When I started to buy and sell pottery, there were some terms that I picked up pretty fast that I use quite often. These terms are pretty common and help describe the manufacturing process of the piece. Here’s some of the terms:
Pinholes—these are faults in the surface of a ceramic body (or even the glaze) that resemble pin pricks. These are not very big at all, and there is usually no other damage around them. Air bubbles are the most common culprit that causes these.
Bloating—this is the permanent swelling of a ceramic piece during the firing in a kiln. It’s caused by the expansion of gases like air not being able to escape out of the piece.
Iron oxide—this is a common oxide in glazes and some clays that generally gives the item a reddish color.
Biscuit pottery—this is also called Bisque pottery. This is pottery that has been fired, but no glaze has been applied to the piece.
This is only a few of the terms out there. What have you heard?
Like pretty much every area in the vintage and collectible world, furniture has its own vocabulary. There are even words and phrases out there that would make you think they mean something completely different. Here’s a few of them:
Dovetail—this is a term in wood working that’s used to designate a method of joinery. This is used a lot to join corners of drawers and cabinets. It’s a series of cuts to make a tenon or tongue that looks the shape of a dove’s tail that interlocks with alternating similar cuts piece of wood.
Vitrine—this is a French term for display or china cabinet. This type of cabinet has large sections made out of glass so that you can show off the items stored inside.
Escutcheon—this is an ornament plate that surrounds a keyhole on a piece of furniture or a door. These plates come in a wide variety of motifs.
This is only a tiny amount of what is out there. What have you heard?
When I first started selling vintage items, I quickly found out that there’s a name for just about every piece out there-even for furniture. I quickly started to learn the names of these pieces when I started to do some basic repairs to the furniture that I bought.
Here’s a few of the terms that I have learned over the years:
Bracket foot–a bracket foot is used on a chest, a chest on chest or even a cabinet. This is a foot that has a straight corner edge and curved inner edges. Sometimes I hear these curved inner edges “scalloped edges”.
Caning—caning is a wood piece that consists of rattan (or even sugar cane) that is made into wicker. There are a wide variety of ways this is used including seats of chairs, patio furniture, etc.
Partner’s desk—a partner’s desk literally looks like two desks that were put together to make one. It’s a desk large enough to seat two people that are facing each other. Each side has their own drawers or cupboards.
What are some of the terms that you have either run across or heard?