GVI-2 “Balto” and Monument – “Fells Point” Sloop Flask
GVI – 2
“Balto” and Monument – Sloop and “Fells Point”
Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland
Topaz Half Pint
Ships and anchors were sometimes used as motifs on American historical flasks such as the GIV-34 Masonic – Frigate and “Franklin” Flask and the GII – 66 Eagle – Anchor and “New London Glass Works” Flask to name a few.
A group of seven charted flasks has a small sloop or shallop like those used by the oysterman and fisherman of Chesapeake Bay. Six of these are half pints and one has an embossed image of an incomplete Washington Monument on the reverse. The flask can be found in stunning glass colors and is attributed to Baltimore Glass Works.
McKearin and Wilson initially suggested that these three flasks were made at the Baltimore Glass Works. One of the authors, however, dissented from this popular opinion, stating: “I now believe that it is possible, if only barely so, that the molds were made originally not for the Baltimore Glass Works but for the short-lived Baltimore Flint Glass Works.” The plant was apparently built at the foot of Fells Point in 1828 and was in operation by November. The factory closed in 1834.
This identification would also explain the purpose of a flask depicting the unfinished monument. Such a flask would have been offered to advertise the Baltimore Flint Glass Works – and made during late 1828 or 1829 – prior to the erection of the statue. McKearin and Wilson also suggested that the molds “could have been acquired by the Baltimore Glass Works when production ceased at the Fells Point glassworks.”
On what is considered the obverse side of the flask, within oval panels, is the embossed Washington Monument without the George Washington statue on top. This helps date the mold pre-1829 as there was a period when this 16-foot marble statue, carved by the Italian sculptor Henrico Cancici, was lifted with its pedestal into its present position with great ceremony on November 19, 1829, fourteen years after the base cornerstone was laid which was widely publicized throughout newspapers in the United States. When looking at the embossed monument, the entrance door is recessed and without a step railing. The embossed copy reading ‘BALT °’ occurs in a concave arch below the monument.
The landmark monument is located at Mount Vernon Place, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and originally home to the city’s wealthiest and most fashionable families. The name derives from the Mount Vernon home of George Washington. Any trip to the city is worth visiting the neighborhood as the monument is a beacon of America and the anchor emblem of many Baltimore Glass Works flasks. This was the first monument erected to commemorate George Washington in America.
See the museum example of a GI-73 “Genl Taylor” And Bust – “Fells Point / Balto” And Monument Portrait Flask
The reverse of the GVI-2 flask pictures a small embossed sloop, a sailing boat with a single mast. The sloop is flying a pennant, sailing to the right on the water. Above the sloop is embossed copy reading ‘FELLS’ in a convex arch and below, in a concave arch, is “POINT”.
Fell’s Point is a historic waterfront neighborhood in southeastern Baltimore. It was established around 1763 and is located along the north shore of the Baltimore Harbor and the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River.
The flask has a simple finish, where the bottle was cracked off or otherwise removed from the blowpipe, then fire-polished. The edges are vertically ribbed (3) with a heavy medial rib. There is a pontil mark.
Known glass colors are ranges of qua which are considered scarce. Pale yellow-green, yellow-green, and lime green are considered rare and golden amber, light olive green, light puce, light-medium puce, dark puce, amethyst, dark amethyst, wine, and topaz are very rare.
Primary Image: GVI-2 Monument And “Balto” – Sloop and “Fells / Point” flask imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.
Support Images: Auction Lot 39: Monument And “Balto” – Sloop And “Fells / Point” Historical Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Brilliant puce, sheared mouth – pontil scar, half pint; (1/2 inch fissure to left of sloop, somewhat weakened embossing). GVI-2 A comparatively scarce flask in a stunning color. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #171.
Support Images: Auction Lot 142: “Balto” And Monument – Sloop Historical Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1830-1850. Brilliant topaz, sheared mouth – pontil scar, half pint; (lettering and embossing weak on the sloop side, some exterior high point wear at the base below the hull of the sloop). GVI-2 Brilliant rare color, fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company, Auction #101.
Support Images: Auction Lot 117: Monument And “Balto” – Sloop And “Fells / Point” Historical Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1840-1860. Bright yellow-green with an olive tone, sheared mouth – pontil scar, half pint; (some exterior high point wear, an interior open bubble has some content residue, interior has a light film of washable content residue). GVI-2 Unusual and beautiful bright color. Fine condition. Fresh to the market. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company
Support Images: Auction Lot 47: Monument And “Balto” – Sloop And “Fells / Point” Historical Flask, Baltimore Glass Works, Baltimore, Maryland, 1840-1860. Brilliant lime green, sheared mouth – pontil scar, half pint; (moderate exterior high point wear). GVI-2 Rare color. Fine condition. – Norman Heckler, Norman C. Heckler & Company
Support Image: Neil Harpe (American, Contemporary). “Seven Foot Knoll”. Depicts a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack off a lighthouse.
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 The Baker Brothers and the Baltimore Glass Works by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey, and Carol Serr