Acid Burmese

Most glass ware originates with a glossy appearance.  To produce a soft satin-like texture the glass is subjected to hydrofluoric fumes or other corrosive acid fumes. The resulting texture is often referred to as "satin Burmese".

Acid Stamp

As the name suggests, a trademark or signature is stamped with acid, producing an "etched trademark" in the glass. Thomas Webb and Sons used this technique frequently to "brand" their products.

Air notches

Air notches, as the name implies, allows air to enter the fairy lamp to allow the candle to burn.  There are many styles of air notches and the number of the notches varies generally from 2 to 5, however, there are examples with many more. Clarke never used air notches in his fairy lamps.  The presence of air notches is a clear indication that the fairy lamp was not commissioned by Clarke.


Alexandrite was one of the shaded glass wares which became popular at the end of the 19th century. Re-heating the glass changes the color from a straw yellow to rose red and then to blue.  There were several companies that produced Alexandrite including Thomas Webb & Sons and Stevens & Williams.  The term should not be confused with the gem stone Alexandrite.


Amberina is made of an amber glass containing a small amount of gold. Its distinctive coloring develops when it is reheated.  The glass varies in color from red to amber. Glass which is shaded in colors from blue to amber is known as Blue Amberina or Bluerina.

Applied Glass

Glass that is "applied" after the product is formed.  Applied feet, prunt, handles, decorations are typical applications of applied glass.


The definition of "Arabesque" does not seem to fit the description used in Fairy lamps. In the examples described as "Arabesque" the pattern is random pieces of what appears to be "broken glass" applied to the surface.

Art Deco

Art Deco was the  predominant decorative art style of the 1920s and 1930s. It is generally characterized by precise and boldly delineated geometric shapes and strong colors and used most notably in household objects and in architecture.  There are a few Bohemian candle lamps that could be described as "Art Deco", but none of Clarke's fairy lamps could be correctly described as such.

Art Glass

Art glass is an item that is generally made as an artwork for decoration but often also for utility such as used in fairy lamps.  The term is broadly applied and its meaning is "in the eye of the beholder".

Barbe, Jules Design

Jules Barbe was the chief designer at Thomas Webb and Sons. He was a decorator of glass and headed an enameling and gilding department.  Many of his designs are documented by number and description.  Decorated Burmese fairy lamps are the product of Jules Barbe's registered designs.  Jules Barbe is also well known for his cameo designs.  Cameo fairy lamps are rare and highly prized by collectors. (More on Webb/Barbe decorations)

Beaded Lamp Cup

Clarke lamp cups are available in several different styles.  The "beaded style" is characterized by tightly set small beads as opposed to a scalloped top rim.  In addition, the lower portion of the lamp cup is ribbed as opposed to diamond point.


Bisque porcelain or bisque is unglazed, white porcelain treated as a final product, with a matte appearance and texture to the touch. It has been widely used in European pottery, mainly for sculptural and decorative objects. There are a few candle lamps made of bisque including figurals and lithophanes.

Bohemian glass

Bohemia was bordered in the south Austria, in the west by Bavaria and in the north by Germany. In the northeast by Poland, and in the east by the Czech Republic. (Map)  Many candle lamps were produced by several Bohemian glass companies. (More Bohemian examples)

Bristol Glass

There are several ways to define Bristol glass.  As it relates to fairy lamps, it is a single layer glass often decorated in floral designs on articles of various solid colors.  Bristol glass is also named for the city of origin, Bristol, England.

Burglars Horror

The term "Burglars Horror" was used exclusively by Samuel Clarke to describe the benefits of his candles referred to as fairy lights.


Typically blown glass shading from a light lemon yellow to a salmon-pink. There are variations as to the depth of the colors, but the shading is always the same with the exception of white Burmese and un-refired Burmese which remains lemon yellow. It is never a cased glass. There are rare examples of pressed Burmese lamp cups that are embossed with the Clarke trademark. All Victorian era Burmese fairy lamps were produced by Thomas Webb and Sons.  There is no evidence that Mt. Washington produced any Burmese fairy lamps. Victorian-era Burmese is highly reactive to ultraviolet light (UV) as the glass formula includes Uranium Oxide. (More on Webb Burmese)


Cameo glass is a carved glass in relief over an underlying colored ground.  Cameo fairy lamps were produced by Thomas Webb and Sons and are attributed to the designs of Jules Barbe.

