Held to the Highest Standard; Collecting American Blown Glass in the South Jersey Tradition

Looking inside the display case of a private collection we see many rarities of American blown glass. Each piece has been selected with discipline and reflects the connoisseurship of the collector. All of the examples in the collection were fashioned in the South Jersey tradition from bottle and window glass and many are recorded in the literature of American blown glass. The influence and growth of the New Jersey tradition stretches from Southern New Jersey through New York State, into New England. The collection depicted here focuses on form, color, and condition. In many ways it connects the dots of how the South Jersey tradition spread regionally. An intriging element of this collection is the different time periods represented along with the changing styles that visually identify one example from the other. This can be seen with the grouping and assortment of pitchers. The collection was developed by finding the best possible example in a given category or form, in the best possible condition, and held to the highest possible standard. In conclusion, it is this collector’s focus and love for his local history, combined with an eye for form, and color using a strict discipline for condition that have shaped this collection into what it is today. It is one of the most important assemblages of early American glass in the South Jersey tradition presently known.

 

“Looping”

 
These exceedingly rare matched pair of blue and white looped pitchers with matching ball covers are from the Mrs. Frederick Fish sale; auctioned by Parke Bernet, as lot 358 in 1940. One example, from the pair, is pictured in McKearin’s American Glass on plate 21, no.6. It is amazing how these pitchers have remained together over all these years. We know of no other South Jersey blue pitchers with white looping. The blue and white looped vase seen pictured in-between the two pitchers is gadrooned and was purchased by me from a dealer Mullica Hill, N.J. nearly 15 years ago. The dealer found it in a house in Bridgeton, N.J., giving some credence that it was probably made at the Bridgeton Glass Works, I would attribute this vase and ball to John “Jackie” Getzinger”, c.1845-55. It is unique and the display of the vase flanked by the two pitchers is an awesome sight to behold, there is no parallel.
 
 
Blue Sugar Bowl
 
 
The South Jersey blue sugar bowl is an early piece probably c. 1830-1840. It is amazing that the original cover is still with the bowl. This sugar bowl is pictured in McKearin’s American Glass, on plate 60, no.5. It was owned by John Tiffany Gotchen and later sold by the Arman Auction house, lot 72, J.T.G Sale, January 9. 1985. Additional provenance documents that this sugar bowl was owned by two other famous collectors, namely Neil Gest, Mechanicsburg, Ohio and Mr. & Mrs. R.C. Rolfing, Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
 
Matching Blue Vases
 
 
The pair of blue matching vases is of great collector interest. A single example is found pictured on plate 60, no.10, in American Glass by McKearinwith a label that reads, “Made at old Whitney Glass Works, Glassboro, N.J., about 1840 by Saml Lonfheune and came from Thos. Allen, Glassboro, N.J.” Interestingly enough this fine pair was found at a local South Jersey Auction in Malaga N.J, literally down the street from Glassboro.
 
 
Malaga Yellow Pocket Flask
 
 
The yellow pocket flask with applied rigaree is a unique jewel. The bottle was sold together with a letter written by a member of the family of the maker in the 1890’s saying the bottle was made by Thomas Lutz in the 1820’s at the Malaga Glass Works, Malaga, N.J. Christian Stanger Jr., the son of one of the original Wistar glass blowers, started the glass operation at Malaga.
 
 
Looped Bi-Colored Compote
 
 
The aqua compote with white looping and olive amber devices including rim, pedestal & foot, was in the 1920 Paxton sale. This compote is without question the finest looped compote known to exist. The quality of the jack work and choice of olive- amber glass used to offset the aqua is spectacular! The pedestal is associated with the work of “Jackie” Getzinger, who was known to make bi- colored glass with white looping at both the Bridgeton and Port Elizabeth Glass Works. Examples made by Getzinger are recognized as extremely rare and important. Pitchers and vases are recorded, mostly in museum collections; however, this is the only compote we know of.
 
 
Amber with White looping
 
 
The diminutive white looped amber vase with matching ball is another great rarity. Flanked by the matching decanters this arrangement formed with the best examples is spectacular. These pieces were made in Clayton NJ, around the time it was called Fislerville. The vase & ball are pictured in the book called “Down Jersey.” In one of the pictures here showing the looped glass you will see an aqua looped vase with matching ball in the center of the shelf. This vase was blown by the same gaffer that did the looped amber decanters and vase.
 
 
Swaged/ Lily Pad Beehive Salt
 
 
An amazing rarity in South Jersey decorated salts is the swaged aquamarine example from the Bourcier collection. It has a tooled “South Jersey Beehive” rim and is the only “lily pad” type design known on a beehive salt C.1840-50.
 
 
Columbia glass Works Pitcher
 
 
Close attention should be paid to the many distinct forms of pitchers & creamers in the collection. On the, top shelf, right case, far right, is the historic “Columbia” pitcher, c.1812, from New Jersey’s Columbia Glass Works with its beautiful hollow “D” shaped handle. See Glass Gaffers of New Jersey by A. Pepper, plate 1, depicting a damaged example in the Hopewell NJ historical society. The stunning specimen shown here is the only mint example known.
 
