you pulled the trigger and set off the cap.

                Animation Cell - (Motion Picture Memorabilia) An animation cell or production cell is the original painting and drawing used to create cartoons and animated films.

                An Hua - (Ceramics, Porcelain, Decoration, Glaze, Chinese) The so-called 'secret' decoration on Chinese porcelain; first used early in the Ming period, perhaps as early as A.D. 1400. This decoration can only be seen when the piece is held up to a light. In some cases the design was engraved on the body with a needle before glazing; in other cases the design was painted in white slip on a White body before glazing.

                Anlace - (Weapon) An anlace is a dagger with two edges used during Medieval times.

                Anna Pottery - (Ceramics, Pottery, American) Known for utilitarian ware and pottery pigs the Anna Pottery operated in Anna, Illinois from 1859 to 1894. They became famous for their pig-shaped bottles and jugs. Usually the pigs have incised maps, insriptions, applied figures or references to places on them.

                Annagrün - (Glass, German) Annagrün is Uranium or Vaseline glass that has a yellowish green color. Annagrün was developed by Josef Riedel in Germany in the 1830s who named annagrün for his wife Anna. This glass contains uranium oxide which gives it its color and also allows it to fluoresce under a black light

                Annealing - (Metal, Glass) Annealing is a process used to strengthen glass and metal. The material is heated in an annealing oven to a very high temperature and the slowly cooled, it was used mainly on flint glass and brittle metals like silver

                Anneau - (Weapon) An anneau is a ring guard on the guard of a sword or knife, it can be on one or both sides

                Annular-Ringed Clock - (Clocks) An annular ringed clock is a luxury style clock where the pointer on the clock is stationary and the numbers rotated on a ring telling the time.

                Annulate - (Decoration) An annulate is a design having or consisting of rings or ringlike segments

                Ansate - (Decoration) An ansate is an object having a handle or handle-like part. Like in the looped top of the ankh or ansate cross

                Antedated - (Coins)  An antedated coin is a coin that is made and dated later than when it was originally issued.

                Anthemion - (Decoration) Stylized honeysuckle flowers. Dates back to ancient Greece.  Its popularity in England lasted well into the Regency period.

                Anti-Semitism - (Judaica) A term for anti-Jewish discrimination.

                Antia - (Armor) The antia is the handle on the back a shield, usually made of iron.

                Antic Work - (Furniture) Antic work is a grotesque sculpture or carving consisting of animal, human, and foliage forms incongruously run together and used to decorate molding terminations and many other parts of medieval architecture, like gargoyles. Also called grotesques and arabesques.

                Antimacasser - (Textiles) An antimacasser is a cloth used on the back of upholstered furniture for protection from a popular hair dressing called Macasser that was popular for both men and women from around 1825-1875. Antimacasser would pervent the upholstery from being stained. These antimacasser coverings could be knit, crocheted, of embroidered cloth.

                Antique - (Term) A man-made object which should be of manageable proportions, have decorative properties, be more than 100 years old, and which, by reason of its quality, beauty, rarity, antiquity, curiosity, or vogue, is sufficiently esteemed and/or coveted as to have value. In England an item is considered an Antique if it is 200 years old. In the orient and other ancient parts of the world it can be 200 to 500 years.

                Antique Automobile - (Automobilia) An antique automobile is any automobile  that is over 25 years old, but more commonly it is any automobile made before 1930.

                Antique Cut - (Jewelry) An antique cut on a stone is a square or rectangular stone with rounded corners, it is also call a cushion cut.

                Antiquity – (Term) For an object to be considered an antiquity is must have been made before the Middle Ages.

                Antwerp Lace - (Textiles, Dutch) Antwerp lace, is a bobbin lace distinguished by stylized two handled vase or flower pot motifs on a six point star ground. It originated in Antwerp, where in the 1600s an estimated 50% of the population of Antwerp was involved in lace making. Antwerp lace is also known, from its familiar repeated motif, as Pot Lace and in Dutch Pottenkant or Potten Kant

                Aoble - (Weapon, Japan) An aoble is a Japanese short sword with a bamboo handle.

                Aogai - (Japanese Lacquer) "Green Shell" Thinly sliced abalone shell used for inlay or sprinkling.

