The earliest decanters date from the late seventeenth century and were made from blown moulded glass. They were used to serve wine at a time when there was a move towards less formal dining procedures and the reduced reliance on servants and waiters. The 1745 Excise Tax caused manufacturers to make decanters lighter in weight. The tax benefited the industry in Ireland where it did not apply. When the tax was repealed in 1845, a heavier gauge was reverted to. In the second half of the eighteenth century blue, green and amethyst coloured decanters were made. Decanters often sat on silver bottle coasters with baize bases (some even on castors) and could be 'pushed' around the dining table without making scratches or requiring serving staff.
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