Posts Tagged ‘American’

Glass laboratory beaker, c.1920

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

Glass beakers, jars, and test tubes have been breaking in chemistry labs for centuries. Not surprisingly, I have come across dozens of examples of fragile laboratory glassware with early repairs. As with this one, most of the repairs I find are broken beakers set into repurposed metal lids filled with plaster. These repairs were done in-house using whatever materials were on hand and were put back to use as soon as the plaster had set.

This glass beaker, which stands 7.25 inches high, was made around 1920 by Whitall Tatum Company, was one of the first glass factories in America. Located in Millville, New Jersey, they also manufactured glass bottles and insulators. It has etched marks on the side: “TO DELIVER GUARANTEED ACCURATE, N.Y WHITALL TATUM CO., PHILA.” and: “N.Y. CITY AND PENNA. APPROVED TYPE III, SERIAL A-2.”

Check out a previous post, Two glass beakers, c.1890, showing similar repairs.

This beaker shows what the original base on mine would have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Etsy


Whimsical Victorian pin cushion, c.1880

Saturday, May 2nd, 2020

For those of you who have been following my blog from the beginning, you are well aware how I feel about make-do pin cushions. I just don’t like them very much. Although for quite some time they were arguably the most ubiquitous of inventive repairs, they now seem to have dried up. I don’t know whether to attribute the scarcity to the distain by others like myself, or if they are so highly prized that they are being snatched up and hoarded by rabid collectors. Either way, I bit the bullet and recently bought this whimsical example. Please don’t judge me.

It seems anyone could wrap a scrap of fabric around some cotton, straw, or excelsior and plop it onto a broken base and call it a pin cushion, and many did just that. But this unusual example has been taken to another level. This wacky Victorian pin cushion stands 5.5 inches high and was made around 1880 and appears to be wearing a jester’s hat. It was made from the inverted bowl of a broken pressed glass goblet and filled with keepsakes, turning it into a memory jar. Contents include decorated paper, feathers, a pressed gold leaf, a colorfully painted base, along with an inscription, which reads: “Memento to Kate Caward made and presented by an old lady on her seventy fifth birthday.” It’s more common to see make-do pin cushions made from bases of broken goblets, so this may be an example of not losing a goblet but gaining two pin cushions.

So let’s raise a glass to collectors worldwide and celebrate our quirky passions. And in case you drop your glass, don’t worry. You can always make lovely pin cushions from the damaged pieces.

Here’s a well curated collection of fancy and whimsical pin cushions.

Photo courtesy of Peggy McClard

Etched glass wine goblet, c.1850

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

Sorry to have been out of touch over the past month, but I thought it best to not post during these difficult times. Now I realize it might be helpful to try to return to some of our normal activities so I am happy to resume posting. I hope you are all well and remaining safe and healthy.

This colorless etched glass wine goblet stands 7 inches high, and has an opening of 3.25 inches. It dates to the middle of the 1800s and features copper wheel engraved scrollwork around the rim and an inscription of what appears to be William Myher and the word Nov beneath it.

The nicely turned wood replacement base and stem, which I believe to be mahogany, were added after the goblet took a tumble, well over one hundred years ago. Not sure if the goblet was made in America or in Europe. If anyone has insight as to where this was made, please let me know.

This goblet with similar form still has its original base.

Photo courtesy of Etsy

“Stippled Medallion” glass spooner, c.1865

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

I purchased this humble flint EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) spooner in the Stippled Medallion pattern many years ago while visiting Mark’s aunt and uncle in Framingham, Massachusetts. It was made by Union Glass Company in Somerville, Massachusetts, just 20 miles northeast of Framingham, between 1860 and 1870. It measures 5.5 inches high, and has a diameter of 3.5 inches. After its original base snapped off, a simple turned wood base was made (most likely at home) and the spooner was returned to the dining table and put back to use.

I spotted it at an antiques shop, sitting on a shelf among other “perfect” glassware, with a faded price tag of around $10. I assume it had been gathering dust on that shelf for many years, watching as dozens of nearby pieces came and went, feeling as an orphan must feel seeing others taken away to start a new life. It’s a good thing I found it and added it to my collection, or else it might still be sitting on that shelf, anxiously eying each customer and hoping “maybe this is the one…”

This example still has its original base and shows what mine looked like before the crash.

