18th century glass rummers and early 19th century examples are highly collectable and the most functional of all antique stemwares. Those engraved with classical scenes from the trials of Hercules to passages from the Aneid or Greek and Roman mythology are amongst the finest glass engravings ever made and can still be found. Rummers commemorating the opening of the Sunderland Bridge in 1796 are quite common, those mourning the death of Admiral Nelson in 1805 with scenes of the funeral barge are highly sought after. Researching the engravings on rummers can be fascinating, deciphering a diamond point engraved cryptic message on a Rummer owned by a dragoon who was at the battle Waterloo or Talavera puts you "in touch" with both the engraver and history itself.
Stem types on these Georgian drinking glasses are almost invariably short and plain, there are some with knopped stems. Rib moulded square feet, "lemon squeezer" shaped feet and large conical feet all feature. Thick glass square feet are surprisingly prone to being chipped and over the years the feet on these examples have been polished and reshaped many times, enhancements which can be easily detected. Also watch out for the monolithic serving rummers, varying from a yard (two and a half pints) to a gallon in capacity, which make excellent punch bowls and can be used for mixing cocktails. Hop and barley and grape and vine leaf engraving is common. On Regency examples look out for flute or petal cutting to the lower half of the bowl, with engravings above.
Georgian glass rummers are amongst the most useable of antique drinking glasses. They have generous sized bowls and pan topped forms are very suitable for strong bottled beers in my humble opinion. This is much closer to their intended purpose than say a rum cocktail. The perceived wisdom is that the word "rummer" is just an anglicised version of the German word "roemer" a glass type that had been in constant use throughout the 17th century and earlier.
We would recommend that all our readers who have a particular interest in rummers track down a copy of Timothy Mills' recently published book Rummers - A Social History Told in Glass (ISBN 078-0-9926096-0-3) which is the first book - to our knowledge - that is entirely devoted to the subject.