Listen as curator Jane Shadel Spillman describes this glass fruit basket produced by Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. The process of pressing glass was perfected fairly quickly. By the 1840s, it was possible to press large objects without surface defects.
This fruit basket illustrates the development of the technique. The openings in the basket show that the mold was divided into several parts and that the molten glass had to be sufficiently liquid to flow into all of the openings in the mold. However, the openings, in addition to being decorative, were necessary to keep the fruit from spoiling.
The top half of the basket and the base were pressed separately and joined by a disk of hot glass. At the time this piece was made, pressed glass was common in homes all over the United States.