Glossary of Glass Terms     

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Glossary of Terms/Definitions
Relating to Imperial's Glass Tableware




1 - Basic Stemware Parts:


Bowl - The upper part of a stemmed item that actually contains the liquid.

Stem - This term is used one of 2 ways:
1] the middle portion of a piece of stemware, i.e. the column that supports the bowl;
2] the entire item of stemware.

Foot - The base of the stemware upon which the stem rests.

Optic -The decorative effect that's done while making the bowl, using an 'optic block'. Many different optics may be done. Examples: diamond, wide, narrow and others.

2 - Basic Stemware Shapes:

Bell - A round-bottomed bowl with a flared top.

Cupped - A round bowl smaller at the top than at the widest point. Upper edge is slightly curved inward.

Flared - Usually a tapered bowl with the upper edge flared outward.

Straight - A bowl shaped with the sides parallel.

Tapered - A cone-shaped or 'V"-shaped bowl.

3 - Specific Types of Stemware and Use:

Goblet - The standard shape for which to compare other stems in the line. This stem was originallyused to serve water at a formal table setting. Commonly holds 9-10 oz.

Claret - The same shape as the goblet, but may hold only about half as many ounces as the goblet. Made for claret or other wines, as the name implies.

Wine - The same shape as the goblet, but may hold only about one third as many ounces as the goblet. Used for various wines.

Cordial - The same shape as the goblet, but only holds about 1 to 1/1/2 ounces. Used to serve cordials.

Saucer Champagne - Has a broader and shallower bowl than the goblet. Used for serving champagne. It may also be used as a high-stemmed sherbet/dessert stem and listed as a Tall Sherbet/Champagne or a Tall Dessert/Champagne.

Cocktail - Has as a short, broad bowl and may resemble the saucer champagne, only smaller. It is used for mixed cocktails.

Parfait - Has a slender, elongated bowl just wide enough for a dessert spoon to fit down inside. Used to serve layered ice cream & sauce, pudding, jelled desserts, etc.

Oyster Cocktail - Has a broad bowl and little or no stem.

Seafood Cocktail- May be the same as the oyster cocktail

Seafood Icer- This is generally a 2-piece item consisting of a broad bowl, little or no stem, and coupled with a separate glass insert bowl which rests on the top rim the cocktail glass.

Sherbet - similar in shape to the saucer champagne but has a low stem. It may be listed as a 'Low Sherbet'.

Tumbler - Imperial listed this drink ware item as having one of the following:

1) a short stem and foot;
2) one with an applied foot only and no stem in between; or
3) as having a flat base. Sometimes an Imperial pattern line may consist of a full compliment of tumbler sizes. Example: the Candlewick 400/19 series includes 8 tumbler items: 2 oz. wine, 3 oz. wine, 3 1/2 oz. cocktail, 5 oz. juice, 7 oz. Old Fashioned, 10 oz. water, 12 oz. iced tea and 14 oz. iced tea. These qualify as tumblers with an applied foot and no stem.

Whiskey - A small tumbler used for serving liquor and holds 1 - 1 1/2 ounces. Today we commonly call this a shot glass.




Belled Bowl - A bowl which has had its rim hand-tooled (hand-finished) outward to form a wide outer edge.

Bon Bon - Imperial most often used this term to refer to a small candy dish with one handle. It was frequently round, but might be some other hand-finished shape also. Most often it's larger than a handled 'Olive'.

Celery- Imperial used this term to refer to a low, oblong (oval) bowl which may or may not have had handles and generally measured at least 8 1/2 ins. or more in length.

Cheese & Cracker Set - A combination of a flat plate (often with side handles) and a small footed compote (either flat surface or bowl) to hold cheese.

Comport(e) and Compote - A bowl, usually footed, used for serving mixed fruits. Foot may be either tall or short, depending on the item. The original term used was 'comport' or 'comporte' and was the vessel used hold the fruit mix which was called the 'compote'!!Today, we commonly use the term 'compote' to describe either. Compotes may also be used to refer to pedestal-footed candy, jelly or cheese items.

