Vase with Matching Ball Stopper

Object Name: 
Vase with Matching Ball Stopper

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Object Name: 
Vase with Matching Ball Stopper
Accession Number: 
2010.4.55
Dimensions: 
Overall H: 37.5 cm, Diam (max): 14 cm
Location: 
On Display
Date: 
about 1850-1870
Web Description: 
The form and decoration of this vase were popular in the Pittsburgh area in the mid-19th century. Decorating a parlor mantel with a pair of vases with matching ball stoppers is documented in several period paintings, and such objects were also made in New England. However, the form of this example, with the applied gather on the bottom, is associated with the Bakewell glasshouse in Pittsburgh. Bakewell, founded in 1808, was the oldest glass factory in western Pennsylvania, and it made various types of glass—including blown, pressed, engraved, cut, and threaded wares—during the 74 years it was in operation. There are two other pieces in the Corning collection with similar applied colored thread decoration and identical applied gathers of colorless glass. Such vases are thought to have been individual creations rather than factory designs, and each one is unique. The skill of the glassblower here can be seen in the threading of the vase and the ball, which matches exactly. The ball serves no function, except perhaps to keep dust out of the vase. Basically, it is just part of the decoration and completes the piece. A housewife could remove the ball if she wished to use the vase for flowers, although it is unlikely that this was done very often. Unless a one-of-a-kind piece such as this descends in the family of the maker, it is usually impossible to attribute it to a particular glassblower or even to a specific factory. However, because this vase resembles some objects made by Bakewell, it can be tentatively assigned to that glasshouse. [262 words] For similar pieces, see Lowell Innes, Pittsburgh Glass, 1797–1891: A History and Guide for Collectors, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976, pp. 393–396 and 422–429, and figs. 428 and 476.
Department: 
Provenance: 
Megura, James, Source
2010-06-11
Category: 
Material: 
Inscription: 
C291
label
base gummed white rectangular label
Primary Description: 
Opaque white, red, and colorless glass; blown, applied. (a) Cylindrical vase of opaque white glass with applied red striping; flared ruffled rim, base of cup is bulbous and slightly squat with annular ring where base of cup begins to widen. Applied colorless firing foot and stem with slightly flattened ball knop. (b) Spherical witch ball stopper of opaque white glass with applied red striping; hollow with small circular opening on bottom.
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 6;
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 34, #21; BIB# AI86878