GLASS CIGARETTE HOLDERS
There is very little printed information on the subject of the Glasshouse Whimsey referred to as Glass Cigarette Holders. The varied sizes of these little holders would suggest that some may have held cigars or cheroots. However, most collectors refer to them as cigarette holders. These holders are relatively difficult to find. They are usually a free blown and hand decorated item and not molded. Usually, the holders are about 2 �� to 4� in length, with some reaching up to 6�. There have only been a few examples found at over 6� in length. They have a mouthpiece and the open end for the cigarette etc.
Many of these holders were made in the Sturbridge area of England. They can be found in shops in England and in the English Museums. It is known that Nicholis Lutz, of Sandwich Glass fame, decorated cigarette holders for a Pennsylvania firm. It is possible that some holders were a novelty item and not a whimsey. From careful study and by talking to collectors and knowledgeable glass experts, it is concluded that most holders could be English, American, or Venetian. From the styles of workmanship and the types of techniques used, most holders are believed to have been made between 1850 and 1900.
The reason they were made was to actually be used. Many examples found have cigarette or tobacco stains. Some collectors in England actually tried a few and they suggested the holders gave a very pleasing and much cooler smoke than without the holder.
The novelty or whimsey type of glass cigarette holders can be divided into three basic categories: blown examples, cut glass pieces, and the overlay type. The blown type were most likely made by lampworkers. Lampworkers generally worked with small, delicate pieces of glass, putting together such things as petals and leaves on flowers in paperweight setups. This is very difficult work and not just any glass blower could achieve this post. The blown type are the easiest to find. They come in just about every color but a great majority are white milk glass with applied color decoration. These decorations could include dots, stripes, or even birds.
The other two kinds of novelty type glass cigarette holders, cut glass and overlay glass, are very difficult to find. Overlay glass was very difficult to produce. Layers of glass would be gathered one on top of each other until the desired effect had been reached. Generally, clear would be used for a base, then a layer of milk glass, and then a colored layer. After the piece was made, the glass was cut to show the different color layers of glass in various patterns. This technique was used for cologne and scent bottles from the same period. The plain cut glass type are cut from clear crystal glass.
There was a production line of glass cigarette holders made in Czechoslovakia that were molded and signed. They usually had yellow glass in them. These are marked �Made in Czechoslovakia�. These are not considered to be novelty or whimsey.