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The style of glassware known as pressed glass, or moulded glass, developed in the early 19th century when glassmaking changed from being a craft to being a factory-based process. In addition, glass in the United Kingdom had been taxed by weight, and this tax was repealed in 1845. It now became profitable to produce runs of identical moulded items, and the demand for domestic glassware grew. New ranges were produced each year, and as well as the traditional clear, or flint, glass, many other styles were developed, such as opaque, marbled, opalescent and coloured.
The procedure for moulding glass is to add molten glass to a plain or patterned mould and to press it into the mould with a plain or patterned plunger. The moulds were made from cast iron or brass, and later precision power-assisted tools became available to cut the patterns on the moulds.
The earliest styles were seen in the USA, France, Belgium, Bohemia and Sweden in the 1830's.
The earliest known English example dates from 1836, but the industry really
came into its own in the 1850's, the Victorian period.
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