Lily and Gum Tip Vases

The Lily and Gum Tips vases were classic Crystal Glass Co. carnival vases made prior to the merger in 1926, which continued to be made post 1926 as Crown Crystal early non-iridised glass. They were advertised in four sizes, but as they were swung (removed from the mould using a cup punty then literally spun around by the blower in order to stretch the molten metal), there is a degree of randomness about their height.

The catalogue numbers are labeled as follows:

#295 12″, Lily

#290 10″, Gum Tips Vase

#185 8″, Flower Vase

#181 10″, apparently unnamed.

Note, that’s two separate numbered designs at 10″. The vase in the illustration looks more like¬† what collectors normally call the Lily vase but is clearly labelled Gum Tips. Other advertisements simply call them Flower Vases.

The modern collecting convention is that the lily vases came from the larger moulds with a 4.75″ base and had looser ruffles and either 16 or 18 ribs (called pattern number #295 in the 1929 Crown Crystal catalogue) , whereas the gum tips vases came from the two smaller moulds, with either 8 or 10 side panels and bases of 2.75″ and 3.75″ (given the pattern numbers #290 and #181 in the 1929 Crown Crystal catalogue). The bases may be plain or have a star base (as illustrated below). (This subject is covered well by Glen and Steve Thistlewood.)

Likewise, sometimes what modern collectors would describe as a gum tips vase is merely labeled ‘vase’. See the catalogue page in the bottom right corner of Mr and Mrs Thistlewood’s page on Australian swung vases.

Mrs Thistlewood suggests that this was to do with the artist’s impression varying with the finished pieces. That’s possible, and it could also be (and this is conjecture on my part, so take it with a degree of scepticism), given the lackadaisical ethic present in the company at the time, that was a degree of looseness in the marketing nomenclature. That said, the modern collecting convention is based on the mould size and height, which at least is clear and rational.

By convention, the lily vases are the tallest Crown swung vases. The base measures 4.75″ and they can measure up to 12″.

Gum Tips vases are shorter, thinner and more streamlined. The base measurement is fixed at 2.75″ or 3.75″ while the height was advertised at between 8″ and 10″ (allow for some variability, owing to their being hand finished.)

Either vase may be straight or with a twist effect: this would have been created post mould by the blower.

“Pretty coloured glass vases” advertised in the Telegraph on 20 November, 1925. These are most likely pre-merger delustre iridescent (amethyst carnival) Australian swung vases. Just called vases, these were pattern numbers #185 and #181 and are now known as gum tip vases.
“Heavy Clear GLASS VASES, nice quality, firm base.” Gum tips (#290, #181) and lily vases (#295) advertised in The Sun on 20 December, 1926. This is nearly a year post-merger and the citron colour is mentioned. Artistic licence is obvious here!


Gum Tips Vase in pastel blue
Gum Tips (#185) vase in pastel blue. ~8.5″ tall
Gum Tips Vase in Pastel Blue, different view
Gum Tips Vase (#185) in Pastel Blue, showing more of the rim.
Citron Gum Tips vase example
Citron Gum Tips (#181) vase example. 8″
Rosalyn gum tips (#181) vase example. 9″ tall
Rosalin gum tips (#181) vase example, showing rim detail.
Citron gum tips (#290) vase base
Citron lily vase (#290) showing rim flare. 10.5″ tall
This citron (bright uranium yellow) lily vase (#290) shown in profile. This one is 10.5″ tall.


Glen Thistlewood’s page on Australian swung glass vases

Original catalogues and advertisements

Arnold, Ken. Australian Carnival Glass, Crown Castleton, 1994.

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