When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.
is for enameled optic glassware.
The story of this glassware is short: it belonged to my paternal grandmother Julia Walsh Slade. She and my grandfather struggled financially for many years, but somehow she managed to hold on to some pretty blue glassware. Blue was her favorite color.
|My granny's lemonade glasses|
|Not my lemonade set -|
just a typical Victorian
These tumblers were probably once part of a lemonade set which would have included a pitcher. Pitchers were usually about 10” tall and tumblers 4”. Lemonade sets were very popular in the Victorian era and into the 1920s. They are selling on eBay and Etsy in all prices from $35 to over $200 depending on completeness of a set, color, condition, and of course emotion and ignorance.
There are two features to my granny’s glasses worth noting. First, the decoration. Fruit and flowers were popular subjects for artisans to apply on glass using a technique known as enameling. The paint is shiny and very hard. VERY hard - it is not easy to chip it off which is why many lemonade sets still look good after all these years. Small details like the dots are raised and easy to feel.
|Can you see the vertical optics?|
Second, the optics. Glass companies used molded shapes on the interior to add dimension and sparkle to the glass. Granny’s tumblers have a vertical optic. I am always surprised that I cannot feel the angles when I hold the glass. However, if I rub my fingers along the inside, I can feel a subtle rise and fall that give the tumbler its special look.
In addition to the tumblers is a cruet, probably used for oil or vinegar. It displays a different pattern of leaves and flowers. Unfortunately the rim of the cruet is chipped which detracts from its value.
Is this miniature pitcher not the cutest?
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.