Camphor Glass

Camphor glass is clear glass that has been treated with hydrofluoric acid vapors to give it a frosted whitish appearance. This effect resembles gum camphor, hence the name. Camphor glass was used throughout the decorative arts to make bottles, glass objects, lamp shades and more.  There are only a few examples of candle lamps that can be described as camphor glass, none commissioned by Clarke.

Candle Cup 

Generally, a candle cup is a small glass container to hold a squatty candle.  Some fairy lamps may have an "integral candle cup" made of metal or porcelain. In the case of Pyramid and Wee size fairy lamps, the lamp cup can also be referred to as a candle cup due to their size.

Candle Lamp

Any lighting device that uses a candle as a light source.  Candle lamps are often incorrectly referred to as "fairy lamps"- the registered trade name assigned to Samuel Clarke.

Cane pattern

One of the most popular of the nineteenth century cut or pressed glass motifs is called "Cane". It became especially popular in both this country and England during the 1880s. The design may also possibly have been inspired by the woven pattern of cane that was used, and is still used for chair seats, in fact, an alternate name for cane is chair bottom.  The cane pattern is often found on glass candle lamp stands.


Cased glass is identified as a glass piece that has two or more layers of different colors. The inner or outer layers of this glass can also be clear.  There are many examples of cased fairy lamps.  Burmese ware, however, is never cased.


A Chimney-type candle lamp is characterized by a sometimes large shade resting on a saucer-like base.  Representative styles are illustrated on pages 78-84 in Fairy Lamps - Elegance in Candle Lighting by Ruf


Citron is the term used by Samuel Clarke to described a lime green color on his fairy lamps - primarily the nailsea-type.

Clear stamped

A wax-like substance is stamped on the glass prior to finishing with acid leaving behind a "clear" trademark on the glass.  Clarke, as well as other glass and candle lamp companies, used this technique to brand their wares.


Cleveland refers to a style of glass characterized by alternating bands of color, typically blue, pink or yellow alternating with bands of white.  The terms is sometimes expanded to "Cleveland Swirl" depending on the appearance of the bands of color. There are several theories related to the inspiration of the pattern name.  Some theories are related to President Grover Cleveland.


A broadly over used term to define a class of things individuals collect.  Often used to "pump-up" the perceived value to a buyer.


Loosely associated with the age of a fairy lamp.  Indicates that the lamp is not antique but relatively modern.


Tiny beads of colored or opal glass were applied over a design sketched upon a piece of plain colored glass and then placed in the glory-hole where the beads became fused to the background.  


The glass was immersed in water while it was molten hot, thereby cracking the glass. The glass was then reheated, sealing the cracks, and either mold or hand blown into the shape desired.


A registered trade name by Samuel Clarke.  Refers to a class of fairy lamps, generally clear, developed for formal table settings or increased lighting.  Cricklites were often adorned with colored silk shades of various styles. There is strong circumstantial evidence that the cut glass Cricklite standards were produce by F & C Osler, a predominant cut glass company in the UK.

Cut Velvet

Cut Velvet is a type of art glass that shows a raised pattern. It usually has an acid finish or a texture like velvet. It was made by many glass factories during the late Victorian years. Many of the cut velvet pieces have a diamond-quilted pattern.


In general terms, a fairy lamp that includes a surface decoration, most often colored enamel, but may also be mono color or gold gilt.

Design Book

Design books were used by many glass manufactures to begin the process of producing a product.  The sketches often had design numbers assigned to them with specific details on how it is to be produced.  Not all designs found in design books were actually produced.  Design books are often used for positive attribution as the source of a specific product, including fairy lamps.

Diamond Point

A diamond point design is characterized by pyramid-shaped protrusions covering the surface of the fairy lamp shade. Many reproductions of fairy lamps are the diamond point variety, including large numbers distributed by Faroy in the 1950s.

Diamond Quilted

A broad term used to describe the diamond shaped pattern on the glass.  The pattern can be molded, mold blown, cased, or single layer of glass.


The term "dome" is often interchangeable with "shade".  In both cases the term applies typically to a glass covering over a candle.  The shape is typically "dome-shaped" but there are many exceptions.


Clarke's patented design (US Patent 343,567) for his fairy lights (candles). The patent includes provisions for any of his candles having two or more wicks.


