Monday, January 26, 2009


And now for a new research project, the Kuttrolf, or gargling bottle.

A while ago Christian mentioned wanting a glass, but he didn't think he'd be able to describe it for me very well. It was something he'd seen for sale at Pensic, but they one they had was too small so he didn't buy it. At Ursulmas he finally gave describing the glass a try, and I immediately knew what he was talking about - one of those funky vessels with the bulb at the bottom, the twisted neck, and a funnel-like opening at the top. I drew him a picture, and it was right on. Then came the hard part - remembering were I'd seen the picture. Finally I tracked it down, I had several images in books and had probably seen one while I was in Cologne.

Once I knew the name, they were easy to find. These vessels are known as kuttrolf, garglers or gargling bottles. This is because of the glugging noise made when they are poured due to the multi-channeled neck. They may have been used as drinking vessels, bottles, or both. During the German Renaissance there was a fad for hard to use and strange looking drinking vessels, so drinking from such an unusual glass wouldn't have seemed as odd as it does to us now. Tastes do change, and eventually this style appears to have morphed into the more modern kuttrolf style decanter. The kuttrolf Christian saw at Pensic was probably similar or identical to the simple ones offered by Jelldragon and Forest Glass:

Here is the image of the earliest of this style Kuttrolf I've found to date:

This is a 15th century German or Dutch Kuttrolf. From, "Antique Colored Glass," by Keith Middlemas, pg 15.

And one that isn't twisted:

Kuttrolf, transparent green, Germany, 15th century. H 12cm. The Cleavland Museum of Art (91.12). from JoGS vol 34 1992, pg 127.

The Roman variation:

Corning Museum of Glass

16th and 17th century examples:

Bottle, German. Late 16th - early 17th century. Kunstgewerbemusem, Cologne. From, "Glass from Antiquity to the Renaissance," by Giovanni Mariacher, pg 151.

Kuttrolf (gargling bottle) with latticino stripes, German sixteenth - seventeenth century drinking vessel. From,"Glass," Smithsonian Illustrated Library of Antiques, by Paul Vickers Gardner, pg 39

One from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdamn

And a later version:

Central Eugrope, Late 17th to Early 18th century. From, "Glass 500 BC to AD 1900," by Axel von Saldern, pg 215.

After this the Kuttrolf seems to morph into a larger decanter and continue to be made on and off until the present:

See some info on decanter styles here

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