                Aogal - (Orientalia) An aogal is an iridescent shell made into thinly sliced mother-of-pearl and used in inlay on Japanese lacquer ware. The color of aogal can be a greenish blue or a reddish purple.

                A.O.P. - (Glass, Ceramics, Term) A. O. P. is a term used in glass and ceramics that is an abbreviation for all-over pattern,

                Apocryphal - (Silver, Pewter) An apocryphal is another word for a faked or forged piece of silver or pewter. The apocryphal is a plain piece of silver or pewter that had important smiths marks add to it to make it more valuable.

                Apollo Harp - (Music) Apollo Harps were developed 1890-1910, they are a stringed instrument and were popular because they were easy to play. They are similar to a Zither, without a back.

                Apostle Jug - (Ceramics, England) An apostle jug is a pitcher that were made in the 1835 to  1851 by Charles Meigh Company Manufacturers of earthenware at the Old Hall Pottery, Hanley, England. Apostle Jugs had figures of the apostles and eloborate Gothic designs. This style of jug was copied by other companies such as Bennington pottery in the US.

                Apostle Spoons - (Silver) Early spoons made in sets of 12, each one surmounted by a different apostle as a knop. Some sets of 13 were made to include the figure of the 'Master' (Christ). 1478 is the earliest hall-mark recorded.

                Apothecary Chest - (Furniture, Household, Scientific Instrument) An Apothecary Chest is a short or tall chest with many small drawers .Original use was for the storage of herbs or medicine. Usually simple, with 6 to 40+ multiple small drawers configured in straight-lines, originally used by professional apothecaries. In England, they are referred to as a Flight of Drawers.

                Applewood - (Wood) Hard, fine-grained wood used for country furniture in the eighteenth century; it was also employed for inlay and veneer.

                Applied Decoration - (Decoration, Glass) An applied decoration is anything that is applied to an object to decorate it after it is made.

                Applied Handle - (Glass, Silver, Ceramics) An applied handle is made separately and then applied to the piece.

                Applied Stem - (Glass) An applied stem is made separately and then applied to the bowl with melted glass. It is also called stuck shank.

                Appliqué - (Textiles) An appliqué is fabric or materials that are sewn onto a larger piece of fabric or material forming a pattern. Also called laid-on work.

                Approvals - (Stamps) Approvals are stamps that are mailed by a dealer to a stamp collector, when the stamp collector picks the one that they want the rest are returned to the dealer.


                Apricot Glass - (Glass) Apricot glass is a medium yellow color, it is darker than yellow and lighter than amber colored glass. It is most commonly found in the Princess pattern glass made by the Hocking Glass Company - ca. 1931-1935 and other makers of Depression glass.

                Apron - (Furniture) Horizontal cross member placed as a masking piece where a piece of furniture connects with its legs. On a chair it is under the front edge of the seat. On a table it is below the top boards. On case furniture it is the horizontal surface below the bottom drawer. It can be decorated by piercing, carving or inlaying different woods or materials.

                Aquamanile - (Metal) Aquamaniles were in use from the 1200s until the 1500s, they were ewers used pour water over the hands before and after each course of the meal, because people did not have silverware and ate with their hands. They were usually cast from bronze and had many shapes, usually animals.

                Aquatint - (Fine Art Prints) Aquatint is a special form of etching. It is created by etching sections rather than lines of a plate. First a porous ground of powdered or melted resin or asphalt or a similar ground is dusted onto the plate. Next the plate is heated from below and as a result the applied dusty coat adheres to the metal and is acid-resistant. The acid is spread over the plate and bites into the tiny holes left in the coating. Similar to mezzotint, aquatint is a technique to produce prints with the effect of printing rather whole areas than just lines. Typical for aquatint are the finely dotted areas.

                Arabesque - (Decoration, Glass) Ornament of capricious character: fanciful figures, monsters, fruit and flowers grouped or combined. Used in inlay and marquetry and sometimes in painted Georgian furniture.

                Arbalest - (Weapons) An arbalest is a European crossbow used during the Middle Ages.

                Arbor - (Clocks) Horological term for the shafts, axles or spindles of a clock.

                Arbrier - (Weapons) An arbrier is what the stock of a crossbow is called.

                Arcade - (Furniture) An arcade is a type of early decoration that looks like a row of arched columns or pilasters. Arcades were common on chests in the 17th century.

                Arcanist - (Ceramics) Person knowing or claiming to know a secret, especially the secret of porcelain-making.