Diamond Quilted Mother of Pearl.  Occasionally referred to as Mother of Pearl or simply Diamond Quilted.  It is typically iridescent - similar to that of the lining found in pearl oyster shells.


DRGM:  Deutsch Reichs Gebrachmuster. Sometimes D.R.G.M. (Registered Germany) is not a German patent. It was instead a way for inventors to register a product’s design or function in all states within Germany.


To carve, mold, or stamp a design on a surface so that it stands out in relief.  Clarke trademarks are embossed into his lamp cups and sometimes on pressed glass shades.


Emeralite, is named for their bluish-green glass shades and famously referred to as "banker’s lamps". In the case of fairy lamps, it refers to the color of the shade.
EnameledEnameled glass, glass which has been decorated with glass-like enamel.  The decorated ware is ofter reheated to fuse the enamel to the glass making it resistance to wear.

End of Day

There are numerous theories related to the term "end of day" glass.  However, over the years the name "end of day" glass has been applied to any glass item which has colors "marveled in", that is specks of colored glass that have been laid out on a table or "marver" and rolled into the hot glass, then melted in. The names "spatter glass" or "spangle glass" or "Nailsea glass" are applied to glass that has specks of color marvered into the hot glass and these kinds of glass are often called "end-of-day glass".  Clarke referred to this type of glass as "Zebra" in his advertisements.


An ornamental centerpiece for a dining table, typically used for holding fruit or flowers.  In addition to posey holders and bowls, the epergne will also have one or more fairy lamps.

Fairy Lamp

"Fairy Lamp" is the registered trade name assigned to Samuel Clarke, The term is often incorrectly assigned to any candle lamp and often to miniature oil lamps.  In most basic terms, a fairy lamp, as described by Clarke in his patent: "My invention relates to lamps of that kind which a short candle is contained within a glass cup covered with a dome-shaped shade, also of glass, as commonly known as "fairy lamps".

In Clarke's own words: 

US Patent 17,355, May 24, 1887

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I, SAMUEL CLARKE. of Childs Hill Works, in the county of Middlesex, England, have invented a Design for Glass Candle-Lamps, of which the following is a specification, reference being had to the accompanying drawing, representing a view in perspective of my design.

I provide a glass candle-lamp of symmetrical and pleasing natural form by giving to it approximately the outline of a conventionalized acorn in its cup.

The cup has an annular projection around it and supports a dome. The dome is reduced in its diameter at its upper portion gradually to its top opening, so that the appearanceof the whole is symmetrical and much like an acorn in general contour.

The ornamental appearance of the cup is scribed my name.

Fairy Lamp Base

A fairy lamp base often matched the fairy lamp in color and glass type.  However, the base may also be made in complimentary color, design, and material, such as pottery bases supplied by Taylor & Tunnicliff, Royal Daulton, Webb, etc.  While some fairy lamps were offered with matching bases, many bases were offered separately to compliment the fairy lamp of choice.

Fairy Light

"Fairy Light" is the registered trade name of Clarke's candles.  Today, the term is used by Fenton to market their candle lamps.  In modern times, "Fairy Light" is often used interchangeably with "Fairy Lamp".  In Victorian times, Fairy Light" referred only to Clarke's candles, hence the name "Clarke's Pyramid and Fairy Lamp and Light Works"


There are three sizes of Clarke's fairy lamps; "Fairy", "Pyramid", and "Wee".  The largest "fairy" will have a shade diameter of approximately 3.25" (8.25cm).  The mid size "Pyramid" will have a shade diameter of approximately 2.25" (5.7cm) and the smallest size "Wee" will have a shade diameter of approximately 1.75" (4.45cm).  The Clarke lamp cups associated with these sizes are often embossed with the appropriate size - fairy, pyramid, or wee.  

Finger ring

A small handle designed to accommodate a single finger often with a "thumb rest".  It is found on many glass and metal articles, including candle and fairy lamps.  Clarke's first patented design included a "finger ring" attached to a brass tray.  The patent reads: "Improvements in apparatus for burning "night lights and mortars." A tray with raised sides and a handle is made of such size as to conveniently admit into the middle of it a small dish containing water."


A very thin layer of clear or colored glass applied to a base layer of colored or clear glass.  In addition, some flashed glass is more "paint like" and wears off easily.

