“Zachary Taylor” – Corn stalk Flask

Provenance: Anonymous

Our example of a GI-74 Zachary Taylor / Rough And Ready” And Bust – “Corn For The World” And Cornstalk portrait flask is considered rare in any color. This puce example is extraordinary and considered extremely rare. The flask was made at Baltimore Glass Works circa 1850 and was No. 34 on McKearin’s list of Most Desirable Flasks, in any color.

When looking at the flask, the obverse displays an embossed profile bust of General Zachary Taylor in uniform facing right. The uniform has five buttons on the jacket breast with a distinct rectangular collar and an ornamental shoulder piece or epaulet on the coat. ‘ZACHARY TAYLOR’ is embossed in a semi-oval above the portrait and ‘ROUGH & READY’ is embossed in a concave semi-oval below the Taylor bust.

Zachary Taylor was our12th president of the United States, serving from March 1849 until his early death in July 1850. Taylor previously was a career officer in the United States Army, rising to the rank of major general and becoming a national hero as a result of his victories in the Mexican–American War. He was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army in 1808 and made a name for himself as a captain in the War of 1812. He climbed the ranks, establishing military forts along the Mississippi River, and entered the Black Hawk War as a colonel in 1832. His success in the Second Seminole War attracted national attention and earned him the nickname “Old Rough and Ready.”

What is interesting about this mold is the high degree of craftsmanship and skill used on the Zachary Taylor portrait which gives the illusion of sculptural art. This portrait bust is much more detailed than some of the sketch-like images on similar flasks like the GI-73 and GI-77. Most mold makers relied on getting a likeness or caricature of their subject and used a uniform and hairstyle to complete the look. This coupled with the embossed person’s name and raised glass refractive properties were enough to project a likeness and complete the mold.

The reverse of the flask displays an embossed image of a tall corn stalk with the phrase ‘CORN FOR THE WORLD’ embossed in a horseshoe shape above and around the corn stalk. The detail on the corn stalk is the polar opposite of the front of the flask portrait detail. The Corn for the World slogan was a marketing boast for Baltimore’s harbor and commerce related to the export shipping of grain and corn.

The edges of the pint flask have three vertical ribs with a heavy medial rib. The flask has a plain lip and a pontil mark. The flasks can also be found with sheared mouths.

Although the GI-74 is listed in many glass colors, all are either very rare to extremely rare. The colors listed are aqua, pale green, light green, apricot, yellow-olive, puce, and cornflower which are considered very rare. Clear, golden amber, copper-puce, dark olive green, amethyst, burgundy, sapphire blue, and topaz are considered extremely rare.

The GI-74 Zachary Taylor / Rough And Ready” And Bust – “Corn For The World” And Cornstalk portrait flask on the right page below was from the Bill and Leah Pollard Collection Auction on March 16, 1996. It was described as a brilliant sapphire blue and unique in color. It was also noted as ex Mrs. C. Warner collection; ex George Austin collection.

There were two (2) GI-74 Taylor – Corn Stalk flasks auctioned in the Edmund & Jane Blake Collection of American Historical Flasks by Norman C. Heckler in 1983. One was yellowish-olive and the second was apricot. The provenance on the second one was noted from Donald Johnson, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1971. A family note said, “This bottle formerly belonged to the Dodge family, of motor car fame. When the family built and furnished Meadow Brook Hall located in suburban Detroit, they styled it after several of the great manors and castles of Europe. This bottle decorated that hall.”

Primary Image: GI-74 Zachary Taylor / Rough And Ready” And Bust – “Corn For The World” And Cornstalk portrait flask imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

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

Support Images: Auction Lot 96: “Zachary Taylor / Rough And Ready” And Bust – “Corn For The World” And Cornstalk Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Aquamarine, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light high point wear). GI-74. Listed as very rare. Strong embossing. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company | Auction #115

Support Images: Auction Lot 144: “Zachary Taylor / Rough And Ready” And Bust – “Corn For The World” And Cornstalk Portrait Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1840. Brilliant copper puce with apricot tones, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (just a hint of exterior high point wear). GI-74 Bold embossing, stunning color, and listed as a very rare mold. An extremely rare color. Fine condition. Dr. Gary and Arlette Johnson collection. Estimate: $10,000 – $20,000. Price Realized: $45,630 – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company

Support Image: GI-73 (left page) and GI-74 (right page), The Bill and Leah Pollard Collection Premier Baltimore Flasks and Fine Bottles – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company | Auction No. 34, March 16, 1996

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