The French-American Origins of Mechanized Glass Cutting,
1850-1880: Jean-Pierre Colné, Rediscovered

Ian Simmonds.
Journal of Glass Studies, The Corning Museum of Glass.
Volume 55, 2013.
This article presents Jean-Pierre Colné's thirty year long development of glass cutting machinery, and is illustrated with glass cut by his machinery.
    Colné and his family moved to New York in 1848, following his earlier career at Baccarat. He received his first United States patent for Machinery for Cutting Glass in 1851. His machinery was used for at least five years at the Vesey Street factory of Joseph Stouvenel and Brothers to cut blanks that had been mold blown to his specifications at the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company.
    After failing to establish a new factory in La Salle, Illinois, Colné returned to his inventions in the early 1870s, exhibiting at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878 — his exhibition at the latter being a frequent topic in his son, Charles', official report on glass at the exposition. Colné's machinery was ultimately licensed to Le Val Saint Lambert of Belgium in 1880 whose management reported on its use for at least a dozen years.
    This article includes a detailed explanation of how the machinery worked and how it could be used to cut a wide variety of patterns, as well as a short history of the firm of Joseph Stouvenel and Brothers.
Mr Garvan's Extraordinary Turtle
Ian Simmonds.
Antique Bottle and Glass Collector.
January 2013, pp. 30-33.
Among the more unusual items in the collection of American glass donated to Yale University Art Gallery in 1930 by Francis Garvan is a glass turtle made by adding legs, a spine and a tail to a mold blown flask—an emerald green Dyottville Ship Franklin and Agricultural and Masonic flask, cataloged by the McKearins as GIV-34.   To celebrate the first display of this famous whimsy in over forty years, I interviewed curators at Yale to find out more about Garvan, his turtle, and the process of including it in their major new installation of Yale's American Art collection. The new display opens to the public on December 12, 2012.(Full article to follow ...)
From Objects to G Numbers via Index Cards:
Helen McKearin’s Classification of Blown Three Mold Glass

Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 212, Fall/Winter 2008, pp. 12-21.
Manufactured between about 1815 and 1835, Blown Three Mold is one of the more distinctive products of early American glasshouses. (See this for further examples)   This article explains how Helen McKearin went about classifying this glass, including the role of a box of index cards which, among other things, helps reveal some important likely errors. (Full article ...)
The Falling of the Chandelier in the House of Representatives, 1840.
Found by Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 210, Spring 2008, pp. 10-11.
The tragic tale of an enormous American-made cut glass chandelier that hung all-too-briefly in the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.
    A fine example of the stories waiting to be stumbled upon while digging through old newspapers. (Full article ...)
[Ad for Lyons Hotel, Philadelphia, 1835-36].
Jane Spillman / Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 210, Spring 2008.
A remarkable ad found in DeSilver's Philadelphia Directory & Stranger's Guide, 1835-6 illustrating a wide variety of glass that was most likely made in Philadelphia at about that time. (Full article ...)
More Puzzling: Larger Objects Patterned in Smaller Molds.
Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 209, Autumn 2007.
A discussion of how and why glass bubbles that had received both a pattern and form in full-sized, hinged, multi-part molds were subsequently expanded and reshaped to create objects of a larger size and different shape. Written as a response to a question in an earlier Bulletin about certain club-shaped decanters that had received their patterns in smaller barrel-shaped, hinged, multi-part molds. The article presents evidence from other Blown Three Mold objects and from period sources. (Full article ...)
Henry Clay’s Sherry Decanters
Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 207, Spring 2007.
The story of a previously unpublished pair of decanters presented to Henry Clay, one of 19th Century America’s greatest statesmen. The decanters feature extremely rare cut lettering including the letters “H.C.” This article attributes the decanters to the Sweeneys of Wheeling. The Sweeneys made similar glass with broad flute cutting and are known to have presented glass to Clay. The decanters are in the collection of Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, in Lexington, Kentucky. (Full article ...)
Not Bakewell circa 1835, but Sandwich circa 1880
Ian Simmonds.
The Glass Club Bulletin of The National American Glass Club.
Number 201, Spring/Summer 2005, p. 19.
Published in the wake of the groundbreaking exhibition of Bakewell glass at the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh early in 2005, this is a reminder that early 19th Century cut motifs were revived late in the 19th Century. The illustrated pitcher featuring “strawberry diamonds” is an example of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company’s Fryer pattern. (Full article ...)