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Culture:German or Bohemian
Date Made:1780-1820
Type:Food Service
Materials:non-lead glass
Place Made:Germany or Bohemia
Measurements:overall: 6 1/8 x 4 3/8 in.
Accession Number:  HD 1600
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Plain colorless, blown glass tumbler with tapered sides and ground pontil mark. Much of this style of glass had been attributed to Henry William Stiegel's glassworks; however, America primarily relied on imported glass in the 17th and 18th centuries, and after the Revolution, German and Bohemian glass factories quickly found a large market here. Glassmakers in Bohemia and the German states used a lightweight, non-lead glass for their products, which was cheaper than similar English and Irish wares, despite higher transportation costs. Many were shipped through Hamburg, and thus were described as German. Tumblers and beakers begin to appear in Connecticut Valley estate inventories after the Revolution (usually two or more listed), many decorated with crudely engraved floral designs. These items were imported from New York and Boston by Connecticut Valley merchants beginning about 1770. Frederick Rhinelander (1743-1805), a New York ceramics and glass merchant, supplied Valley merchants with similar tumblers during the 1770s, and the Deerfield firm of Williams and Upham bought tumblers and wine glasses from Burling and Haviland of New York City in 1783. Similarly decorated tumblers also appear in two illustrated glass catalogues dating around 1800 (now in the Winterthur Museum library), which were discovered on Gardiner's Island, New York, where they had a long history of ownership; the catalogues have 217 ink-and-wash illustrations of glass objects and chandeliers captioned in German. The catalogues were probably given to an American merchant by a German glass manufacturer or glasshouse agent; the name "Johannes Schiefner," a resident of Parchen, Bohemia, is inscribed on one of the accompanying price lists. Schiefner has been linked to an international export and commission business in 1805; one of his employees, Franz Anton Zahn, sold glass on commission for him from 1791-1793. George Sheldon donated a tumbler to PVMA described as: "Glass Quart Tumbler.... belonged to Persis (Hoyt) Sheldon, born Feb. 28, 1747; married, June 12, 1769, John Sheldon; died Nov. 2, 1829. Grandmother of the donor."

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