You've found it! A great source for answers to questions you've always had about tableware terms but were afraid to ask. Also listed are definitions for reference notes that appear on our e-mail and US mail product listings. Over 260 terms below listed in alphabetical order!
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Jasperware - stoneware body, either white or colored, noted for its matte finish. First developed by Josiah Wedgwood, its best known form is the popular blue-and-white ware, but comes in many other colors. Click here to see pieces of Jasperware carried by Replacements.
Joke Cup and Saucer - oversized tea-shaped cup that is very large.
Juice - (crystal) usually shaped like the iced tea goblet with a long bowl and short stem, only smaller than the iced tea.
Kiln - a special oven in which dinnerware is fired or baked. Potterymen pronounce the word as if it were spelled without the "n".
Knob - a lump-like decoration that protrudes from the surface of a crystal piece.
Lace Glass - glass decorated with a maze of thread-like lines resembling lace fabric. An example of lace glass is Fenton’s Spanish Lace Milk Glass.
Latema - The latema blade is one of the oldest types of knife blades found in pre-1940 Durgin, Gorham, and Whiting manufacturers. Latema is imprinted on the blade. This blade responds like silverplate when polished. The alloy beneath the silverplate is not stainless but rather a metal alloy typically of nickel silver content.
Layaway - layaways at Replacements, Ltd are set up in four equal payments. The first payment of 25% of order total is a non-refundable deposit. Payments may be charged via credit or debit card, or paid for by check. The initial deposit must be received within seven days of placing the order. The remaining payments are due once per month for three consecutive months. Click here to learn more about our layaway program as well as other services offered by Replacements.
Lead Crystal - fine glass to which lead is added as one of the ingredients. The lead imparts brilliance, makes the crystal easier to cut, and is responsible for the bell-like ring that the crystal produces when it is struck. Lead crystal can be labeled as such when it contains 24% lead oxide.
Lily Pond - a centerpiece typically used to display flower blossoms floating in water.
Limoges - French porcelain originating in the vicinity of Limoges, France, where natural kaolin deposits (an important component in the china manufacturing process) are found in the soil. The Limoges name became associated with only the highest quality china. As a result, many manufacturers began using the Limoges name.
Line - the descriptive term in dinnerware manufacturing used to describe a series of patterns all having the same shape, but different colors, patterns, decals, etc.
Literature - information in the form of books, old catalogs, and manufacturers specification sheets (some recent and some very old) used by curators to assist in the identification unknown dinnerware patterns and piece types.
Lithographs - image transfer printing process used to decorate various types of dinnerware.
Lug - flat, horizontal, tab-shaped handles on both sides of a piece (usually bowls, i.e. "lugged cereal bowl").
Luncheon Plate - typically 8" to 9" in diameter, used for breakfast or lunch.
Luster - ceramic glaze coating, metallic in nature, which gives the finished piece an iridescent effect.
Lusterware - ceramics or pottery with a glaze that has an polychromatic, metallic sheen.
Machine-cut - glass cut with abrasive wheels that is worker directed.
Majolica - Italian pottery glazed with tin enamel and usually decorated with bright, festive colors.
Manufacturer - an organization that makes, or has made, china, crystal, flatware or collectibles.
Matte Finish (Dull) - flat or satin finish without a glossy appearance.
Measurement - the size of a piece: width, length, height or all three. Specified on the free pattern/piece type listings sent by Replacements.
Meissen - First white, hard-paste porcelain produced in Europe that matched in quality the centuries old porcelain from China. Production started in 1710 at the court of Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, at Albrechtsburg castle in Meissen.
Mexican Silver - 800 parts per thousand silver in combination with 200 parts per thousand other metals.
Milk Glass - white opaque glass that can be traced back as far as the 1500s, but with most of what is collected today dated from the 1700s. An example of milk glass is Westmoreland’s Paneled Grape.
Minor Flaw - slight blemish or scratch in the china, crystal or flatware (no cracks or chips, see "Imperfections").
Mirror Finish - highly polished, mirror-like finish produced by using jeweler's rouge on a polishing wheel; also known as Bright finish (Glossy).
Mold blown or Mold pressed - glass manufactured by blowing molten glass into a mold. Mold pressed glass is a mechanized process where molten glass is forced into a mold and impacted in the center to form a hollow section.
Mold Marks - ridges on clayware or glassware indicating the points where the mold was separated from the cast.
Monax - glassware known for being a whitish color. In areas where it is thin it will have a bluish appearance, also may appear to have color variation. An example of Monax is Macbeth Evan’s American Sweetheart.
Muffin Dish - The muffin dish is a small covered dish that is used to serve muffins, breads, and pastries. The dome-shaped lid generally features a handle and piercings. These small holes keep warm breads from becoming overly moist before being served.
Multi-Motif - different scenes, flowers or designs appear on the various place setting pieces in the pattern. One example of a multi-motif pattern is Portmeirion’s Botanic Garden.
Murray Dish - resembles a small powder box. Round, with a scalloped lid, a Murray dish is often used for candy or trinkets.
Napkin Ring - decorative ring to hold individual cloth napkins at each place setting (Napkins are to be placed at the left of the plate or in the center of the plate).
Nappy - a small bowl with many functional uses. It may or may not have a handle.
Nickel Silver - composed of copper, nickel, and zinc.
Oatmeal Bowl - cereal bowl, usually measuring 6-6 1/2 inches across.
Obsolete Pattern - the term obsolete china indicates that both the pattern, and the company that made the pattern, are nonexistent. Some examples of companies that were once prominent sellers of very popular dinnerware patterns, but have been dissolved are Castleton, Flintridge, Cambridge Glass, and Imperial Glass.
Octagon - shape in which there are eight sides and angles; looks like a circle with eight corners/angles.
Old Sheffield Plate - made by fusing silver to both sides of a base metal to create a silver sandwich. Widely produced from 1765 to 1840.
Opal Glass - colored glass with a fired-on finish that imparts a milky iridescence. In many cases, the finish is referred to as opalescent. Fenton’s Hobnail-French Opalescent serves as an excellent example of opal glass.
Optic - a process whereby glass is formed in a mold that yields a type of decoration that creates a swirled or rippled effect.
Overglaze - after initial glazing and firing, the decoration or design is applied. Coloring tends to be more vivid than decoration under the glaze.
Oxidizing - method used to accentuate beauty and ornamentation by applying an oxide that darkens the metal. Eventually, a natural oxidation forms on all silver as oxygen reacts to metals.