Thursday, March 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday--American Brilliant Cut Glass Nappy

American Brilliant Cut Glass Period

Another heirloom piece from the estate of my maternal grandmother, Martha Marie Frederick aka Teek. I actually have several glass (actually leaded glass) serving pieces from the American Brilliant Period. This one is called a nappy. It is small, about 5 inches across, used for serving sliced lemons, olives, candy, --smaller items. I can only speculate as to the original owner of this piece. It could have been a wedding gift to my maternal grandparents (Charles Edward and Martha Frederick Stark), or it may have been owned by my maternal great grandmother (Lucinda Orr Frederick) and following her death in 1909, been passed on to her daughter, my Teek.

The American Brilliant Period began in 1876 at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia as American companies showed their stunning new wares. Up until that time there was a high demand for European glassware, however American ingenuity had developed a new "brilliant" form of glass cutting and the world's eyes now turned to American glass makers.

From this perspective you can see the various hand cut, intircate designs created by master craftsmen of the period . The nappy has pinwheels, buzz stars, fans and hobstars.

From the bottom view the depth of the cuts are visible. It is easy to see why the pieces had to be thick to incorporate such deep cuts.

By 1908, there were less and less companies in America producing Brilliant Glass. High labor costs and inexpensive pressed glass made to look like cut glass began to flood the market. During the declining years there were some skilled craftsmen who were producing some of the best designs to date. The years from 1908 to 1915 have been dubbed the Era of Super Glass.


-Boggess, Bill and Louise, American Brilliant Cut Class," Crown Publishers, New York, 1977.

-Kierkus, Christopher and Marie Kierkus,
American Brilliant Period Glass: Affordable Victorian Elegance.

-Roesel, John C.,
American Brilliant Period Glass, 1876-1917, American Cut Glass Association.

© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting post. I have one of these dishes that originally belonged to my great-grandmother's sister, but I didn't think it dated quite this far back. I wonder if mine is a "knock-off" of some kind or if it's from the real period you referenced. I store it with my china and use it as a relish dish (usually olives) at the holidays, so I'm glad to know I'm using it for the correct purpose.