                Arcanum - (Ceramics, Porcelain) Arcanum is the secret of hard paste porcelain.

                Architrave - (Furniture) An architrave is the lowest horizontal element on an entablature, which includes the frieze and cornice, and is usually not decorated. Used in Neo-classical case furniture the architrave rests directly on the capital of each column.

                Argand Lamp - (Lamp) The argand lamp was invented and patented in 1780 by Aimé Argand. It greatly improved on the home lighting oil lamp of the day. The Argand lamp had a tubular wick mounted between a pair of concentric cylindrical metal tubes so that air is channeled through the center of the wick, as well as outside of it. A cylindrical chimney, in early models of ground glass and sometimes tinted, surrounded the wick, steadying the flame and improving the flow of air. It used a supply of good liquid oil, mostly colza or other vegetable oils as the fuel. This was supplied by gravity feed from a reservoir mounted above the burner. Aside from the improvement in brightness, the more complete combustion of the wick and oil required less frequent trimming of the wick.

                Argent - (Heraldry) Argent is the term used for white or silver in heraldry, it signifies purity of innocence.

                Argentan Lace - (Textiles) Argentan lace or Point d'Argentan is a needle lace from the 18th century.  It was originally made in Argentan, France and has a pointed floral design that is bold and worked over with small buttonhole stitches.

                Argentella Lace - (Textiles) Argentella Lace is similar to Argentan lace. Argentella Lace is a needlepoint type lace from the 18th century.  It was originally made in Argentan, France and has a pointed floral design that is characterized by a large dotted mesh. .

                Argil - (Ceramics) Clay, especially potter's clay.

                Argyle - (Tableware) A vessel, often of silver, for keeping gravy warm, the actual pot fitting inside an outer container which held hot water. Late Georgian.

                Argy-Rousseau, Gabriel - (Glass, Jewelry) Gabriel Argy-Rousseau was a well known Art Deco artist in the early 1900s that made jewelry, vases, and lampshades. His work was signed G-Argy-Rousseau.

                Arita - (Ceramics) Japanese porcelain made at Arita a City located in western Saga in the province of Hizen where porcelain has been manufactured since the first half of the sixteenth century. There are today more than 150 kilns active in the Arita region; many have been in operation for generations. Porcelain clay was first discovered in this area by the Korean potter Ri Sanpei in 1616 after which a stoneware and porcelain production started under the control by the feudal lord of Nabeshima. There are two well-known types of decoration, Imari and Kakiemon. The most typical forms are the square, octagonal, and hexagonal section vases, which were to be copied by European factories. Arita porcelains began to reach Europe in the second half of the seventeenth century. The potters Sakaida Kakiemon and Imaizumi Imaemon, contributed greatly to the improvement of Japanese enameled decoration aka-e which Arita is well-known for. The earliest Arita porcelains, circa 1620-40, imitated contemporary Chinese wares of the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as well as Korean stoneware. Colorful over-glazed porcelain wares made in Arita (Arita-yaki) were exported from the Imari port from the 1640's and onward. Arita wares were exported from the Imari port in the Edo period and are called "Ko Imari" meaning Old Imari. In the second half of the 17th century, Arita became increasingly important, producing blue and white, Imari, and Kakiemon porcelain for export to Europe. These were transported to the port of Imari, shipped to the Dutch trading center at Nagasaki and onward to Europe. Wares included garnitures for large vases, dishes, bowls, plates, ewers, figures, and animals. The trade reached its zenith c.1700, but with increasing competition from the Chinese kilns at Jingdezhen and changing tastes in Europe, Japan's export trade declined and by c.1740 had ceased altogether. Other important wares made in the Arita region include the fine porcelains of Hirado and Nabeshima.

                Arita ware – (Japanese Ceramics) Generic term applied to porcelain produced in Arita a City located in western Saga in the province of Hizen where porcelain has been manufactured since the first half of the sixteenth century. Aritia ware consists of Imari, Kakiemon, Ko-Kutani, Hirado and Nabeshima-type wares.

                Arithmomètre - (Scientific Instruments, Office Machine) A arithmomèter is a calculating machine for addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. Invented in France by Thomas de Colmar in 1820, it was finally marketed from 1851 to 1915. The Arithmomètre acquired a great reputation for reliability and is considered the first desktop computer.

