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River-Boat Glass Ware
A type of glass belonging solely to the Pittsburgh area is the so-called River-boat ware. This heavy, pillar-molded glass was sold for river boats, barrooms, hotels, and even for use in homes. The glass was made from a lead formula resulting in clarity and resonance. Although most pieces were of dear metal, there were some colored ones. Because of its weight, River-boat glass was sturdy and well adapted to hard use.
To obtain the thick-pillared design, the gather was cooled slightly and redipped into the pot. It was then blown into a deeply cut mold. This allowed the pattern to appear on the outside while the inside remained smooth. Finally each piece was fire-polished (rotated briefly over flames), to remove any sharp mold marks. While blown glass continued to be made in the Midwest after the Civil War, it was replaced in most glasshouses by pressed ware. This could be made cheaply enough to be within the reach of everybody.
The collector interested in River-boat glass can have fun searching for it in the towns along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from Pittsburgh to New Orleans.It is becoming very hard to find, and can fetch a good price. Since it was designed for rougher usage than the thin blown ware, the possessor can feel free to put it to daily use.