Floral Type

The term "floral" is applied to a class of fairy lamps that include an array of applied "petals" to make the appearance of a flower in bloom.  Clarke commissioned several designs in fairy, pyramid, and wee sizes and also a much larger size that is unnamed. They may be glass of different colors or porcelain.


Glass that is ornamented with embossed figures or designs impressed while the glass is still in a plastic state.  

Food Warmer

Clarke's food warmer consists of a metal stand, hand lamp, water cup, pottery food cup (pannikin).  The food warmer can also be configured as a vaporizer.  It was one of Clarke's earliest patented products, c. 1850s.

Four-n-One Diamond

Each embossed "diamond" is subdivided in to four diamonds.

Glossy Burmese

Glossy, aka "shiny Burmese", is the original state of all Burmese ware.  Most Burmese is "satinized" by exposing to acid fumes.
GroundThe base color of glass.  

Hand Lamp

One of Clarke's first patents, c.1857, was a the hand lamp which consisted of a handled brass tray and a clear dome.  This lamps was also associated with his food warmers.

Heat Crack

Many antique fairy lamps are cracked due to the use of modern candles.  Sometimes the crack runs top to bottom of the dome and sometimes the crack forms a turn referred to as a "J-crack".  Fairy lamps of complex designs, such as the Crown and floral types, are often cracked due to there complex shape of applied glass that fails to distribute heat evenly.

Heat Reactive

Glass that changes color when heated a second time.  Burmese ware is a good example of heat reactive glass.


The herringbone pattern is an arrangement of rectangles in an opposing diagonal pattern.

A design cut into glass.  Most often the design is cut to exposed a lower layer of glass of a different color.  This is an opposite process to cameo.


Many antique fairy lamps are cracked due to the use of modern candles.  Sometimes the crack runs top to bottom of the dome and sometimes the crack forms a turn referred to as a "J-crack".  Fairy lamps of complex designs, such as the Crown and floral types, are often cracked due to there complex shape of applied glass that fails to distribute heat evenly.


A japanned finish is one in which the metal is coated in a shiny black or very dark gray coating, and often this finish has a lustrous black lacquer over the top of it. Japanning can also come in red, green, blue and other colors, but the main color used is black.

Jeweled Lamp

Typically a brass lamp adorned with faceted glass colored "jewels".  However, many glass candle lamps are also adorned with colored faceted "jewels" framed in ornate brass filigree frames. (More jeweled lamps)


KPM, an acronym of Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin, translates to "Royal Porcelain Factory in Berlin." The stamp is often found on Lithophane candle lamps.

Lamp Cup 

A cup, typically glass or pottery, that supports a fairy lamp dome.  In Clarke's patented design, the cup has a corrugated shoulder to allow air in so the candle will burn.  Other designs with a smooth shoulder are used with domes that are air notches cut into the rim of the dome - circumventing Clarke's patented design.  In the case of a Pyramid or Wee size fairy lamp, the lamp cup also serves as a candle cup.


A porcelain, translucent panel usually in the unglazed state. The design is impressed by variations in the thickness of the paste so that a shaded effect is the result when the plaque is held to the light. (More on Lithophanes)

Lithophane, Colored

A porcelain, translucent panel usually in the unglazed state that is hand colored. The design is impressed by variations in the thickness of the paste so that a shaded effect is the result when the plaque is held to the light. (More on Lithophanes)

Mary Gregory Type

Mary Gregory is the name used for a type of glass that is easily identified where figures were painted on clear or colored glass as the decoration. Typically, the decoration illustrates children, but not always.


A design developed by Frederick Carder and registered by Stevens & Williams of England in 1884. Its distinctive feature is the presence of applied and tooled sprays of blossoms influenced by Japanese designs. It is rare to find Matsu-no-kee glass that is undamaged.

Menu Holder

Several of Clarke's commissioned fairy lamps - especially those produced by Thomas Webb & Sons - were designed for hold a small menu.  The the menu was held in place by an applied tooled "leaf", typically un-refired Burmese, or brass fitting.


Ornamental glass in which a number of glass rods of different sizes and colors are fused together and cut into sections that form various patterns,  It is often difficult to distinguish antique Millefiori glass articles from contemporary Italian articles.

Mold Blown

Glass blown into a pre-designed mold to achieve a specific shape.

