Burtles Tate & Co.
The glass making firm of Burtles Tate & Co was founded in 1858 in Manchester and the address was registered as Poland Street Glass Works, Oldham Road, Manchester. It was noted as specialising in pressed glass, ornamental glass, coloured glass and flint glass. Some of their designs imitated Davidson’s Pearline glass, a celebrated colour technique in antique glass.
The main local competitor of note was Derbyshire Glass locally and Sowerby Glass, Davidson Glass and Greener Glass in the North-East of England.
1870 showed the first registration design which was for the design of vertical columns on glass, while 1871 brought the first design for a piece, a hand rising up from a plinth, which Colin Lattimore suggests could be a ring stand as the fingers are separated.
In 1881 Burtles Tate has one furnace working at Poland Street and another in Bolton which was called the Victoria Glassworks. They produced a pattern book which showed all the goods they were producing.
By 1883 they had a large range of mostly functional items, as listed by Lattimore, which included three sizes of tankards (some with coconut palm decoration), sugar bowls, cream jugs, larger jugs, biscuit boxes, butter dishes and urn-like marmalade holders.
Little of remark occurred until 1885 when they registered one of their most well known designs, a flower holder of varying sizes in the shape of a swan. These glass swans were followed by a flower boat and an elephant flower holder.
The pictures I have seen of the elephant flower holder look amazing in opalescent glass, it is a gem of a design and very desirable.
Topaz opalescent glass was one of the innovations and while it does look strikingly like the very popular Pearline, it must have been made differently to escape the patent laws. Davidson’s had only patented their Pearline technique two years previously. Uranium glass, a green yellow colour, was also popular and in 1894 they added Sunrise which varied from yellow/amber to pink.
1887 saw the firm buy some extra land and close the Bolton Glassworks, moving this second factory to nearby, calling it the German Street Works.
By 1891 their pressed glass products had become more sophisticated with flower stands known as epergnes, which Victorians liked as centrepieces of their rooms.
Burtles Tate were big producers of functional and ornamental glass by the 1890s, with good quality glass making them very competitive.
Butterworth Brothers of Manchester bought the firm in 1924, marking the end of Burtles Tate’s career in producing vintage glass.