GV-4 • “Success To The Railroad” and Horse and Cart Historical Flask
GV – 4
“Success To The Railroad” and Horse and Cart
Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks
Keene, New Hampshire
Yellow Olive Pint
Provenance: Chris Bubash Collection
The GV-4 “Success to the Railroad Horse and Cart” flask is similar to the adjacent GV-3 flask display as the lettering and feature embossing is nearly identical in form and placement but shows a lighter cutting in the mold. The biggest difference is that the mane does not show on the neck of the horse. The GV-4 mold is charted as rare and considerably harder to find than either the GV-3 or GV-5 molds.
See the museum example of a GV-3 Success to the Railroad flask.
See the museum example of a GV-5 Success to the Railroad flask.
The obverse flask side of our pint yellow-olive museum flask has designs on oval panels. There is an embossed horse pulling a cart to the left on a rail. The cart is filled with kegs. The side of the cart is subdivided into six quadrangle panels containing a pattern of ribs radiating from a central dot. Only a portion of a panel appears over each wheel. The bottom of the wagon box runs parallel with the horizontal wheel spokes forming double lines through the wheels. Embossed in large serifed letters is ‘SUCCESS TO THE RAILROAD’ reading in a concave semicircle from the bottom of the panel around the horse and cart to the bottom of the other side of the panel. The “O” in “TO” is in the angle of the rail and tie. The “A” in “RAIL” is not connected at the bottom with the “I” as in GV-3 and the “A” and “D” of “ROAD” are not connected.
The reverse embossed image is similar to the obverse but the “O” in “TO” is at the end of the rail. The “RA” in “RAILROAD” is connected at the bottom. The “IL” is in a different position and there is a slight difference in some of the letters. The wheels of the cart have eight spokes. The end of the rail at the right is angled. As on the obverse side, the bottom of the wagon box runs parallel with the horizontal wheel spokes forming double lines through the wheels. The mane is also lacking on the neck of the horse.
Our subject pint has a plain slightly flared plain lip and a pontil mark. There are three vertical ribs on the flask sides with a heavy medial rib. You can find this flask in yellow-olive, yellow old amber, yellow-olive amber, aquamarine, olive-amber, yellow-green and olive green.
The flask is attributed to the Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks in Keene, New Hampshire circa 1830 to 1850. The glassworks opened under the direction of Henry Schoolcraft and his two partners in 1815 and continued in operation under a bewildering variety of operating firms for the next 35 years. Although the vast majority of the plant’s products appear to have been unmarked, the factory made several flasks embossed with the initials of an owner or the location name—all of which may be closely dated.
While the “Success to the Railroad” GV-2 flask in our museum pictures a “steam locomotive,” this museum example of a GV-4 pint “Success to the Railroad” flask features a “horse and cart railroad” on both sides. During the throes of the Industrial Revolution, there were horses pulling carts on rails as the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad ran on horsepower. Eventually steam would win over and transportation would be changed forever.
The railroad or railway, both the horse-and-cart type and the steam locomotive, inspired many early American flask designs. Of the fourteen railroad flasks charted, the slogan “Success to the Railroad” appears on seven.
The illustration segment above is from David C. Johnson’s lithograph of the “Granite Railway” operating out of Quincy, Massachusetts. The railway, which opened on October 7, 1826, was the first in the United States. Horse-drawn carts carried the granite block for the Bunker Hill Monument 2 ¾ miles from the quarry to Neponset River.
Support: Reference to American Bottles and Flasks and Their Ancestry by Helen McKearin and Kenneth M. Wilson, Crown Publishers, New York, 1978.
Primary Image: The GV-4 “Success to the Railroad” Horse and Cart flask imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio
Support Image: Auction Lot 11: “Success To The Railroad” And Horse And Cart Historical Flask, Keene Marlboro Street Glassworks, Keene, New Hampshire, 1830-1850. Greenish aquamarine, sheared mouth – pontil scar, pint; (light interior stain, minor exterior high point wear). GV-4 Very strongly embossed. Brilliant color. Fine condition. Rare. – Norman Heckler Jr. & Sr., Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #110
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