Posts Tagged ‘glass’

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

Milch glass mug, c.1780

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

When I first saw this 18th century German Milch glass mug, I though that the hand painted scene of a distinguished gentleman and lovely lady fabric shopping was quaint.

Then it dawned on me that they would have been a contemporary couple, wearing outfits from when the mug was made. 

So, imagine that if a mug was made today showing a contemporary couple shopping for fabric, the image would look something like this…

Right?! Now, you may wonder why this mug is even included here. Well, if you turn the mug around…

…you will find 16 metal staples holding the broken pieces together. As if drilling into delicate porcelain isn’t impressive enough, stapled glass is just mind boggling, don’t you think?

Bohemian glass pokal, c.1851

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

I bought this striking alabaster glass pokal with sterling silver overlay from a dealer a few years ago and have loved looking at it ever since. It was made in Bohemia, today the Czech Republic, in the middle of the 19th century and stands 16 inches high. Etched on the lid is “Andenken von (Souvenir of) G.W. 1851”. If anyone knows what G.W. stands for, please let me know.

Over 150 years ago, a well constructed pewter replacement base was added by a skilled metalsmith after the original glass base broke off. The muted pewter tones compliment the tarnished silver decoration on the pokal. 

“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.

www.ebay.com

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

Engraved goblet with Mining Scenes, c.1690

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

This superbly engraved blown wine glass was made in Nuremberg, Germany, c.1680-1700. It stands 10.5 inches high. The large bowl features finely engraved scenes of open-pit mining and a large coat of arms, believed to belong to one of the Counts of Mansfeld. The delicate stem is made up of a series of hollow knobs and rings and amazingly, has remained intact after knocking around for over 330 years. 

The foot was not so lucky. As would be expected of a large, fragile glass object such as this, the original glass foot broke off hundreds of years ago, and was fitted with an elegant hand hammered silver replacement. It is engraved with the name “Mansfeld”, the date “1530”, and in a tiny font “A.E. 12”. As Mansfeld, Germany was the center of silver mining for over 800 years, this magnificent goblet was most likely made by one of the Mansfeld families as a commemorative piece. 

As with almost everything from my collection, we will never know for sure how the piece broke, who repaired it, and what happened to it after it was reborn. I’m just glad that so many of them ended up in my collection and that I can share them with you.

This goblet from the same period shows what the original glass base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Scottish Antiques

Make-Don’t, Fake-Do, or the real deal?

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

Every so often I find a piece that stumps me, stopping me dead in my tracks. This is one such example.

I purchased this 6.5 inch high robin’s egg blue satin glass goblet at an antiques shop in Southern Vermont where I have found other interesting antiques with inventive repairs. At first glance, I believed it to have an at-home wood replacement base repair, similar to dozens of others I own. Upon closer inspection, I am not so sure.

Although I have a few examples of finely turned wood bases, this one seems too slick and intentional to be a replacement. The glass itself is in perfect condition, with no indication of its base having been snapped off.


After a bit of research, I believe the goblet to be a reproduction of French Portieux Vallerysthal glass, c.1900. Why it has a wood base is a mystery, but if anyone has any information, I would love to hear from you.

These goblets have their original bases.

portieux goblet

Photo courtesy of eBay