Mother of Pearl

Although Mother of Pearl (often abbreviated MOP) is the name most often used in modern times in this country for art-glass with a pattern formed by trapped air. Other terms that have been used are Air Trap, Pearl Ware and Pearl Satin Ware.  To create MOP glass, molten glass is blown into a mold with the pattern defined by projections. This glass is then cased - thus trapping the air between the layers of glass.  The term "Mother of Pearl" is influenced by the iridescence found on the interior of pearl oysters.


Random multi-colored glass also referred to as "End-of Day" or spatter glass.  Clarke referred to this type of glass as "Zebra".


Glass in which there are opaque loopings within the glass. Samuel Clarke referred to this glass type as Verre Moiré in his catalogs and advertisements. Commonly found in white, red, citron, and blue, most with opaque white loopings. This is a Victorian Art-glass and should not be confused with the original ‘Nailsea glass" which was a late 18th century product of the Bristol district of England. (See Twisted Nailsea)


Opalescent glass is a general term for clear or colored glass with a milky white opaque or translucent effect often to the rim such as Davidson's Pearline.
OpalineGlass that has an iridescent color similar to that of an opal.


Ormolu is a thin coating used to imitate another metal other than the base metal.  Simulated gold or brass are typical applications of ormolu.
OvershotGlass which has been rolled in glass crystals while in a plastic consistency. The body of the glass may be of any color. The texture of the glass is often sharp to the touch.

Pairpoint Puffy

A glass shade design promoted by Pairpoint as "Blow Out" typically of flowers and painted on the interior of the shade.  The term "puffy" is commonly used to describe the bulbous appearance of the shade design.


Typically a ceramic or pottery cup to hold food or liquid in Clarke's patented food warmers.  The pannikin, in British usage is a small pan or cup.

Paraffin Candle

A paraffin candle is based upon a petroleum formula as opposed to a tallow candle formulated from animal fat.

Patent Number

A number assigned to a patentee as record of a patented design, process, or product.  The first Patent Act of the U.S. Congress was passed on April 10, 1790, titled "An Act to promote the progress of useful Arts." A patent number should not be confused with am Registered Design (Rd) number used in the UK.

Peach Blow

Blown glass shading from white to deep-pink, or dull-yellow to very deep red with a purplish cast. Peachblow was made both cased and homogeneous (white lining or of one color throughout).


A type of glass and trade name marketed by Davidson characterized by edges of various colors, typically but not limited to white, yellow, or blue.


Clarke's lamp cups were often fitted with a "peg" to allow placing the fairy lamp in a candle stick.  The pegs vary in size with the smallest being fitted with a wooden collar to fit in candle sticks of larger sizes.  The pegs were molded with the cup, rarely applied.


Peloton glass is a European glass with small threads of colored glass rolled onto the surface of clear or colored glass. It is sometimes called spaghetti glass. Peloton glass was made in Bohemia in the late nineteenth century.


Clarke characterized his single fairy lamps hanging from a chain or cord as pendants.  As opposed to multiple fairy lamps suspended from a ceiling known as chandeliers.

Pie Crust

A tight ruffled edge similar to that of a pie crust adorned with a fork to produce a ruffled edge.

Polished Pontil

A polished pontil scar is produced by grinding and polishing the scar until it is no longer evident.  Most elegant of Victorian blown glass is often characterize by a polished pontil scar.

Pompeian - (Pompeian Swirl)

Pompeian glass ware is generally attributed to Stevens and Williams, Stourbridge, England.  It is characterized by tight air trapped ribs.  The products are often shaded glass but not always.  The term "Pompeian Swirl" is sometimes used. Pompeian Swirl glass was first developed by Frederick Carder  in 1886, while working for Stevens and Williams. Carder decided to call this type of glass "Verre de Soie." Stevens and Williams registered Verre de Soie glass in 1886.

Pontil mark

A pontil mark, often referred to as a pontil scar, is a rough area of glass where the glass ware is broken away from the punty rod.  If the rough scar is polished, it is referred to a a polished pontil or polished pontil scar.


Porcelain is a white clay body used in making functional and non-functional pieces. Basically, the chemical composition of porcelain is a combination of clay, kaolin (a primary clay known for its translucency), feldspar, silica and quartz, but other materials may be added.  Porcelain and ceramic bisque are different products.

Posey Holder

Many of Clarke's designs, especially epergnes and sociables, included "posey holders".  As the name implies, they were designed to hold floral arrangements.  They are sometimes referred to as bud vases.  They can be clear or colored glass, including many examples in Burmese ware.


