A pitcher and large bowl made in the Boston area in the 1820s highlight the esthetics, technology and economics of one of the more distinctively American categories of early nineteenth century glass.
Both pieces received their pattern in the same three part, hinged, decanter-shape mold before being further shaped by the glassblower into their final form.
While the lower part of the pitcher retains the size and shape of the decanter mold, the bowl was dramatically reshaped, with its pattern becoming ever more elongated and diffuse toward its edge.
Reshaping took extra time and money. In an 1829 invoice, molded quart decanters in a cornucopia pattern cost 15c each while corresponding pitchers were 26c, fully 75 percent more. The extra cost covered the labor for the shaping of the pitcher’s neck and the attachment of a handle, an operation that required an additional worker.
The result was glass with elaborate decoration at a fraction of the cost of the fashionable cut glass that it emulated - an ideal product for the American market.