Identifying Nineteenth Century New England Glass Company Paperweights
By Mary Haberstroh
The New England Glass Company was founded in 1818 by Deeming Jarves. Jarves came from a wealthy family in Massachusetts and he devoted much of his time training in glass making in Pittsburgh. The resources for making high quality glass were located nearby: the wood for fuel, sand for glass, and the means for transporting glass to sell to potential customers. Glass made by this company was sometimes referred to as Cambridge glass due to the location of the factory being in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. The New England Glass Company, like Sandwich, also made use of pressed glass instead of blown glass for plate ware and decorative glassware. Flint glass was a common type of glass but it posed a danger to the workers since it required using lead in making the glass. Soda lime eventually replaced the usage of lead in the glass, making it safer for the employees to work with. The company grew both in size and workers and by 1849, five hundred employees worked for New England Glass. Seven years later Jarves started a glass company in Sandwich, Massachusetts, and had workers from Baccarat and Saint Louis make paperweights for his company. The highest quality paperweights were made by Francois Pierre and John Hopkins in 1874.
New England Glass Company millefiori paperweight. Photo courtesy of William Pitt Paperweights.
The New England Glass company used a variety of molds for lampwork flowers and animals and millefiori canes, and at least one millefiori paperweight bears the date 1854. The glass in paperweights has a “melted sugar” appearance to it with swirl effects in the glass, which is also another feature of Sandwich paperweights. Paperweights were rarely signed but a few of them did bear dates ranging from 1852 to 1880 when paperweights were made by this company.
Some descriptions of New England Glass Company paperweights:
One paperweight has a red over white double overlay with facets on the side and top, with red and yellow canes on the interior.
A sulphide paperweight of Victoria and Albert has a dull finish to it, not a bright silver finish like the Saint Louis paperweights.
Another paperweight has the same red and white double overlay with a six petal flower facet at the top with red and yellow canes, black and white canes, and red and white canes inside the weight forming concentric circles.
A paperweight has a white latticinio background, with one cane in the center. There are three canes at the outer edge with pink and purple lampwork flowers with green leaves alternating with the canes.
Another paperweight has a purple over white double overlay in the Saint Louis style and has a cane floral bouquet in the center of the weight. The canes used in this weight are: red and white, red and yellow, and dark blue and yellow. The green leaves are lampwork, and the edge has a border of red and white, white and pink, and dark blue and white millefiori canes.
A paperweight has a white, pink, and dark blue cane in the center. Ribbons surround this center cane and they are in the following colors: white and red, white and dark blue, and solid white. The ribbons run vertically inside the weight.
Another paperweight has a white millefiori cane in the center with red and white, white, and red and blue ribbons running vertically through the weight.
A paperweight dated between 1852 and 1862 has a white cane in the center with a light blue lattice between another circle of white canes with seven light blue and dark blue canes at evenly spaced intervals outside the row of white canes.
Another paperweight has a dark red and white double overlay with facets on the top and sides. There is a large leaf-shaped facet on one side. The millefiori canes inside the weight are pink, blue, and white, laid in a design against a white latticinio background.
A paperweight with a floral spray design of white and red canes in the center and has dark green lampwork leaves. There are two circles of blue and red canes at the perimeter of the base against a tightly woven white latticinio backgrounds.
Another paperweight has a rare design of a lampwork parrot in blue, red, and green, sitting on a green branch with a white latticinio background.
A paperweight has a white latticinio background with pink pom-pom lampwork flowers and green leaves in the foreground.
Another paperweight has a yellow and orange fruit lampwork arrangement with dark green leaves against a tightly woven white latticinio background.
Some values of paperweights:
A concentric paperweight of millefiori canes in purple, aqua, blue, red, white, and yellow with heart silhouette canes against a latticinio background has facets on the side and top. Price value: $800.
Another concentric paperweight with red, white, and blue complex floral canes also has a silhouette cane of a man on a horse in the center. Price value: $800.00
A paperweight with canes of dark blue and white forming a flower in the center is surrounded by seven floral canes in white with dark blue detail. The dark blue and white canes also have a unique feature: rabbits running around the middle flower creating a very intricate cane design. Price value: $900.00
Another paperweight has nine canes making up a cross in design, and are white, red and blue in color. The parameter of the base contains a circle of white and pale blue canes. The entire design lays against a wide spaced white latticinio background. Price value: $700.00
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