Perpetual Fountain

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Object Name: 
Perpetual Fountain
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 51.1 cm; Base W: 20 cm, D: 17.2 cm
Not on Display
Web Description: 
After some years of looking, the Museum was fortunate enough to acquire two glass fountains in 2000. They are table fountains, which were intended to decorate a table or sideboard while entertaining. The design was patented by Joseph Storer of Hammersmith, England, before 1871, and it was made there for several years. Since Storer was not a glass manufacturer, we don't know exactly where the English fountains were made. However, several of the English ones combine small glass candle holders with the fountains, and we know that these candle holders were made in the English Midlands. This makes it a likely guess that the fountains were made there too. They were made at least through 1900 and possibly a little later. In 1871, James W. Tufts of Boston, a manufacturer of soda fountains and fixtures for ice cream parlors and apothecary shops, secured the American rights to the design. He immediately started to make two kinds of table fountains. Tufts produced the metal parts and purchased the glass pieces from the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company and probably other factories in the Boston area. The fountains remained in the Tufts catalog until the 1890s, so a lot of them must have been made. However, only a few are found today. The table fountain consisted of two glass bulbs with a metal connector. The bulbs revolved and released their watery contents into tubing that led to the bottom of a glass basin.
Primary Description: 
Colorless lead glass, brass, marble; blown, tooled, assembled. Hour glass shaped object with a cylindrical dish having a fluted rim above, two glass bulbs fitted into a revolving case brass frame below dish, brass frame fastened to square marble base.
Victorian Crystal Table Fountains (2008-04-01) illustrated, p. 124; BIB# AI75167
British Influence on the Shinagawa Glassworks -- Japan's First Industrial Glass Factory (2005) illustrated, pp. 298-300; color plate 89; BIB# AI68491
Recent Important Acquisitions, 43 (2001) illustrated, pp. 210-211, fig. 34; BIB# AI53002
The Corning Museum of Glass Annual Report 2000 (2001) illustrated, p. 10, left; BIB# AI98331