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Glass & Glass-Making
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Page 9

American Glass Tumbler
Made by Baron Stiegel,
at Mannheim, Pa.,
in the 18th century
imitating the "quilted china" of the day; perhaps they were inspired by the lovely metal itself.
American Glass, Cut and Engraved
At any rate, the English "cut glass" that reached its height in 1780 was a beautiful production. And how our Colonial ancestors loved it! Everything in the way of table service was cut into arabesque, flower, star, fleur-de-lis, diamond, hobnail, fan and strawberry patterns, besides fluting and all sorts of vertical and horizontal lines, both shallow and deep. This lovely glass is not only characterized by its sheen and velvety surface, but it has a deep, bell-like and lasting musical ring when it is lightly struck.

Colonial American Glass

    Glass-makers were brought to Jamestown with the ill-fated settlers of 1607. In 1621 better luck attended the colony and a glass-house was erected to make simple articles and beads for the Indians. Glass-houses sprang up everywhere: there was one at Salem in 1638; one in New Amsterdam in 1654; and one in Philadelphia in 1683. These glass-houses made simple articles, chiefly bottles.
American Cut Glass
    Caspar Wistar of Salem County, New Jersey, started the first real works at Wistarberg. He soon had a rival in the works established by Henry William Stiegel, called "Baron Stiegel," at Mannheim, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1766. Here the first flint glass was made in America.
    Though both Wistar and Stiegel made articles that are highly valued by collectors today, their wares were for simple homes. The wealthy preferred to import their rich glass, or "crystal," as they preferred to call it, from the Old Country. It sparkled from the sideboards and glistened on the polished mahogany supper-tables of our ancestors-- particularly in Maryland and Virginia.
Engraved American Glass
And to the scintillating dance of light on the dishes and bowls, wine-glasses and decanters, beauty was often added by a candelabrum of several branches rising out of a cascade of dangling prisms that tinkled softly with the lightest breeze, and flashed their rainbow-fire from the center of the table. To many Americans "cut glass" and "old mahogany" suggest pictures of Colonial days