Coiling a thread of molten glass onto a bulb of molten glass during the manufacturing process as been used for centuries as a form of decoration. The thread was either from the same batch of glass or could be of a different colour. Similarly the threads were either left proud on the surface or marvered into the surface of the article. Initially the coiling of the thread was carried out by the the glass maker by hand resulting in thick uneven threads being applied.
In 1876, William James Hodgetts, of the glass making firm of Hodgetts, Richardson and Son, in Wordsley, Kingswinford, took out a patent that covered the coiling of a thread of glass onto an article of glass that employed the use of a machine or apparatus. By using the thread of a screw to advance a horizontally mounted bulb of glass and a gather of highly heated glass for the thread, that was held stationary, a very fine thread of glass could be coiled onto the bulb. The patent also described how this threading could be made to resemble fine wicker or basket work by the use of a ribbed mould.
Although the taking out of a patent should offer a degree of protection for the inventor, this does not seem to have lasted long and soon all the Stourbridge factories were manufacturing articles with threaded glass applied primarily for decoration.
The one factory that took this threading technique and developed it the most for decorative purposes was Stevens & Williams.
The invention of the threading machine did not dispense with the use of trailing for artistic effect.