Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes this desk set produced by Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. The problems involved in pressing glass were summarized by a glassmaker in 1849: “If an overplus of metal [glass] be gathered, it thickens the article throughout; but if too little, it fails to fill up the mould, and is spoiled. The chief condition of success, in getting a polished surface on pressed Glass, depends upon the moulds being kept a little short of red heat.”
In this three-piece desk set, the color is not well mixed, and the surface has fissures from contact with the mold. Nevertheless, the set, which would have graced the desk of a fashionable home, is a very rare and attractive example of the glassmaker’s craft. There are two wells for ink and a slot for a pen. The ink containers were blown in a mold rather than pressed.
Only six such sets are known.