GIV-7 Masonic Arch – Eagle Flask “Candy Cane”

Provenance: Sandor P. Fuss Collection

Proudly on gallery display is this striking GVI-7 Masonic-Eagle pint flask with profuse amethyst striations that is affectionately referred to as “The Candy Cane,” “Candy Striped” or “Barber Pole” flask. Surprisingly, there are two existing examples of this flask that are as expected, slightly different with the swirls but essentially the same. Both examples are wonderful and have no weak points and both could have been made at the same time and perhaps by the same hand. Both have lengthy provenance and “stories” that make this American historical flask one of the greatest and most desirable.

In the McKearin American glass historical flask charts, the “heavy Masonics” are considered to be the GIV-1 through GIV-15 examples. Most glass scholars and collectors believe them to be one of America’s first historical flasks, that were made during or just after the War of 1812. Based on research and archaeological digs, heavy Masonic flasks have been attributed to New England and the Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks in Keene, New Hampshire, the New England Glassworks in Temple, New Hampshire, and the Mt. Vernon Glassworks in Vernon, New York.

Most Masonic flasks were manufactured between the years 1810 and 1830 in the United States during the period American Freemasonry, which was considered both a fraternal and patriotic organization, was at its zenith, During this period, it was not unusual for Masonic lodges to meet in local taverns or in rooms rented for the occasion. Following the meeting, the brethren would customarily assemble for a “festive board” or collation, at which toasts were offered and libations consumed. As likely as not, Masonic flasks came into use at this time.

Masonic flasks, like other flasks, are bottles whose cross-section is elliptical or ovate, whose convex or flat sides rise to a shoulder or taper into a narrow short neck, and whose volume range from half-pint to quart. There are some fifty-one (51) varieties of Masonic flasks, bearing a combination of thirty-one (31) different symbols commonly associated with Freemasonry. Quite a few of these symbols can be found on our GIV-7 flask.

The obverse side of the GIV-7 Masonic Eagle flask has two columns rising from a mosaic pavement consisting of 28 bricks in rows of 8, 8, 4, 4, and 4. Connecting the columns is a curved archway with a central keystone. Below the keystone is an all-seeing-eye surrounded by rays. Below the rays and the eye is an open book with a compass and square forming a diamond shape. Between the columns is a radiant triangle enclosing a “G.” At the left of the columns is a trowel above a skull and crossbones. Above the trowel and to the left of the keystone is a blazing sun with rays. Below the pavement, is a beehive to the right and a crossed level and plumb line to the left. To the right of the columns is Jacob’s Ladder ascending to a radiant quarter moon with three stars above and three stars below. The stars appear as dots.

The reverse of the flask reflects a pronounced embossed eagle with its head facing to the left. Above the eagles head is a banner or ribbon containing heavy crimping. The eagle has a breast shield with twelve dots at the top, three rows of four each representing a star. The right eagle wing is foreshortened to give the eagle a more three-dimensional appearance. There are three arrows or thunderbolts in the right talon and an olive branch in the left talon. Below the eagle is an embossed beaded oval frame that contains an eight-pointed star.

The pint flask has a tooled lip and pontil mark. The flask sides are vertically ribbed with five ribs. Known colors are light green, medium green, and emerald green which are considered rare. Yellow-green, blue-green, and dark blue-green are very rare; and clear with amethyst streaks is extremely rare.

The image below is a comparison of the two GIV-7 Masonic Arch-Eagle “Candy Cane” pint flasks. The left example resides in an east coast collection and is ex Dr. Gertrude Bilhuber, George Austin, and Jim Hagenbuch. The right museum example is ex George McKearin, Betty McKearin, Charles Moore, and Jimmy Chebalo. Please note that the two flasks were photographed in different eras and by different hands and using different photographic equipment.

Primary Image: The GVI-7 Masonic-Eagle pint flask imaged by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio 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: Reference to Bottle Collecting A Chautauqua *Candy-Canes & Candy-Stripes & Barber-Poles* by Chris Hartz in Bottles and Extras, January-February 2019

Support: Reference to Mason Flasks – Pieces of History by Charles I. Bukin

Secondary Images: Auction Lot 1: Masonic Arch And Emblems – Eagle Historical Flask, New England, 1815-1830. Profusely striated rich emerald green, tooled mouth – pontil scar, pint; (mold seam roughness on medial rib has been ground, exterior high point wear). GIV-7 Comparatively scarce and extremely beautiful. A real zinger! Fine condition. Robert and Janice Weekes collection. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #167

Secondary Images: Auction Lot 147: Masonic Arch And Emblems – Eagle Historical Flask, New England, 1815-1830. Bright yellow-green with deep puce striations from top to bottom, tooled mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear). GIV-7 A comparatively scarce flask with a visually appealing combination of colors. Strong mold impression. Fine condition. One of a kind!. Dr. Gary and Arlette Johnson collection. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #158

Secondary Images: Auction Lot 170: Masonic Arch And Emblems – Eagle Historical Flask, probably Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks, Keene, New Hampshire, 1815-1830. Brilliant clear green, large tooled mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light exterior high point wear). GIV-7 A heavy and crude early flask with a strong mold impression. Fine condition. – Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #158

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