Genuine Vintage Glass King #863. Made by National Washboard Co.
Similar to the Zinc King #703, but with a fine-ribbed "corrugated" molded glass playing surface.
Small, yet Heavy and Durable
Weighing in at a hefty one and three-quarter pounds, the Glass King #863 is nearly twice the weight of a Zinc King #703 or comparable pail-size washboard with a traditional metal rub surface. The extra weight comes from the thick glass rub surface which is significantly heavier than thin tin. This construction makes for a small yet heavy washboard.
Glass is smoother, harder, and more dense than tin. So the glass rub surface generates a higher pitch than a plated tin metal rub surface.
The glass rub surface produces a more "solid" tone too. Kinda like the difference between rattling solid natural bones v rib bones (which resonate because of the usually hollow marrow core). All our vintage pail-size metal rub surface washboards have back panels that form a resonating chamber. The glass washboards are designed with no back panels, thus no resonating chamber.
Scraping the glass rub surface generates a tighter buzz sound than tin. That's because the glass corrugation waves are closer together than a traditional tin rub surface. How close? The pail-size Glass King corrugation waves are just 1/8" (3 mm) apart. The corrugation waves on a typical pail-size tin rub surface are around 7/16" (11 mm) apart. That's a ratio of 3-1/2 to 1. So you get more than three times the ribbets per scratch.
So scratching a glass rub surface generates a higher pitch, more solid tone, and tighter buzz than a metal rub surface. All in all, a glass washboard is heavier and sounds a little different than a metal one.
Which Washboard Grade is Right for You?
Every Glass King #863 washboard we sell is a fine playing vintage instrument. All parts are intact and in good working order. For all practical purposes each washboard plays just as well as the next. The difference in price merely reflects the outward appearance of the wood, the rubbing surface, and the ink.
Washboards in all grades below are antique objects that might show signs of age, wear, or inconsequential damage such as small chips in the frame, water staining, and paint spots from long term storage or display.
Grading Scale in a Nutshell:
The weathered ones cost less, the clean unblemished ones cost more.
Might show scuffs, scratches, minor cracks in wood. Ink might be faded or missing. Might show soap residue or other slight imperfections. No significant cracks in wood frame. No chips, cracks, or breaks in glass rubbing surface. No substantial scratches (i.e. washboard was not a musical instrument in former life). No missing parts. Framework is sturdy. Washboard has been around the block a few times but is eminently playable.
Overall better condition.
Light wear. Hardly used. Little or no soap residue. Ink color and print quality usually good, but not always.
Appears unused. Ink color and print quality usually good, but not always. Belongs in a museum. Don't know why you would want to scrape up a fine antique relic like this to play music on it though.