Giv-34 Masonic – Frigate and “Franklin” Flask

Provenance: Anonymous

Thomas W. Dyott was the American patent-medicine king, glassmaker, temperance advocate, and reformer. Born in England in 1771, Dyott started out as a druggist’s apprentice in London and came to America arriving in Philadelphia in the 1790s. He was close to penniless and rented a basement room where by day he polished shoes and by night manufactured shoeblack.

In 1807, Dyott opened a drugstore, added “M.D.” to his name, and soon became the largest dealer of what he called ‘Family Medicines’ in the country. Among his better-selling products were his Dyott’s Infallible Worm Destroying Lozenges and Vegetable Nervous Cordial. Advertising said he was the grandson of the late celebrated Dr. Robertson of Edinburgh. He sold his medicines wholesale and retail at the proprietor’s Medical Dispensary, No. 116 North Second-Street, “second door above Race-Street, Philadelphia, and by retail, of the agents in every principal town in the United States.” By 1819, Dyott had grown into the largest patent medicine supplier in the country.

In 1833, Thomas Dyott purchased the Kensington Glass Works in Philadelphia, where he eventually employed 400 workers to make the bottles for his many medicines. Here he found an outlet for his Utopian ambitions. No liquor was permitted in Dyottville, or “Temperanceville,” as the factory community was called, although the “doctor’s” own medicines had a high alcoholic content. Workers rose to a daylight bell, had set times for baths, were served refreshments during breaks, and after supper and an hour’s leisure attended night school and prayers.

Thomas W. Dyott founded the Manual Labor Bank in 1836 and saw it fail in 1838 thanks to the Panic of 1837 and a good dose of fraud on his own part. When his empire collapsed, he placed his few remaining assets with relatives and claimed bankruptcy. He was sentenced to a short term in the penitentiary. Afterward, he returned to his drugstore and rebuilt his fortune before his death on January 17, 1861.

The Kensington Glass Works output consisted of whiskey flasks, patent-medicine and pickle bottles, snuff jars, demijohns, and carboys just to name a few.

Dyott was a great entrepreneur who took advantage of political events and slogans from the times and interpreting them onto his pictorial flasks. This was a great marketing ploy that netted him great profits with his customer base and audience.

This astute merchandising is very evident on our GIV-34 flask as Thomas Dyott capitalized on the popular Masonic movement while simultaneously appealing to farmers, agricultural and related trade interests. He even managed to have his Kensington Glass Works name embossed on the flask further branding his interests. Just about every possible area on both sides of the flask was used to convey the messages. Some of his flasks even displayed his embossed portrait.

See the museum example of a GI-94 Franklin – Dyott Portrait Flask.

On what is considered the primary face of our extremely rare emerald green GIV-34 pint, you see the frigate Franklin fully-rigged and sailing to the right. The American flag is flying at the rear and a banner is flying from the mainmast. Waves are below the frigate and the word ‘FRANKLIN’ is embossed in an arc below the waves. On the edge nearest to the frigate is the embossed copy reading, ‘FREE TRADE AND SAILORS RIGHTS.’ On the edge nearest to the Masonic symbols are additional embossed words reading “KENSINGTON GLASS WORKS PHILADELPHIA.”

The Free Trade and Sailors Rights slogan came from the War of 1812 when the British Navy blockaded American ports along the east coast preventing United States merchant ships from trading and often kidnapping American sailors, forcing them to serve in the British Navy.

On what is considered the reverse side of the flask you see the embossed Masonic arch with a keystone, columns, and widely spaced bricks. Between the columns is what is known as the “Farmer’s Arms” which includes an embossed sheaf of rye, pitchfork, shovel, rake, sickle, ax, and scythe. The sheaf of rye is diagonally displayed in the front with the tools behind. Below the bricks is an ornamental scroll design.

The pint flask has a plain lip and pontil mark. The flask comes in quite a few glass colors such as aquamarine which is very common and pale-green which is common. Light blue-green is considered scarce; emerald green (yellow-tone) rare; and yellow-green, citron, olive green, and dark amber, extremely rare. A deep amber example is located in the Corning Museum of Glass.

