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Flask with Mold

Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes Flask with Mold produced by Stebbins and Stebbins. The manufacture and decoration of hand-blown tableware was a slow and costly process. Glassmakers soon sought ways to speed production and to decorate their wares more inexpensively. One way to do this was to blow the glass into a mold, which shaped the glass and decorated the surface in one operation. The earliest examples of this molded glass imitated cut glass. A housewife's book, published in 1815, suggested "those who wish for Trifle dishes, butter stands, at a lower charge than cut glass may buy them in moulds, of which there is a great variety that looks extremely well if not placed near the more beautiful article." The mold-blown flask shown here is decorated with a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette, a French soldier and statesman who served in the American Revolutionary Army. Half of the brass mold in which this flask was made is also illustrated. Gift of Gladys W. Richards and Paul C. Richards.