Posts Tagged ‘glass’

Glass whale oil lamp with carved wood base, c.1840

Sunday, February 20th, 2022

This colorless free-form conical glass whale oil lamp was made in North America, circa 1840, and stands nearly 5.5 inches high. Oil from the sperm whale was a popular lighting fuel source in the 1700s to early 1800s but by the mid-1800s, it become expensive and scarce. Lard oil, a cheaper and more readily available option, was used as a replacement but gave off a lower source of light and emitted a bad odor. By the 1860s, kerosene was found to be the most popular and practical oil of choice and lamps were redesigned to accommodate the new lamp fuel.

Over 150 years ago, the original base broke off this fragile glass lamp and a 3 inch square wood replacement was added. Repairs such as this were most likely done at home, using found objects at hand. Wear from holding the lamp at the base indicates that it was used for many years after it was repaired.


This intact lamp suggests what the original base on my lamp might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Invaluable

Glass candle holder with rustic metal repair, c.1870

Saturday, January 29th, 2022

This pressed flint glass candle holder measures 7 inches high and has a hexagonal base. Although I have difficulty accurately dating glassware, I believe this is an example of American flint glass from the mid to late 1800s. If anyone can more accurately identify it, I would be most appreciative.

As you can imagine, the reason I purchased this candlestick is because of the rustic iron metal replacement top and bobeche, added many years ago when the original broke off. The repair is crude and most likely done at home, using whatever materials were at hand. Looks like it did the trick, as the top reveals many years of continued use. Bravo to the unsung repairer who made-do, allowing the broken candle holder to function again, rather than simply tossing it into the waste bin.

This pair of similarly shaped candle holders suggest what mine might have looked like when it was still intact.

Photo courtesy of Charlie Bordewich

Small blown cordial glass on metal base, c.1800s

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

This small colorless free-form blown cordial glass goblet measures 4.5 inches high and was most likely made in America or England in the early to middle 19th century.

After the base broke off, a sweet replacement base was fashioned and attached to the remains of the knob stem. I applaud the tinker who made this simple yet elegant repair on such a small goblet.

This similar cordial glass suggests what my goblet would have looked like before it was fitted with its replacement base.

Photo courtesy of iCollector

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