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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Bellflower Pattern Glass

American glass factories produced almost five hundred different glass patterns between 1850 and 1890. Collectors, therefore, have a wide choice. Some prefer the early designs of the 1850's pressed in the resonant flint glass which Sand wich and other New England houses favored. Others concentrate on patterns reflecting contemporary American life, such as the Liberty Bell, Westward Ho, and Horseshoe patterns, which were inspired by the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

Among the rare early patterns, Bellflower easily holds first place. Made from about 1855 to 1863, it originated at Sandwich during the later years of Deming Jarves' management. Jarves severed connections with the Boston f~ Sandwich Glass Company in 1858 but established his Cape Cod Glass Works soon afterward and continued to produce Bellflower, along with other patterns of the period, in both clear and colored glass.

Bellflower was made only of flint glass, but the Cape Cod area was not its sole provenance. Trade catalogues of the late 1880's show pitchers and other ware in this pattern made by 1V'Kee Brothers of Pittsburgh. However, the general effect of these was more mechanical and considerably less graceful than similar pieces made at Sandwich.

Bellflower itself was not a new decorative motif. It had been popular a half-century before as an inlay design of Hepplewhite and Sheraton furniture, especially that made by Baltimore cabinetmakers. That it lent itself pleasantly to a pattern glass design is shown by this assortment which is part of a well appointed table service in glass of a hundred years ago. Left to right, the pieces are a syrup jug, caster, covered butter dish, high standard covered compote, covered candy jar, goblet, and berry bowl.

Other pieces of the service might include three sizes of bowls, cake plate, celery holder, high standard open compote, cream pitcher, decanters, egg cups, honey dishes, preserve dishes, oval and footed sugar bowls, six-inch plates, water tumblers, whiskey tumblers, and wine glasses. Lamps and mugs were also made in this pattern.

Among the rarities today are covered salt dishes with beaded-edge bases, three-inch honey dishes with scallop and point edge, cake plates on standard, and any dishes in color, especially the sapphire blue favored by Jarves.

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