Bottles/Flasks and the New London Glassworks
PART 2....OTHER BOTTLES & GLASS MADE IN NEW LONDON
by Rick Ciralli
The other bottle that bears the UNION GLASS WORKS NEW LONDON name is an early squatty soda bottle. It undoubtedly came in several colors but the only color I have seen and handled is aqua. This is a smooth based example with a blobby lip.
In the New London Chronicle, reported on August 13, 1863 was news of yet another acquisition in that glassmaking area. The works near Fort Trumbell that had been idle had been purchased and was to be operated by William Barry & Nathan S. Fish who managed the works. It was called the THAMES GLASS WORKS CO. Believe it or not, with all of the mystery surrounding the facts in the area, there was a clear list of glassblowers reported in the Norwich Weekly Courier, most noteably John J. Squire who's name was immortalized on several variants of a rare & desireable fruit jar. These jars have a few different tops that were also embossed Pat'd Oct 18th, 1864. One of the noteable features of the 1st variant shown is the round feet at the base. It also has square peg-like sections blown into the lip. On the other variant shown, is the same unusual lip area with square peg-like sections blown out from the mold.
As far as we know, the only known glass article with the name THAMES GLASS WORKS CO. is the ultra rare & unique insulator. According to Connecticut's own Doug McGillvary, this was found in a barn sale in the New London area for $1.00. It was in the collection of the late Tom Moulton of Florida. Tom mailed me a disk with the following pictures and I met him personally at the Keene show a few years ago. He was a complete gentleman and I was saddened to hear of his recent passing. I should note that the earliest source of reference to this unique insulator that has come across my path is a rare article written by Charlie Gardner for American Collector, Vol. No. 11, New York dated May 17, 1934. I believe Charlie's research and notes are what started the current information that is available in some of our archived books such as Kenneth Wilson's New England Glass & Glass Making and of course, the McKearin's works. To the best of my knowledge, this unique insulator remains the only known example and is a treasure in the chronicles of Connecticut glass rarities.
In December of 1865 , it was taken over by a new firm called THE FORT TRUMBELL GLASSWORKS. The officers included D.S. Calhoun, N.Hendricks, J.R. Gilbert & H.G. Foster. I must mention the fact that J.R. Gilbert is Jasper Gilbert who was an influential businessman in Connecticut glass history. He had ties to the Coventry, Willington & Ellenville operations also! His name appears on a stock certificate formerly in the Gardner collection and now in the Wheaton museum. I also have an original document with his signature dated in 1814 when he was investing in a silk mill in Mansfield, CT.
Again, the only known bottle with this embossing is the extremely rare cylinder 5th.which resembles the molds used at Willington & Ellenville since there was a connection to all three. I have handled (2) different colors in yellow and old-amber. This only comes smooth base and with a tooled sloping collar but remains another rarity. There is also a very attractive add from this glassworks showing some of the products made there...
Without a doubt, as was the case at just about every period glasshouse, there was a tremendous need for glass bottles to hold our medicines, cures, etc... We know orders were filled for Perry Davis's Pain Killer, Dr. Ford's Pectoral Syrup & Hyatt's Infalliable Life Balsam. Many other medicines are known to have been blown there and the following are some that are all pontiled.
R.M. BURWELL/NEW HAVEN
A.E. WITTEMORE'S EYE WASH/ESSEX, CONN
DR THOMPSON'S EYE WATER/NEW LONDON, CONN
DR JACOB'S BITTERS/S.A. SPENCER/NEW HAVEN, CONN
DR. J.V. WILSON/NORWICH, CONN
C.F. COLLINS/KALLOCRINE FOR THE SKIN AND HAIR/MIDDLETOWN, CONN
MYERS AM ROCK ROSE/NEW HAVEN
ABL MYERS AM/ROCK ROSE/NEW HAVEN
DR WOODWORTH'S SARSAPARILLA/BIRMINGHAM, CT
CROCKERS UNION BOOT POLISH/NORWICH, CONN
Below are a few of the rare colored pontiled examples. The A.B.L. MYERS AM/ROCK ROSE/NEW HAVEN is a classic in the colored pontiled medicine category as is the CROCKERS UNION BOOT POLISH//NORWICH, CONN. These have some pretty good provenance also being ex-Gardner & ex-Mebane. The MYERS has a special added label typed by Ol' Charlie himself and the CROCKERS was sold through the noted Mebane collection and Glassworks auctions.
And lastly, we often hear about the end of the day whimsies that the glassblowers made that were usually gifts for special people. Oddly enough, when you hear the term lilly-pad decorated you usually don't associate anything of the sort to Connecticut but there is a pretty good trail of evidence that shows the following handled picture was made in the New London glassworks area.
There is also a rare candlestick with a period dime inserted in the stem. Don't count on seeing these at a bottle show soon!
So as you can see, there are lots glass items that were produced at this short-lived area. The examples that have survived the test of time are highly collectible and cherished by those individuals. I have been very fortunate to have acquired some great examples and I would like to express my thanks to Mark Vuono & Norman Heckler Sr for permission to use photos from their collections as well. We all share in our passion and love for the old glass and Connecticut's history is full of great rarities. The New London area of glassmaking is both interesting, mysterious and highly collectible. I always say, Knowledge is Power.
Rick Ciralli is an avid collector, dealer and independent scholar. He is a member of the Somers Antique bottle club, the National Bottle Museum, The F.O.H.B.C., The Manchester, Willington & Coventry historical societies. He is also a member of the Museum of Connecticut glass and is a consultant to the New England glass exhibit at old Sturbridge village. He is also the president of the Pitkin Glass works. Rick is a recognized expert on Connecticut glass and is working on a major publication entitled Connecticut Glass 1783-1873. Rick can be reached via email at email@example.com
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