Air Twist Stems
Antique Georgian air twist stem wine glasses are amongst the most widely appreciated of all antique wine glasses. They are the most widely recognised of all Georgian wine glasses. The air twist stem was an 18th century evolution from the air tears and twisted tears in earlier plain stem glasses and those with beaded knops. The glass excise act created an imperative to reduce the taxable weight of glasses and the resultant air twist ensued Air twists increased the brilliance of the stems via the introduction of most commonly six or more evenly spaced bubbles into the gather of glass via nails fixed into a wooden former and then drawing this into a stem.
Rolling the blowing iron and fixing the opposite end of the glass stem with pucellas fabricated the twist. Tooling marks on the stems of some glasses evidences this. I am advised that all glass blowers were taught to ply their trade right handed, hence all English twists rotate in the same direction.
The shape and size of the nails and pattern of nails on the former were changed with startling results. Tightly packed thin nails result in a cable, flat-sided nails the “mercury” twist. The variation in the patterns of air twist defies belief when one considers that these were all made by hand in the eighteenth century. To date we have had nine types of twist for sale !
All antique glass does have some jargon and Georgian glass is no exception.The multi series Georgian air twist glass, or MSAT, is widely accepted to have been the earliest form with up to twelve strands or air spiralling up a stem. To be strict in our nomenclature the MSAT is effectively a single series. Single spiral gauzes and four-ply spiral bands outside loose spiral threads and cables have the most incredible refractive properties where either the inside or outside twist is a mercury type. It is worth noting double series air twist stem are the rarer form, the opposite being true for opaque twist stems.
Other air twist glasses to watch out for are those with multiple knops which become progressively rarer as the number of knops increases and those with vermiform collars. If you are looking for just one fine Georgian drinking glass for a present of gift then air twist stems are a good choice.