Condiment Set - A pairing together of cruets, covered marmalades, covered mustards, salt + pepper shakers and/or other items. A tray is included to set them on.

Console Set - Most often used to indicate a set consisting of a large center bowl of some sort and one or two pairs of coordinating candleholders.

Cover - A lid.

Epergne- A footed bowl (or compote) with candlecup to hold a small floral vase in the center. The vase may be called a 'lily' or 'flower' vase insert. A 'pegged lily vase', 'pegged vase' or simply 'peg vase' indicates the base is shaped with an indented form or 'peg' so the vase will fit more securely in the candlecup.

Fan Vase - A vase hand-tooled or hand-finished into a flat fan-shaped form. Often has side handles of some type.

Finial - A decorative handle or knob usually found on a lid/cover.

Flip Vase - A tall vase with gently sloping sides. Usually a very plain design. Top edge may or may not have be crimped.

Float Bowl- A shallow, somewhat flat bowl with curved (cupped) upper sides/rim. A bowl used for floating flower blossoms.

Fruit Tray - A center-handled sandwich tray with the outer edge cupped up.

Jug - A pitcher with straight sides and flat bottom. It may or may not have an ice-lip, meaning a curved-in pouring lip edge to keep ice cubes from falling into the glass.

Luncheon Plate - A plate smaller than a dinner plate, usually 8-9 ins. in diameter. An 8" salad plate may also be found listed as a luncheon plate.

Luncheon Set - Sold as a 'Service for 4' set, consisting of 4 - 8" salad/luncheon plates, 4 tea cups, 4 saucers, a large sandwich plate [with or without handle(s)] and a sugar and creamer.

Muddler - a moulded short 'rod' shaped item. It's a stirrer which is used in the making of individual mixed cocktails, especially an 'Old Fashioned'. The base end of the muddler (ground and acid-etched end) is used to crushed sugar cubes soaked with Angostura Bitters (or similar) and then to blend remaining ingredients.

Muffin Tray - A plate, with the opposing side edges turned up. If the plate has handles, the non-handled side edges are turned up.

Nappy - A very shallow bowl or sauce dish, may range from small to large.

Oil (Bottle) - Today this is commonly referred to as a 'cruet'. It is used for oil or vinegar. When a condiment set consists of 2 different sizes of cruets, the smaller size was designated as the 'oil' and the larger size was designated as the 'vinegar'.

Olive - Imperial's term for a small round bowl with two handles, used for serving olives.

Pickle - Imperial used this to describe a low oblong or oval bowl with two handles and measures less than 8 ins. in length.

Pokal - A term used only by Imperial for any large covered urn or candy jar.

Rolled, Cupped or Turned Edge - A rim treatment in which hand-tooling or hand-finishing causes the edge to be turned up or under. May be slight curve (rolled edge) or much more obvious in nature (cupped edge).

Rose Bowl - A vase that is most often a round ball or globe in shape with a small opening in the top. It was a vase originally used to hold dried rose petals. Imperial did make some with slightly different design shape and also called them 'rose bowls'.

Salver - A footed (pedestal) cake plate and may be low or high. Today it's commonly referred to as a 'cake stand'.

Sandwich/Pastry Plate or Tray - A large, flat plate, often with 2 side handles or center- handled.

Spider - The term used by Imperial for the iron skillet-shaped pieces (primarily in the #160 Cape Cod line). A spider is an old-fashioned term for a skillet or frying pan.

Spooner- A jar used to hold spoons. This item was usually the same as the handled sugar bowl but without the lid. It may also be a jar with loops around the top edge, through which spoons could be hung.

Swung (or Swing) Vase - a vase made into final height by being swung (literally) while still attached to the puntie rod. Heights may vary considerably.

Salad Plate - A medium-sized plate, usually 7-8 ins. in diameter.

Torte Plate - Any large, flat serving plate generally measuring more than 12" in diameter. The plate may or may not have a slightly turned-up edge.

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