A glass form shaped by placing a gather of glass in a metal mold which presses the gather into a desired shape.


From the French "provenir", 'to come from/forth' is the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object, in this context, a fairy lamp.


A prunt is a small blob of glass fused to another piece of glass. Prunts are applied primarily as decoration, but are most often applied to conceal a pontil scar.  Prunts may be impressed into decorative shapes, such as raspberries or blackberries.  They may also be in simple shapes resembling a wafer or knob.


A punty is the long iron rod a glassmaker uses to gather molten glass with.


There are three sizes of Clarke's fairy lamps; "Fairy", "Pyramid", and "Wee".  The largest, "fairy", will have a shade diameter of approximately 3.25" (8.25cm).  The mid size, "Pyramid", will have a shade diameter of approximately 2.25" (5.7cm) and the smallest size, "Wee", will have a shade diameter of approximately 1.75" (4.45cm).  The lamp cups associated with these sizes are often embossed with the appropriate size - fairy, pyramid, or wee.  It is not uncommon for some to confuse the term "Pyramid" with "Wee" as the Wee size is rarely seen.


A term used to describe a fairy lamp base with four inward folded edges.  These folded edges support a lamp cup.  The open areas of the quadrafold base are often used for floral arrangements.

Queen's Burmese

Thomas Webb received a license to produce Mt. Washington's Burmese in Britain.  The story persist that Queen Victoria was so inthralled by the ware that Webb called his Burmese "Queen's Burmese" in her honor.


Rainbow glass, aka Rainbow Satin glass, includes primary colors similar to what is observed in a rainbow.  The rainbow colors can be found in variety of shapes and glass types.  Rainbow DQMOP or Nailsea-type fairy lamps are exceedingly rare.

Rd Number

Registered Design Number.  Since 1884, the British Patent Office issued a registration number when a design or mark was registered. As this is a British marking it also identifies in a glance that the piece has a British origin.


A reproduction is by design to replicate an earlier design.  A new are modern design that replicates the utility - such as a candle lamp - that does not attempt to copy an an antique design should not be considered a "reproduction".  

Reverse Drape

As implied, reverse drape refers a design that has loopings or drapes that curved upward as opposed to the drapes falling downward.

Reverse Swirl

The more common swirl patterns swirl from left to right.  Reverse swirl is characterized by the patterns flowing from right to left.


A ribbed pattern is parallel embossed ribs molded or blown mold into the glass design.  They may be straight, swirled, or reversed swirled.

Richly Cut

"Richly Cut" is a trade name for Clarke's cut glass fairy lamps.  There is strong circumstantial evidence that F&C Osler - a well known British glass company specializing in high end cut glass, was commissioned by Clarke to make a broad range of cut glass fairy lamps, including crystal Cricklite standards.


A raised band or pattern of bands, usually made by crimping applied trails.  There are many examples of fairy lamps that are decorated with rigeree.


Rubina, aka Rubina Verde, is a Victorian era glassware that was shaded from red to green. It was first made by Hobbs, Brockunier and Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, about 1890.

Satin Burmese

Most Burmese is "satinized" by exposing to acid fumes.  Glossy, aka shiny Burmese, is the original state of all Burmese ware. Most examples of Thomas Webb Burmese fairy lamps are satin Burmese, or satin Burmese ware, or Satin Queen's Burmese ware.

Satin glass

Glass that has been treated to produce a texture very smooth to the touch. The satin finish is produced by treating the glass with hydrofluoric acid or hydrofluoric acid fumes.


The shoulder of a lamp cup is where the dome rests.  The shoulder of Clarke's lamp cups are corrugated to allow air in.  Other candle lamp makers may include dimples on the shoulder to serve the same purpose. If the shoulder is smooth, the dome is likely to have air notches cut into the rim of the dome.


Silveria was developed at Stevens and Williams by John Northwood II and required the casing of silver foil between two layers of colored transparent glass. The glass is often covered with threads of colored glass.


In the context of fairy lamps, a sociable is one or more fairy lamps combined with a number of posey holders.  Occasionally, these "sociables" served as menu holders.


As the name implies, the one piece shade resembles a sombrero.  The shade rests on a crimped base with a integral candle cup.  


Glass which has flecks of mica imbedded into the body.  The flecks can be of one consistent color or multicolored.  