                Ark - 1. (Furniture) Medieval term for a chest with gabled or canted lid. 2. (Judaica) Located in the sanctuary. The ark is where the Torahs are kept when not being used.

                Arkwright - (Furniture) The original term use for a person that made furniture. Also see joiner or cabinet maker

                Armada Chest - (Furniture) Heavy iron coffer imported from Germany in the late seventeenth and throughout the eighteenth century. The Spanish Armada has nothing to do with this chest, which was the forerunner of the safe.

                Armet - (Armor) An armet is a type of helmet used in the 15th and 16th centuries. The distinctive piece of the armet is the hinged cheek pieces that overlap and fasten at the chin.

                Armillary Sphere - (Scientific Instruments) An armillary sphere is a model of the celestial sphere. The exterior parts of this machine are brass rings, which represent the principal pathways of the planets. The armillary sphere is equally fitted to show either the real motion of the earth, or sun and the apparent motion of the planets. Variations are known as spherical astrolabe, armilla, or armil.

                Arming Spurs - (Armor) Arming spurs are spurs that are worn over armor

                Arming Sword - (Weapon) An arming sword is a short sword, it is generally worn on the right side.

                Armlet - (Weapon) An armlet is an armband that can be plain for protection or have spikes or blades for hurting an opponent that is worn on the arm in battle.

                Armoire - (Furniture) A large cupboard usually enclosed by doors from top to base; parent of the wardrobe.

                Armor - Protective clothing intended to be worn in battle. Mail (small, linked metal rings) was favoured until the early fifteenth century, when the full suit of plate armour came in; this heavy suit began to grow lighter and lighter during the sixteenth century, and though the helmet and the breast plate were considered useful even until the early eighteenth century, most armour from the late sixteenth century onwards was made for ceremonial purposes. (The helmet, of course, is still in use.) The parts of a full suit of plate armour are as follows. Helm or Helmet comprising the skull (top and back), the visor (hinged, to protect eyes and upper face), the beaver (often hinged, to protect mouth and lower face). Gorget protects the neck and is often articulated. Pauldron covers the shoulder joint where body and arm-piece meet (also called Epauliere, whence epaulette derives). The upper arm is covered by the Rerebrace, the elbow by the Coudiere, the forearm by the Vambrace and the hand by the Gauntlet. The function of Breastplate and Backplate are obvious. Taces or Tassets are the metal strips that make a short skirt to protect the belly. The Guisse covers the thigh, the Genouillere covers the knee-cap, the Jamb covers the lower leg, and the flexible, long-toed shoe is a Solleret.

                Armorial - (Heraldry) Armorial is a term that means heraldry of heraldic arms.

                Armorial China - (Ceramics) Chinese porcelain, usually services, painted with coats-of-arms, crests, or initials, made to order for the European market. An increasing amount of such wares were imported into England in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Some English factories, notably Worcester, made armorial china in the second half of the eighteenth century.

                Armorial Fan - (Fashion Accessory, Heraldry) Armorial fans were popular from around 1775 until 1800, the fans skeleton was usually made form either tortoise shell or ivory and covered in silk. The silk was decorated with a coat of arms surrounded by a cartouche of flowers.

                Arms - 1. (Weapons) Arms is a common term for weapons. 2. (Heraldry) Arms is a family’s insignia, family crest or seal.

                Arm Stump - (Furniture) An arm stump is the vertical member that supports the arm of the chair and is connected to the seat of the chair.

                Arm Support - (Furniture) An arm support can be either an extension of the seat rail or a separate piece like an arm stump that joins the front end of he arm to the seat of a piece of furniture.

                Arquebus - (Weapons) The term is loosely used but should be confined to the earliest (fifteenth and sixteenth century) long-arm gun fitted with matchlock and shoulder-butt; of German origin. (See Also Harquebus)

                Arras - (Textiles) From the fourteenth to the sixteenth century Arras, in the Pas de Calais, France, was so famous for its tapestries that the name of the town was applied to a piece of tapestry regardless of where it was made.

                Arrier Bras - (Armor) Arrier Bras is armor that fits over the upper part of the arm.