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Photo courtesy of eBay

Pin cushion, c.1900

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

For years I have resisted buying a single make-do pin cushion, the most prolific of all repairs. I am not a fan and think of them as the “Hummel figurine” of the inventive repair world. I will admit that on a couple of occasions, during moments of temporary insanity, I came close to buying one for my collection. But last year at an antiques shop in Pittsburgh, I caved in and bought this sad little example.

At home repairs like this are the most common type of make-do, with endless variations made from broken household items, including oil lamps, goblets, and candlesticks. This one was most likely made in America during the late Victorian era and stands 4.5 inches high. The base is made from a broken cut glass decanter stopper and the top is made from a ball of fabric covered in colorful wool yarn. I will try hard not to succumb the next time I encounter another one of these.

This collection of make-do pin cushions, each with a different glass base, have yarn tops similar to mine.

Photo courtesy of Live Auctioneers

Early iron metal repairs

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

Early repairs can pop in unexpected places. For example, last May I went to visit my mother who lives in a small town in the Berkshires. Near her house is the Barnard Cemetery, with grave markers dating back to the middle 1700s, where I came across rusty iron braces holding together broken tombstones. I have seen similar early repairs on stone steps in Florence, Italy, so keep your eyes open for other repairs such as these throughout the world.

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Brass kerosene oil lamp, c.1900

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

This small kerosene oil lamp has a brass reservoir joined to a square metal base using a hand carved wood conical stem. I found it in a small New England antiques shop a few years ago and although it is unmarked, I believe it to be American. It stands 8.75 inches tall and the base measures nearly 4 inches square.

Lamps such as this were commonly used worldwide, from the mid 1800s through the mid 1900s. They were sturdy and made to last so I am puzzled by what caused this one to become unhinged. The replacement stem appears to be a home made job, and although practical, it is less than elegant.

This brass oil lamp with similar form has all of its parts and shows what the original base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Mansion form teapot with metal lid, c.1750

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

This whimsical teapot in the form of a three-story Georgian mansion is made of saltglaze stoneware pottery. The molded decoration includes a coat of arms, guards, animals, vines, birds, a dancing couple, and a crane on a serpent’s head spout. It measures 5.75 inches high, 8 inches wide from handle to spout and was made in the Staffordshire region of England, circa 1750-1760.

After the original lid broke or went missing, an intricate tin replacement in the form of a shingled roof with a chimney as knob was made by a clever tinker. This is one of just a few replacement lids I have come across where the repairer copied the form of the original, and I am so glad that he (or she) did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This teapot of similar form suggests what the original lid on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of eBay

Glass oil lamp with wood base, c.1880

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

This American pressed glass oil lamp, dating from the late 1800s, can be seen in the exhibit Make-Do’s: Curiously Repaired Antiques at Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, New York, on view through October 1. It measures 10 inches high.

It is not uncommon to find glass oil lamps with a make-do repairs. Starting in the late 1700s, most homes had at least one glass oil lamp and due to their daily use and frequent handling, many became damaged. On this example, a brass ferrule joins the surviving glass bowl to a carved wood replacement base, which appears to be an at home repair. The burner is a modern replacement and allows the lamp to function as it originally did over 130 years ago.

This lamp with similar form suggest what the original base on my lamp might have looked like before it took a tumble.

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Photo courtesy of Oil Lamp Antiques

Pressed glass goblet with wood base, c.1860

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

This EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) goblet in the Honeycomb pattern was made in America during the Industrial Revolution between 1850 and 1870. It stands 3.25 inches high.

After the base snapped off, it was repaired at home with a primitive wood replacement. A quick and easy, yet inelegant, fix. Please take a look at two other similar pieces, Honeycomb pattern goblet and EAPG glass goblet, each with different shaped wood replacement bases. I would like to attend, or perhaps host, a dinner party with mismatched wine goblets such as these, and being able to use the jumper rentals in Phoenix (https://jumpersnrentals.com/phoenix/) would complete my dream. And if things get rowdy, I may have to do a bit of re-repairing of my own.

This goblet with base intact shows what my goblet might have looked like before it became undone.

Photo courtesy of Brey Antiques