Bogardus ‘D’ Glass Ball Patd Apr 10th 1877

Provenance: Ex: Ralph Finch collection, American Glass Gallery

We have a number of Bogardus target balls in our museum. This one is different as it is the scarce “D” mold variant embossed, ‘.D. BOGARDUS GLASS BALL PATD APR 10TH 1877.’ It is light honey amber in glass color. We have a second Bogardus ‘D’ mold variant in a yellowish olive in the museum.

Our subject museum example, in light honey amber glass, was blown in a 3-piece mold and has a rough sheared mouth. The 2-5/8″ ball has a quilted diamond pattern above and below a centered band that contains the embossed copy. This diamond pattern was raised from the surface of the ball in order to prevent the shot from bounding or ricocheting off the edge of the surface. In most instances, any shot hitting one of these ridges would break the glass ball. The example is perfect and was probably made between 1877 and 1900.

See other Bogardus target balls in the Virtual Museum:

Bogardus’ Glass Ball Pat’d Apr 10 1877

Bogardus ‘D’ Glass Ball Patd Apr 10th 1877

Bogardus’ Glass Ball (Without Patent Date)

Bogardus Glass Ball – 8 (Within Diamond Panel)

Bogardus’ Glass Balls – Stolberger Glashutten A.G.

F. G. Hopkins St. Jo. Mo. Bogardus Glass Ball

Captain Adam Henry Bogardus (1834–1913) was an inventor and sharpshooter who weaved both professions together. He is regarded as one of the best marksmen in history and credited with inventing the target ball and clay trap thrower. Even today, many refer to any target ball as a “Bogardus Ball.” An advertisement from New York City’s Bohemian Glass Works touted that it was “having made a specialty of the manufacture of glass balls,” noting that “103,250 Bogardus balls had been shipped in one week in April 1879.”

Bogardus led Company H, 145th Illinois Volunteer Infantry as a Captain during the Civil War. After the war, he started a hunting market, manufactured glass target balls, spring-loaded traps and improved the European ball rifle for sport shooting.

His reputation for being a skilled shootist in competition shows spread quickly. He won the Illinois Trap Shot Championship in 1868 and toured America performing in exhibitions. In 1871, he won the title “Champion of America” and won the “World’s Championship Medal” from England, in 1876. He retired from competitive shooting in 1883 and purchased part ownership in the Cody and Salisbury Wild West Show.

In his later years, Bogardus performed in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show with his sharpshooting sons and opened a shooting gallery in Lincoln, Illinois. He is a member of the Sharpshooter’s Hall of Fame, Exhibition Shooters Hall of Fame, Trap Shooter’s Hall of Fame and author of the book, Field, Cover and Trapshooting.

Support Primary Image: Auction Lot 691: “.D. BOGARDUS GLASS BALL PATD APR 10TH 1877” Target Ball, America, 1877 – 1900. Light honey amber, quilted diamond pattern above and below center band, 3-piece mold, rough sheared mouth, dia. 2 5/8”, perfect. Nice attractive color. Note, this is the scarce “D” mold embossed variant. – The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Shooting Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019, John Pastor and American Glass Gallery

Support: Reference to History of Glass Target Balls For Fun, Sure as Shootin’ – Target Balls Hit the Mark by Alex Kerr 

Support: Reference to What are target balls? I’m glad you asked! by Ralph Finch

Support Image: Sells Brother’s Famous United Shows Trick Shooters Poster by Strobridge, Featuring A.H. Bogardus Lithographed poster, 30.5 x 40.5 in. Cowan’s Auctions

Support: Reference to the American Glass Gallery, The Ralph Finch Collection of Target Balls, Traps and Shooting Ephemera, An Absentee Auction in Six Parts – 2017-2019

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