                Arrow Back - (Furniture) A type of chair back where the splats flare out like an arrow at the top and bottom

                Art Deco – (Style, Design & Period) Fashionable style of the inter-war period (1918-39) which replaced Art Nouveau and co-existed with the Machine Age Style. It developed onto f the modernist, anti-historical elements in Art Nouveau but displayed less regard to refinement of craftsmanship and naturalistic ornament and much more to the demands of mechanized production and machine-like forms. Though its origins can be traced back to the first years of the century sit owes its name to the First major international exhibition of decorative arts to be held after the first World War – L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. In it’s day it was called “Art Moderne” or “Jazz Moderne.” The term Art Deco was not coined until the 1960s.

                Art Doll - (Dolls) Art Dolls is a term for a doll that is modeled after a figure in a painting or produced by an artist and may be a one-of-a-kind doll.

                Art Glass - (Glass) Art glass is a glass object that is decorative and not necessarily utilitarian.

                Art Glass Basket - (Glass) Art glass baskets came into vogue in the mid-1800s and are still a popular collectible today. They are baskets made from glass.

                Articulus - (Toys) An articulus is a late 19th century paper toy. The articulus was made of paper and wires attached to an axel that which spun when attached to an air vent. The toys were made to depict a variety of activities.  

                Artifact - (Term General) Artifacts are generally handmade objects that reflect the time period in which they were made.

                Art Nouveau - (Style, Design & Period) Literally means "New Art" in French. A style of art that began in the early 1890s and continued into the 1930s. It is characterized by sinuous, flowing lines and floral forms. The Art Nouveau Period primarily took place in the United States from 1890 until 1914 when the Art Deco Period started to take hold, but these periods overlapped for at least 15 years. Also Known As Jugendstil in German and Decor.

                Art Pottery - (Ceramics) Art pottery is pottery that is decorative and not necessarily utilitarian.

                Arts and Craft - (Fine Art, Architecture Design, Style) Informal movement in architecture and the decorative arts that championed the unity of the arts, the experience of the individual craftsmen and the qualities of materials and construction in the work itself. The Arts and Crafts Movement developed in the second half of the 19th century and lasted well into the 20th. The term covers a spectrum of design that was began by William Morris in England in the late 1800s in reaction to the mass-produced furniture and accessories of the Victorian Era, drawing its support from progressive artists, architects and designers, philanthropists, amateurs and middle-class women seeking work in the home. They set up small workshops apart from the world of industry, revived old techniques, and revered the humble household objects of pre-industrial times. True Craftsmanship was the movements main goal.  The movement was strongest in the industrializing countries of northern Europe and in the USA, and it can best be understood as an unfocused reaction against industrialization. American Designers and craftsmen that were proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement were Frank Lloyd Wright, Elbert Hubbard and the Stickley Brothers. The furniture of the Arts and Craft era had straight lines and simplified Gothic shapes and was influenced by Japanese architecture, and medieval structures.  The movement died out in the 1920s.

                Aryballos - (Glass) An aryballos is a flask used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to hold scented oil. Its form was small and round with two handles.

                Ash - (Wood) A tough, elastic wood, white in color, veined with streaks in the direction of its growth; used chiefly for seat furniture.

                Ashburton Goblet - (Glass) The Ashburton goblet is a Early American Pressed (EAPG) flint glass goblet made first by the New England and Sandwich glass companies circa 1850 - 1860  there were many styles of the Ashburton pattern.

                Ashkenazi - (Judaica) In reference to Jewish People of European or Eastern European descent.

                As Is - (Term) As is, is a auction term meaning that the item is understood to be damaged and cannot be returned for any reason.

                As It Is and Where It Is - (Auctions) As it is and where it is, is a auction term meaning that the item is understood to not have a guarantee and cannot be returned for any reason, and that it is the purchasers responsibility to remove and move the object after the auction.

                Asparagus Tongs - (Flatware) Asparagus tongs are a serving implement that has small spikes that make it easy to pick up the asparagus when serving. They first became popular in the late 1800s; they were made to match specific patterns of silver flatware.

                Aspergillum - (Religious Ware) Brush or rod for sprinkling holy water.

                Astbury, John and Thomas - (Ceramics) John Astbury (died 1743), Staffordshire potter whose name is associated with a red earthenware with relief decoration in white clay, also with an improved white ware containing flint in its body. But this improvement is also attributed to John's son, Thomas, who in 1725 set up a factory at Fenton.

