Cathedral Pickle Jar – Hexagonal

Provenance: Lou Pellegrini Collection

Bottles and jars that are intended for bulkier solid food items such as preserved pickles, vegetables, fruits, etc., typically have a relatively wide mouth in order to facilitate the packing as well as extraction of the product. This is evident in the mid-19th century “cathedral” pickle bottles so-called for their Gothic design.

Our cathedral pickle jar is in a citron green glass color with darker olive green mottling and striations. The container has a hexagonal body with curved shoulders. There is a wide collar rib at the base of the short wide cylindrical neck with a round collar. There is a smooth base with a concave disk.

Each side of the bottle has a recessed vertical Gothic window with an ogival or arced top. Pointed Lancet arches are used on cathedral pickle bottles to create narrow verticle Lancet window panels. In this case, six (6) equal panels make up this hexagonal jar while most cathedral bottles and jars have four (4) sides.

In architecture, semicircular arches, most often used in Romanesque architecture, did not offer much support. The introduction of the Gothic pointed arches redirected the pressure from horizontal to vertical, allowing architects to design thinner and taller walls. Again in architecture, such windows provided very little light, so you usually see them in groups of two or more. The group may be surmounted by a single molding with each window separated with a mullion. This characteristic is represented on our bottle sides.

There is a second lower ogival arch with tracery which comes in different patterns. The earlier forms were simple and made up of geometrical figures while later designs were more complex. Foils were based on the number of leaves such as a trefoil, quatrefoil, cinquefoil, and multifoil. Our jar is accented with an embossed trefoil within each ogival.

Bottle sizes vary and come in a wide range of colors. The example below is approximately 3 quarts, 7 ounces, 13-1/8″ tall by about 4 7/8″ inches wide.

There are surviving gerkins labels from jars that were advertised from 1856 to 1870. Gherkins, or baby pickles, are small cucumbers, typically 1 inch to 5 inches in length, often with bumpy skin, which are typically used for pickling. The word gherkin comes from early modern Dutch, gurken or augurken for “small pickled cucumber.”

Support: Reference to Ketchup Pickles Sauces – 19th Century Food in Glass by Betty Zumwalt

Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers Inc., New York, 1978.

Support Image: Lot 311: Cathedral Pickle Bottle, America, 1860-1880. Hexagonal with fancy cathedral arches, pale cornflower blue, applied round collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 13 5/8 inches; (1/8 inch flake on edge of mouth). Similar to Zumwalt pg. 455, #3 Wonderful color and exterior surface. Generally fine condition. Dr. Charles and Jane Aprill collection. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler Auctions

Support Image: Lot 45: Cathedral Pickle Bottle, America, 1860-1880. Hexagonal with fancy cathedral arches, medium to deep bluish-green, applied round collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 12 7/8 inches. Similar in form and construction to Zumwalt pg. 455, top right Rare and wonderful rich color with attractive surface swirls from top to bottom. Fine condition. Dr. Charles and Jane Aprill collection. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler Auctions

Support Image: Lot 41: Cathedral Pickle Bottle, America, 1870-1890. Hexagonal with fancy cathedral arches, brilliant yellow, applied round collared mouth – smooth base, ht. 11 3/8 inches. Similar in form and construction to Zumwalt pg. 455, top center Extremely rare and beautiful color rarely encountered in this type of bottle. Fine condition. Special! Color, size, condition, and presence. Dr. Charles and Jane Aprill collection. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler Auctions

Support Image: Cathedral Pickle Bottle, Dark Green, FOHBC Virtual Museum, Lou Pellegrini collection.

Support Image: Cathedral Pickle Bottle, Cornflower Blue, FOHBC Virtual Museum, Lou Pellegrini collection.

Support Image: Hexagonal cathedral pickle jars in a range of colors from aqua to green. – Bill Errera collection.

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