Home :: Articles:: A Wistarburg Glass Vase, Important Discovery in American Glass

A Wistarburg Glass Vase, Important Discovery in American Glass


Although the use and manufacture of glass vases in America has been widely disputed by many early American glass scholars in the past I purchased a piece last month that contradicts those thoughts, it is a glass vase made at the Wistarburg Glass factory in Alloway, Salem County New Jersey (1739-1780). The vase was handed down in the Wistar family and was acquired from a direct descentant of Casper Wistar leaving little or no doubt to its origin. Still intact is the label attached to it when an early member of the Wistar family inventoried it as well as many other of the Wistar antiques in the early 19th century. The old label is clearly written in the early 19th century it states “Made by Casper Wistar’s Glafs works in about the year 1730”

 In the past it was commonly believed that the glass vase did not come into use in America until the 19th century. Although it was never a proven theory and not all agreed upon, up until now there had not been concrete proof of an American blown glass vase. This particular vase is made from green bottle glass and has an applied crimped and tooled base, This vase is a true relic left to us from a very early time in America. One of the other features is the way the foot was applied it was applied by adding a wide thread of glass rather than a solid piece. This technique is a purely 18th  century its use disappeared well before the start of the 19th century. The solid family history of this vase coupled with many years of "hands on" research including two recent archeological digs at the site in Alloway New Jersey will hopefully change some of those old opinions regarding vase usage in 18th century America.

 While some may argue that this is not enough to prove age and origin, glass from the site has been tested using destructive analysis. Also tested were two Chestnut bottles and the two bottles match the shards exactly. Sometime soon we will report back with the test results of the vase,It is in the opinion of the authors that it too will also be an exact match.