Spatter Glass

Spatter glass is a multicolored glass made from many small pieces of different colored glass. It is sometimes referred to as End-of-Day glass.

Squatty Candle

A short candle used in fairy lamps made of tallow or paraffin.  Clarke referred to his candles as "Fairy Lights".  The use of modern squatty candles or "tea lights" will often crack antique fairy lamps.

Straight-sided Lamp Cup - pyramid size

As the name implies the sides of this lamp cup are straight.  Some pyramid size bases will require this style of cup to fit properly.  This style of cup is often difficult to find and is prized by fairy lamp collectors.

Tallow Candle

A tallow candle is made from animal fat.  Clarke'e earliest candles (fairy lights) were tallow.

Tapestry Ware

Patented by Henry Daulton in 1885, describes the process of using fabric to impress texture and designs into his clay product, including several designs of bases commissioned by Clarke for his fairy lamps.


Typically, machine applied threads of glass applied to glass ware.  There are several designs of fairy lamps that included threaded glass.


Tooled is the process of developing specific designs in molten glass. It could be simply pressed in a specific design of applied as ornamentation.  "Tooled" implies hand made.

Tortoise shell

Similar to spatter or end-of day glass but is usually varying shade of brown as opposed to bright color of glass.  It has nothing to do with "tortoise shells".
Tri-foldCharacterized as three inward folds of glass as opposed to "quadrafold" which has four folds.

Twisted Nailsea

A specific design of Nailsea looped design that give the impression that the loopings are "twisted".  Clarke used this term in the promotion of his Verre Moiré fairy lamps.

UV Reactive

UV reactive glass will change color when exposed to ultra violet light.  The color change will be dependent on the formula of the glass.  Burmese ware will change to a bright lime green.  Other glass types may turn to bright orange or blue depending on the content of the formula.


There are, at a minimum, two definitions of Vaseline glass. The European definition describes vaseline glass as any kind of creamy yellow glass shading to white, a coloring which resembles vaseline ointment as it used to be. The USA definition is any kind of glass which glows under ultra-violet light because it contains uranium. This glass can be green or yellow.  The UV reaction of glass is often used incorrectly as an indicator of antique glass ware.

Venetian Thread

While some associate Venetian Thread with Nailsea-type fairy lamps, it is more correctly associated with tightly machine applied threaded glass.
Verre MoiréVerre Moiré is the trade name for Clarke's Nailsea type fairy lamps including the variation known as Twisted Verre Moiré.  loosely translated from French to watered glass

Victorian Era

Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901.


The term "vintage" is often substitute for "old" and has little meaning unless associated with a period of time, i.e. "vintage 1920s".  While many antique fairy lamps are Victorian, a few fairy lamps and stands were produced in the first decade of the 20th century.


There are three sizes of Clarke's fairy lamps; "Fairy", "Pyramid", and "Wee".  The largest "fairy" will have a shade diameter of approximately 3.25" (8.25cm).  The mid size "Pyramid" will have a shade diameter of approximately 2.25" (5.7cm) and the smallest size "Wee" will have a shade diameter of approximately 1.75" (4.45cm).  The lamp cups associated with these sizes are often embossed with the appropriate size - fairy, pyramid, or wee.  It is not uncommon for some to confuse the term "Pyramid" with "Wee" as the Wee size is rarely seen.

White Burmese

White Burmese is a class of Burmese ware that is white as opposed to a creamy yellow.  While some refer to it a "un-refired Burmese", but that seems incorrect as "un-refired" Burmese ware is not white, it is a creamy yellow.


As associated with Victorian Era Fairy Lamps

Many of these terms are used to describe features found in many forms of glass, including fairy lamps.  Some terms can be defined precisely. Others terms are defined by their most common use when associated with fairy lamps.  The intent of this list is to provide the beginning collector a brief explanation of commonly used terms and to help "standardize" the use of term among fairy lamp collectors.

This list is "work in Progress". New terms will be added as they arise and definitions may be updated periodically as new information become available.

Comments and corrections are always welcomed.  You may used the form at the bottom of this page to submit your suggestions or corrections.

A more comprehensive list of terms has been added to the Resources section.  The publication is "Glass - a pocket guide to terms used in glass and glass making" published by the Corning Museum of Glass

Click on blue text for illustration of the definition.

Comments and corrections are always welcomed.
You may used the form below to submit your suggestions or corrections.