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A Unique Repair of Broken Goblets
All who have antiques about their homes are faced at one time or another with the repair problem. A favorite possession is broken or damaged. Can it be repaired? Will the result be worth the expense? Might the owner do it himself? Generally, except for collectors who have well-equipped workshops, genuine skill, and an ability to do work of professional quality, it is advisable to have the work done by a specialist. With a piece of furniture, a good cabinetmaker can usually repair an injured piece so well that only careful examination will disclose what has been done. The same holds with silver or pewter. China specialists accomplish wonders with their rivets, cements, and touch-up enamels.
Broken glass of course cannot be made whole again nor can cracks be eradicated. But, where a piece has a slight chip on the rim, the glass repair specialist can remove it by grinding and repolishing. Replacement stoppers for decanters can also be ground to fit. If the stem of a goblet, compote, or vase is broken, a well-fitted silver ferrule is the solution.
With all these it is assumed that the piece is important enough to warrant the expense of repair. The silver ferrule would hardly be worth while for an odd piece, but would be proper for one of a pair or of a table setting of blown or pattern glass. In the past, pattern glass would not have been considered worth while to repair as it was cheap, expendable ware. When goblet stems were broken, the footless drinking glasses were relegated for common use at well or spring or to the cemetery as flower holders.
Goblets with wooden bases were the exception. They were done about a hundred years ago by some thrifty and ingenious Yankee who had a sense of line and propor tion. The wooden bases are eight-sided and flaring for stability. He refined the design of one by adding a slightly raised band at the bottom. They are made of soft wood, one pine and the other spruce. The broken stem of the goblet was inserted in a large hole filled with common putty. When after some weeks this hardened, the owner once more had two usable goblets and their repair had cost him nothing.
Was his motive thrift or were the glasses part of a set of twelve that for family reasons were of sentimental value? They are of the Bigler pattern, a pressed glass made at Sandwich and other larger glass factories from 1840 to 1860. Their original glass stems would be similar to the perfect goblet in Flute pattern. Both were a variation of Ashburton, one of the first of the pattern designs.