If you already have American made cut glass that belonged to a grandmother or another family member, cherish it as you would any prized possession, for no more like it will ever be made. ~ John C. Roesel, June 1983
I took a lightning speed crash course in glass making in America so I would sound at least a little bit knowledgeable about the cut glass pedestal candy dish which once belonged to my great-grandmother Laura Bell INGRAM, wife of William Henderson DEMPSEY.
In 1997 we visited Jamestown, Virginia, and learned the first industry to be established in America in 1608 at the settlement was glass making. This was about all I knew before I sat down to write this post.
The first cut glass was produced in America about 1771, over 160 years later in Manheim, Pennsylvania, at the American Flint Glass Manufactory founded by William Stiegel, an immigrant from Cologne, Germany.
In 2011 my 2nd cousin Robert sent me a photo and wrote, “My mom just came in and asked if you would be interested in a glass nic-nac that belonged to your great-grandmother (Fred Rothwell Dempsey’s mother). My mom says that she got it from my grandmother (Edith Roop Ramsey).”
I was happy to receive the “nic-nac” Robert sent by mail across America and the Atlantic, carefully packed and double boxed.
Laura died in October 1940 so I can date this cut glass pedestal candy or compote bowl to pre-1940. It stands 4 inches tall, 5 inches across the top, and weighs a pound, two ounces. The saw-tooth edge is scalloped and four pinwheel star patterns around the bowl and on the bottom of the pedestal.
In these days of additive manufacturing or 3D printing Mr. Roesel may be right about this being an heirloom to treasure as no more like it will ever be made (in the same way) but I cherish it for the way it came to me and because it once was lovingly cared for by my great-grandmother Laura.
© 2016 Cathy Meder-Dempsey