                Astbury-type Ware - (Ceramics, Pottery, England) Thinly potted earthenware with a dense, dull-red body and a ginger colored lead glaze. Decorated by engine turning or with white clay sprig-molding. A finely-grained, homogenous earthenware body, with a high-fired red paste. Lead glaze producing a ginger to light-chocolate brown surface color. Vessels can be plain, decorated with white slip bands around the rim, or sprig-molded in white pipe clay with animals, flowers, and royal arms.

                Astbury-Whieldon – (Ceramics, Pottery England) Astbury-Whieldon is a pottery in Staffordshire England named for John Astbury and Thomas Whieldon during the 1700s, they made lead-glazed earthenware figurines with a metallic oxide glaze, which made the pieces look different than other Astbury-type ware. 

                Astragal - (Furniture) A small convex molding used between the capital and shaft of the classic order (with the exception of the Greek Doric), and in various positions in later architecture.

                Astragal Glazing Bar - (Furniture) A bar containing the panes of glass of a window or of a glazed cupboard or bookcase.

                Astragal Lamp - (Lighting) The astragal lamp was invented by Sir Benjamin Thompson - Count Rumford (1753-1814) who was a prolific inventor. The lamp is an oil lamp with central font but it has arms with burners on the end that can be lit and extended for reading.

                Astragal Molding - (Furniture) Astragal Molding is a narrow molding that has a half-circle profile. Frequently used around drawer front edges. It is the same form as Torus Molding only in a small size. Also Known As Roundel Molding or Bead Molding.

                Astrolabe - (Scientific Instrument) Early instrument for taking altitudes and for making astronomical measurements.

                Asymmetrical – (Form) An item or article that is Asymmetrical has no balance or symmetry. Lacking symmetry between two or more like parts, not symmetrical. Irregular in shape or outline. Commonly used in the Rococo Style (Circa 1720 – 1760)

                Atkin Brothers - (Silver, Silverplate, EPNS Maker) Marks used - H.A, HA Trademark - A hand grasping Prince of Wales Feathers. Henry Atkin set up as a spoon maker in 1841. He had three sons (Henry, Edward and Frank), who following his death took over the company. Atkin Brothers were a multi-product Sheffield company producing good quality items in silver and plate (the mark used on EPNS was HA EA FA), from 1853 to 1958. The firm had a retail outlet in London, where they also entered silver marks. The firm was acquired by C J Vander, in 1958. Flatware bearing their maker’s mark is generally Sheffield marked, well made and in the traditional patterns.

                At-the-Fire - (Glass) At-the-fire is a term used in glassblowing when a piece of blown glass is reheated for tooling or further manipulation.

                At-the-Flame - (Glass) At-the-flame is a process of making glass objects from rods by heating the glass and then bending and stretching it. Also called at-the-lamp.

                At-the-Lamp - (Glass) At-the-lamp is a process of making glass objects from rods by heating the glass and then bending and stretching it. Also called at-the-flame.

                A Trois Crayons - (Fine Art) A drawing done with pastel or chalk in three colors, red, black and white.

                Attributed To - (Fine Art) A term used for a piece of art that is not signed and thought to be by a certain artist, however without definite proof that it is by that artist.

                Aubusson - (Floor Coverings) Famous French centre for carpets and tapestries from the seventeenth century. The tapestries woven here were technically inferior to those of Beauvais and Gobelins; pastoral designs are notable, as are hunting scenes, religious subjects. Most of the Aubusson carpets one sees today are woven wool and without pile and are nineteenth-century products.

                Audubon, John James - (Artist, Fine Art, Lithograph, United States) (1785 – 1851) John James Audubon was born in Santo Domingo (now Haiti), the illegitimate son of a French sea captain and plantation owner and his French mistress. He was raised by his stepmother, Mrs. Audubon, in Nantes, France. He took an interest in birds, nature, drawing, and music at a young age. In 1803, at the age of 18, he was sent to America, to escape conscription into the Emperor Napoleon’s army. He lived on the family-owned estate at Mill Grove, near Philadelphia, where he hunted, studied, and drew birds.

                Auger Finial - (Furniture, Decorative) Is a decorative element that is twisted like and auger and is used to surmount stiles, bedposts and case furniture.

