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Glass, Post-Revolutionary Period



Glass was in great demand after the Revolutionary War, particularly imported wares. Although the new states soon protected home industries with tariffs on foreign goods, glass manutacturing was usually omitted. Nevertheless, glasshouses were built and at least one, the Boston Crown Glass Company started in 1787, succeeded. Most of the others failed.

An interesting attempt was made at "Frederick Town," Maryland. John Frederick Amelung of Bremen, Germany, built a glasshouse there and for nearly ten years the highly skilled glassblowers he brought from Germany made "all sorts of Glass Ware" from lead and soda-lime formulas. However, neither the loan he obtained from the state legislature nor the inadequate tariff on imported glass in 1789 could keep his business from failing a few years later.

The glass produced there was of outstanding quality. The engraved pieces ranked with the better glass made on the Continent. Fortunately, dated presentation pieces help authenticate other Amelung ware.

Light green free-blown ware; c. 1800s; was made at Gallatin's glasshouse, New Geneva, Penna. Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh. The collector who has the time and the money to search the area in and around Frederick could make a small collection of this lovely glass. The Metropolitan Museum of New York has several dated Amelung pieces to serve as a basis of comparison. Along with engraved Stiegel-type articles, this early glass might well form the nucleus for an historical collection of engraved ware which could even include the beautiful Steuben glass of today. (President Truman's wedding gift to Princess Elizabeth was a piece of engraved Steuben glass.)



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