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How to care for antique glassware

The manufacture of glass began 3500 years ago in the Middle East. The first production of glass was in the UK in 1226. Glass has a greenish tinge which is neutralised with manganese. While George Ravenscroft was credited for adding lead oxide to glass to make it clearer, the practice had been done previously in Italy. Old glass is wonderful to collect, for with it one is also collecting a portion of the history as well. This article shows how to care for antique glassware.

Storing the glass

- When storing antique glasses, it is important to do so in an area that is out of direct sunshine, for ultraviolet could cause some glass to turn purple. - Try to store the glass in an area which has fairly constant and moderate temperatures. Keep the glass away from spotlights or light bulbs that could heat the glass and possibly crack it. - Try to keep the level of humidity in the room as stable as you can manage. - Keep the glass well back from the edge of the shelves lest any vibration accidentally make the glass tumble from its perch.

Touching the glass

- When you wish to touch your glass collectables, make sure that your hands are well-scrubbed and without rings. Rings could scratch the glass. - For older glass, especially fine, fragile glass, always wear cotton gloves. The gloves will protect the outer surface of the glass as well as keep your fingerprints from marring it. - Remove any lids or items that may be resting on the glass, such as stoppers or lids. By removing these items, you will lessen the risk of these items from breaking. - Handle the decorative glassware as little as possible, especially if the finish is flaking. - Make sure that you pick up the glasses from the base, never from the rim of the glass. - Be careful when picking up pitchers from the base as well to save the joint of the handle.

Other care

- Never leave water inside the decorative glasses. If the water begins to evaporate, it could leave a residue behind in the glass. This residue may be very difficult to remove from the inside of the glass. - Do not put any tape on the glass. When you remove the tape, adhesive may be left behind and may be difficult to remove.

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