In the Yale University Art Gallery is a unique GIV-34 turtle whimsy that used an emerald green Franklin Frigate – Masonic Arch flask. It is thought that a gaffer at Kensington Glass Works added the legs, a dorsal ridge, and a tail to transform the flask into a beguiling turtle. It was intended to be a whimsy and most likely never served a functional purpose. The piece came from the Francis Patrick Garvan collection. See additional pictures.

Support Images: Sailors’ Rights Flask (Turtle Whimsy), Kensington Glass Works, circa 1804–1833. Flask blown between 1826–1832. Mold-blown soda-lime glass, 3 ½ × 6 ½ × 8 ¾ in. Mabel Brady Garvan Collection. A gaffer at Kensington Glass Works added legs, a dorsal ridge, and a tail to transform this common flask into a beguiling turtle. It was intended to be a whimsy and most likely never served a functional purpose. The back of the turtle depicts a sailing ship, and the phrase “Free Trade and Sailors Rights,” a popular political slogan during the War of 1812, runs around the edge. The mold for this flask was made in support of the war, but this turtle was undoubtedly made later. Metal glassmaking molds were costly to produce, and manufacturers reused them as long as they could, sometimes selling outdated molds to other glasshouses. With its vivid, emerald green glass and intact legs and tail, this turtle whimsy is a rare survival. Provenance: Francis P. Garvan, New York, by 1930; by gift to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.,

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

Support: Reference to GIV-34 Masonic Frigate, No More Room – Colorful Kensington flasks are the picture of U.S. history, Mark Vuono, Antique Bottle & Glass Collector, March 2011

Support Images: Masonic/Ship Flask, Kensington Glass Works, about 1826-1828. Reddish amber glass; mold-blown; tooled lip, pontil mark. Obverse: Masonic arch, pillars, and pavement, twenty-two widely spaced bricks. Within arch “Farmer’s Arms”, a sheaf of rye, pitchfork, rake, shovel, sickle, ax and scythe. Sheaf of rye, points to right instead of left; beneath pavement elaborate scroll ornament; similar to GIV-32 except stones forming arch slightly larger and flatter. Reverse: full rigged frigate sailing to right, American flag at rear; waves beneath frigate and in semi-circle beneath “FRANKLIN”. Inscription: “KENSINGTON GLASS WORKS PHILADELPHIA” on edges of obverse; “FREE TRADE AND SAILORS RIGHTS” on edge of reverse. Edges: vertically ribbed and inscribed. – Corning Museum of Glass

Support Images: Lot 28: Masonic Arch – Frigate And “Franklin.” Historical Flask, Kensington Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1820-1840. Light blue-green, sheared mouth – tubular pontil scar, pint. GIV-34 Embossed “Free Trade And Sailors Rights”. Bold embossing, bright color, and fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler Auctions

Support Images: Lot 104: Masonic – Frigate And “Franklin.” Historical Flask, Kensington Glass Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1820-1830. Bluish aquamarine, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear). GIV-34 Strong mold impression. Fine condition. Property of The Strong, sold to benefit the museum’s collections fund. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler Auctions

Support Image: Philadelphia, PA- Manual Labor Bank Note Group. There are five notes in this group: 5¢ June 1, 1837, G34a Hoober 305-344 Portraits of Dyott, and Franklin appear on this note. Very Good-Fine, 10¢ June 1, 1837, G38a Hoober 305-346 The layout and design is the same as the 5¢ note. Your cataloger believes that the entry in Haxby for G38a is an error and was intended for this note with engraved signatures and date. Very Good, 12-1/2¢ June 1, 1837, G40a Hoober 305-347 Regrettably someone provided some ill-advised restoration to this note in the form of a tape which has now gone translucent About Good-Good, $10 Feb. 2, 1836, G14 Hoober 305-364 The main vignette of the glass blowing factory gives this note its modern nickname- “The Elvis Note.” Elvis is in the white jumpsuit to the left of the furnace. Uncirculated, $10 Sep. 1, 1837, This example is an unlisted variety with “In Philadelphia Bank Notes” appearing just below “Philadelphia” to the right of the central vignette. About Uncirculated. (Total: 5 notes) – Heritage Auctions

See More Historical Flasks

Historical Flasks Gallery

Filter by group!

Featured Stories

FOHBC Virtual Museum: Now Open Free 2020

Free Entry!

With COVID-19 canceling many events, bottle shows, and public gatherings and closing the museums that many of

Read More

HELP US FILL THE BOTTLE

Scroll to Top