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Burmese Glass

Burmese glass - shown below is our current range of Burmese glass vases, bowls and other decorative antique Victorian collectable glassware.


Burmese glass has a soft yellow lower section, which blends into a salmon pink. The effect was created by Frederick Shirley, at the famous American glass company Mount Washington. Using their opal glass mixture, they added oxide of uranium, and reduced gold. This resulted in a yellow opaque glass that turned pink after heating, and back to yellow after further heating. The uranium content causes the glass to glow bright green under UV light. Burmese glass proved to be very popular and sold well during Victorian times. In 1885, Mount Washington obtained the patent for the creation of Burmese glass in USA, and in 1986, gave permission for Thomas Webb & Sons to create Burmese glass in England. Webb's range was marketed as "Queen's Burmese Ware". Burmese glass by Mount Washington was not marked or signed, but instead had paper labels, which are understandably often missing these days. Some Webb pieces were marked with an impressed or acid etched stamp that read "Thos Webb & Sons, Queen's Burmese Ware, Patented", but again many were instead marked with paper labels which were later lost. Sometimes the stamped mark also included a design registration number underneath. Three different registration numbers are known for Webb's Burmese, there are 67648 (registered in Feb 1887), 80167 (5th Sept 1887) and 86246 (5th Nov 1887). Most Burmese glass has a matt, satin finish, created using acid, but there are some that were untreated in this way and retain their original, glossy finish. Both makers of Burmese often decorated their pieces with artistic designs such as flowers and animals. Most of the examples shown below are by Thomas Webb, as they were found in the UK, where I rarely come across American glass. Some Czech/Bohemian factories such as Franz Welz and possibly others are now known to have produced Burmese glass, for British and American markets, and a more recent version was also made after 1970 by Fenton of USA. These Fenton pieces were often marked or signed, and can often be found with their original labels still intact. Later incarnations of the Mount Washington factory also made their own versions of Burmese glass. These were "Gundersen Burmese", by the Gundersen Glass Works in 1956, and "Bryden Pairpoint Burmese" by Pairpoint Glass in 1970. Both of these later styles of Burmese were finished with ground pontil marks like earlier pieces, but had a much more abrupt change in colour from pink to yellow. The 1970's range was also mostly glossy rather than satin finished. Lastly, a range of Burmese glass was made in Italy during the 1970's and imported to USA. These pieces were more crudely made, with rough, snapped off pontil marks, or roughly ground pontils without the smooth, concave polished finish, and the satin effect was achieved with sand-blasting instead of acid, which resulted in a rougher feel to the glass.

Sources: Mt Washington Art Glass plus Webb Burmese by Betty B. Sisk.