A slightly different perspective.
Re: I can test beads if you want to pay postage -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/20/2019, 12:40:44

I mentioned above that only these beads, when composed from greenish-yellow Vaseline glass should be called "Vaseline beads."

The fact that the beads in question are called by this name, even though they are different colors, is endemic in bead collecting. It is due to lazy thinking, and not having an easily-grasped name that is already proposed for the general type of bead.

All of these beads have one thing in-common—and that is they result from a specific beadmaking procedure. They are tong-molded, using a tong that had a fixed perforator—that gave the beads a distinct conical perforation. Later tongs were improved, and the perforators were spring-loaded/released, and provided straight perforations. So the beads with conical holes are earlier than those (similar-looking beads) with straight holes (as a generalization).

So, these are molded Bohemian/Czech beads, dating from ca. the mid-19th C. and later.

Clearly, it is easier to call all of the fixed-perforator beads "Vaseline beads." To have to resort to "Early fixed-perforator tong beads" would be too much of a mouthful. So that's why the name is misused in many instances.

Also, an early attempt to describe the process, by our colleague Lester Ross, was mistaken. He had a too-complicated process, demanding the use of a hammer to complete the perforations. His ideas were superseded by Elizabeth Harris who determined the actual process, and clearly explained WHY the fixed perforator was conical. This was because when the bead would be released from the tong, if the perforator were straight, it would damage the bead, due to traveling at an arching angle. A conical perforator relieved this possibility. And having a spring-released straight perforator also relieved that possibility.

In conclusion, the name has been applied to beads that are made in the same manner. It is not that the different colors are also uranium glass. Mostly they are not, as far as I know.


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