Glass & Glass-Making
11 of 28
imitating the "quilted china" of the day; perhaps they were inspired
by the lovely metal itself.
AMERICAN GLASS TUMBLER
Made by Baron Stiegel,
at Mannheim, Pa.,
in the 18th century
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.
AMERICAN GLASS, CUT
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.
Caspar Wistar of Salem
County, New Jersey, started the first real works at
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.
AMERICAN CUT GLASS
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.
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
ENGRAVED AMERICAN GLASS