Posts Tagged ‘glass’

Glass beehive oil lamp with metal witch’s hat base, c.1850

Sunday, August 15th, 2021

This beehive form glass oil lamp measures 6.25 inches high and was most likely made in the USA in the middle 1800s. It maintains its original brass oil burner fitting but lost its original glass base many years ago. As oil lamps were in daily use, it’s not unusual that many were broken and ultimately repaired in inventive ways. I have dozens of glass oil lamps in my collection with variations on metal and wood replacement bases.

When the lamp base became detached well over 100 years ago, a skilled tinsmith made this metal replacement base which resembles a witch’s hat. Please enter “oil lamp” in my search window to see many more examples of oil lamp repairs.

This lamp with similar form shows what the simple glass base on my lamp may have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Collect Lamps

Glass beehive whale oil lamp with DIY wood base, c.1850

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

This mold-blown glass whale oil lamp with beehive design stands 6 inches high. It was made in North America, c.1850. As oil lamps were used extensively throughout the house, it was not unusual for them to break. If the owner was crafty, they could add fabric and batting to the top portion of the broken base, transforming it into a pin cushion. The upper portion could be fitted with a metal or wood replacement base, which is what we have here.

Judging by the simplicity of the work, this 3.5 inches square rustic wood replacement base was most likely a DIY repair. Wooden make-do repairs done at home range from the simple (Flint glass candlestick, c.1870) to over-the-top flights of fancy (Oil lamp with pyramid base, c.1920). I am hoping that people will be inspired by my collection of inventive repairs and take a stab at repairing their own wounded possessions.

This intact example shows what the original base on my lamp would have looked like before it took a tumble.

Photo courtesy of WorthPoint

Gilt glass trumpet vase with brass base, c.1960s?

Sunday, April 25th, 2021

This one is a bit of a mystery. Although the vase looks like it dates from the first quarter of the 20th century, I believe it is actually from the 1960s. Here’s what I do know…this frosted glass trumpet-form vase with gilt & high enamel floral decoration in yellow, pink, blue, green, white, and 24k gold was made in Bohemian, Czech, possibly by The Egermann Company. It stands 10 inches high, with 6 inch diameter opening. It was given to me by John Koch, proprietor of his eponymous New York City shop, John Koch Antiques. John loves a good make-do and has been generous in supplying me with them over the years.

But the real reason you are reading about this vase it due to its replacement base, which looks like a brass plunger cup. It seems like something repurposed, rather than made specifically as a replacement. I will continue to dig deep and try to find out what this brass whatchamacallit really is. And if anyone knows, please share your information with me and your fellow readers.



Tiny cut glass cordial with metal base, c.1820

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

I’m a big fan of early repairs which drastically change the overall appearance of the piece. This tiny cut glass cordial, nearly 4.5 inches high, had a matching glass base which must have broken off over 150 years ago. Since there was no way to effectively repair the detached glass base, a tinker had to create a metal replacement. I assume the owner who had the repair done was thrilled to have a functioning cordial again, even though it must have stuck out like a sore thumb among the other “perfect” ones in the set.

Perhaps the original base on my cordial glass was faceted like this example. We will never know.

Photo courtesy of Corning Museum of Glass

A toast to the New Year, 2021!

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

I imagine this is how many of my drinking glasses ended up with early repairs. Let’s raise a glass and welcome the New Year, and hope it’s better than the last one.

All the best to you in 2021 and please drink responsibly!

Cut ruby glass cordial with silver stem, c.1920

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

I believe this cut ruby glass cordial wine glass was made in Germany or Bohemia in the 1920s. It was most likely part of a larger set consisting of 6 or more glasses – possibly each a different color – along with a matching decanter.

As most antique glass stemware is fragile, many were broken and ultimately tossed out. Luckily, this one was spared the trash bin and brought back to life with the addition of a silver sleeve. Thank you to the unknown tinker or silversmith who conjoined the broken pieces with their skill and ingenuity, allowing this glass to function again.

This sturdy set with a similar cut pattern appears to be without damage.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane

Mystery make-do pickle jar? c.1875

Sunday, November 8th, 2020

This EAPG (Early American Pressed Glass) jar with a screw top in the Pequot pattern measures 5.25 inches high with a 3.75 inch opening. Although its maker is unknown, I believe the jar dates to the 1870s. After extensive research, I believe this to be a pickle jar. Most curious is the metal base, which does not appear to be a replacement. Perhaps this is not a make-do after all?? If anyone has any information on this unusual piece, please let me know.

This pickle jar in the same pattern has neither a screw top nor a metal base.

Photo courtesy of the Early American Pattern Glass Society

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