 
Double Lily Pad Creamer
 
 
One of my personal favorites in this collection is the plump little double lily pad creamer, in aqua, with an applied handle and applied crimped foot. George McKearin was lucky enough to have found and owned a similar example, but it simply does not make the statement that this one does. Double lily pad examples like this are almost impossible to find.
 
 
Mallory Town Lily Pad Compote
 
 
Another great rarity is the Mallory Town aqua lily pad compote with type 3 decoration. This example was purchased in Watertown NY several miles from the Harrisburg and Redwood glass works. The workers from these glass manufactories would daily walk across the bridge going from the Redwood Factory on the US side to the Mallory Town Glass Works in Canada. This piece is pictured on the bottom glass shelf in-between the two salts, flanked by the vases and the creamers.
 
 
Collection of South Jersey Blue Pitchers
 
 
The striking blue pitchers exemplify the South Jersey tradition at a glance. The soft blue coloration is extremely rare and beautiful as are the subtly different forms we see. There are obvious similarities between the two lighter blue specimens. Both form and color are near identical, but the neck decorations differ, one example has applied horizontal threading, the other horizontal tooling. The applied crimped foot is stylistically identical on both examples. Lastly we find the distinct question mark handles that Adeline Pepper described so well in her book The Glass Gaffers of New Jersey, “Sapphire blue, distinctive Jersey color, forms a pitcher of matchless design, a column rising from a globe, the flared rim tooled. The graceful question mark handle is symbolic of the provenance, but the color matches a handle fragment found by the author at Waterford.” This provenance Pepper mentions has to do with early Whitney Glass Works Gaffer Joel Duffield. In the book The Glass Gaffers of New Jersey, plate 7, an attributed Duffield pitcher in cobalt blue with threaded neck is pictured at the top of the page, stylistically matching the pitcher at the bottom of the page on plate 7 which is the identical pitcher, on the far right of the group pictured here. Peppers mention of the handle found at Waterford has only to do with a similarity in color; sapphire blue, which gaffers called “azure” made using copper not cobalt oxide, this assertion has nothing at all to do with the Duffield “question mark” style handle. The dark blue example in the group is very rare and was made by an entirely different gaffer, quite possibly made in Philadelphia at the glass works of Sheets and Duffy.
 
 
Lily Pad Sugar Bowl
 
 
The lily pad sugar bowl is one of the finest known in American Glass. Made at the Redford Glass Works c.1838-50, it was found in Malone NY during the 1940’s by local resident Richard Bourcier who dabbled in selling antiques. He wisely kept this sugar bowl until he was 95 years of age when it sold through Glass International’s absentee auction 13, November 30, 2006. It is the perfect example in proportion and form and has been known to humble on lookers with its perfection.
 
 
Grouping of Lily Pad Vases
 
 
A group of Jersey lily pad vases serves as a quick visual study in technique, style and form. Used over the years by glass blowers. The example in the center of the three is sea green, and has a low funnel foot, great type one lily pad decoration, and a pronounced banded mouth. The example on the far right is a classic form with a crimped foot that is seldom found on lily pad vases. Note the lily pads on the far right example are quite similar to those found on the smaller sea green example. Lastly we see the diminutive vase on the far left, in a nice aqua color, having more of a low swag than a type one lily pad. It is a charming little piece.
 
 
South Jersey Aqua Swirl Barrel Mug
 
 
A major rarity in the collection is the 18th century broken swirl barrel mug in the 19 rib pattern with corrugated handle. It is the only 18th century broken swirl mug barrel mug known, probably made at Glassboro. We have made a study of 19 rib pattern molded forms, noting a similarity in color and style, and the fact that similar examples are known using the 32 rib pattern. Also pictured is a miniature Colonial American candle stick 2 3/8”h., in light green, it is pictured on plate 28, no.11 in McKearin’s American Glass  along withseveral Wistar pieces. This 18th century miniature candlestick is an amazing piece of American lighting!
 
 
Bell Footed Pattern Molded 32 Rib Creamer
 
 
The extremely rare pine cone shaped creamer, pattern molded in 32 ribs, with a lovely bell foot, was found years ago, filthy dirty, in a cabinet of an old salt box home in Elmer NJ. Another pattern molded example in this identical form but with a different foot is presently in the Corning Museum. This creamer was made at Port Elizabeth c.1799-1810; it is a great example showing the distinct forms found in early Jersey creamers. Next to it we see the one and only” Geo Eagle” pitcher (George Eagle) made from the soda bottle mold, probably produced at the Union Glass Works in Philadelphia, or a South Jersey factory, c. 1838-45. This is a masterpiece of early American Glass nothing more nothing less.
 
 
 
A selection of important colonial American glass from the Wistarburg Glass Factory circa 1738-1782.
 
 
 
We hope you have enjoyed seeing the glass in this collector’s case. We will be adding more photos and descriptions in the not too distant future.
John