Boers & Co. Netherlands

Provenance: Ex: Ralph Finch Collection, American Glass Gallery

This embossed Boers & Co. target ball was made by the Delft Bottle Factory in the Netherlands sometime between 1880 and 1900. Delft is in the Dutch province of South Holland. It is the only known target ball manufactured by a Dutch company.

Many antique collectors are aware of Delftware or Delft pottery, which is a general term now used for Dutch tin-glazed earthenware, a form of faience. Most of it is blue and white pottery, and the city of Delft in the Netherlands was the major center of production.

Our museum ball is in a light moss green glass in a quilted diamond pattern above and below a centered band that contains the embossed copy. The ball is a 3-piece mold with a sheared mouth and is 2 5/8” in diameter. These target balls are extremely rare with only three or so examples extant in shades of green.

In 1713, a glass factory in Delft was founded by Theodatus de Voys and for the first 15 years, she had the monopoly of glass manufacturing in the city. In 1798, a request was made to the board of the Batavian Republic to set up a glassworks to produce green glass bottles and dishware. The factory was constructed and was located on the Vliet which was a canal in South Holland.

By 1810, the glassworks was producing 500,000 bottles per year. During the years of the Belgian Revolution, the glassworks received many defense orders for glass for the Medical Services. The Belgian Revolution was the conflict that led to the secession of the southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium. In 1868, the glassworks passed from Hoekwater to the Delft patrician family Van de Mandela. They invested heavily in the factory.

In 1872, the company Boers & Co. was founded with the intent of purchasing and running the glassworks. The partners were P. F. Pelgrim, G.A. Pelgrim, C.D. Vreede, and Pieter Merkus. In 1887 the name Boers & Co. was added to the name of the glassworks and in 1889 a second factory called the Blue Hut was built. The number of employees doubled from 30 in 1860 to 72 in 1889. The glassblowers were mostly of German descent.

Primary Image: The Boers & Co. target ball imaged on location by the FOHBC Virtual Museum midwest studio led by Alan DeMaison.

Support: Auction Lot 559: “BOERS & CO DELFT – FLESS-CHENFABRIEK” Target Ball, Netherlands, 1880 – 1900. Light moss green, quilted diamond pattern above and below center band, 3-piece mold, rough sheared mouth, dia. 2 5/8”; (an iridescent bruise with a ¾” hair-line crack, otherwise excellent). An extremely rare target ball, one of only two, or possibly three examples extant, and the only known target ball manufactured by a Dutch company. American Glass Gallery – The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019

Support Image: This relatively rare diamond-patterned ball is embossed on the center band: “BOERS & CP. DELFT FLESSCHENFABRIEK.” So far, it is found only in shades of green. – On Target newsletter, Ralph Finch

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