                Aunt Jemima - (Black Memorabilla, Advertising Collectible) It is a term used for a general description of a black woman wearing a long skirt, apron, scarf and a bandana on her head. However it is a collectible advertising figure made possible by the Aunt Jemima Manufacturing Company Aunt Jemima has a rich history spanning over 115 years.

                Aurene - (Glass) Aurene glass was developed by Fredrick Carder of the Steuben Glass Company in 1904. It is a beautiful iridescent glass and ws made in blue and gold and some pieces of red and green were made. It is generally marked with Steuben or aurene, however some pieces only had paper labels and it could be missing. Aurene is a very distinctive looking glassware.

                Austrian Ware - (Ceramics) Austrian ware is porcelain items made for export and imported from Bohemia between 1860 and 1915. Most of the pieces are transfer decorated however a few were hand painted. Some common marks would be, Austrian, O. & E. Co., Victoria, Schmidt and Company, & M.S. Austria.


                Authorized Coin - (Coins) Authorized coins are coins that have been issued by the director of a mint and meet the requirements of the Coinage Act. Which is an Act revising and amending the Laws relative to the Mints, Assay- offices, and Coinage of the United States.

                Autograph Quilt - (Textiles) Autograph Quilts first became popular in the mid-1800s. Indelible ink was available after 1840 and these quilts were inscribed with names and sometimes poetry. Many of the autograph quilts that we see today were signed by family and friends as a remembrance to people, to take with them when they moved out West. They are also called friendship quilts.

                Automata - (Toys) A self-operating toy, machine or mechanism. Some are driven by clockworks and some are driven by kinetics.

                Automatic Weapons - (Weapons) Date from the 1880's: the Spanish Orbea revolver of 1883, the Maxim machine-gun of 1884, the British Paulson revolver of 1886.

                Automobilia - (Collectibles) Automobilia is a term for anything collectible that is related to the automobile. This is a broad area of collecting encompassing everything from hood ornaments to key chains to license plates.

                Autry, Gene - (Collectibles) Gene Autry was a cowboy hero from the 1930s and 1940s, he was also a movie star and singer. He was the subject of books, and there are many collectible pieces of memorabilia about him and with his name attached to them from this period, such as photos, cap guns, watches, guitars, and paperdolls.

                Avant-bras - (Armor) Avant-bras is the part of armor that covers the forearm.

                Avant-garde - (Fine Art) Avant-garde is a style of fine art that describes art that is faddish, unconventional, or experimental.

                Avant La Lettre - (Fine Art Prints) Avant La Lettre is the writing in the margin of a print that the artist does after the print has been proofed, like artists signature, title, and number.
                Ave Maria Lace - (Textiles) Ave Maria Lace is lace made in Dieppe, France in the early 1800s. It was primarily used for pillow lace and was made in long strip

                Aventurine - (Glass, Lacquer) Translucent Venetian glass, its surface spangled with small pieces of metal, like gold, copper, chromic oxide or silver. Aventurine Glass is named after the mineral Aventurine. Also: a term applied to small fragments of gold wire sprinkled over the surface of lacquer.

                Avoirdupois - (
                Measurement Term) The System of measurement used in the United States. The Avoirdupois system was widely used in most English-speaking countries for the general weighing of goods, except for precious metals, gems and drugs. The U.S. still uses this system for most items of retail trade. This system remains in use somewhat in Britain despite the introduction of metric units there. Units of measure used are Grain, Ounce, Pound and Ton.


                Avisseau, Charles - (Ceramics, Pottery, Earthenware, France) Charles Avisseau (1796- 1861) was the son of a stone-cutter and at a young age was apprenticed in a faience factory at Saint Pierre-des-Corps. In 1825 he entered the ceramic factory of Baron de Bezeval at Beaumont-les-Autels where he saw a dish made by the Renaissance potter Bernard Palissy, which was to inspire his work. In 1843 Avisseau established an independent factory on the Rue Saint-Maurice in Tours, where individual ceramics inspired by and in the style of Palissy's 'rustic' wares were produced.

                Axminster Carpets - (Floor Coverings) Carpet weaving begun at Axminster by Thomas Whitley, a cloth weaver, in 1755. He made carpets knotted in the Turkish manner. In 1779 there was 'a considerable manufacture' at Axminster. The factory closed in 1835, the looms were taken to Wilton.

                Azagal - (Weapons) An azagal is a 15th century javelin or lance from Portugal or Spain

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