Patd Sept 25th 1877 Target Ball

Provenance: Ex: Ralph Finch collection, Ex: Alex Kerr collection, American Glass Gallery

Here is a gorgeous deep teal, almost peacock blue target ball that is embossed PATD SEPT 25TH 1877 around the shoulder. It is a 3-piece mold with an overall pebbly or sandy finish to the glass with a sheared mouth. These ‘sand balls’ are called just that because as they were cooling, they rolled the ball in very fine sand, which embedded into the glass, causing a more coarse surface. This allowed for better penetration of the ball by the shooter. The ball is 2 5/8″ in diameter and perfect.

See another Virtual Museum example of a Patd Sept 25th 1877 sand ball in medium grass green

There is some thought that the ball may have been made by Whitall, Tatum & Co. This phrase, “The Sanded Trap Ball” (patented) was of plain blue or amber glass, of even thickness, and standard size and weight. It was placed on the market in 1881 by Whitall, Tatum & Co., of Philadelphia. The balls were covered with sand, which prevented the shot glancing, and also any reflection of light from its surface. (Trapshooting: The Patriotic Sport: a Book of Ready Reference, Giving a Brief History of the Sport, Its Appliances, Records, Rules, Etc., D. H. Eaton Sportsmen’s Review Pub., 1921

Read: What are target balls? I’m glad you asked! By Ralph Finch

Read: History of Glass Target Balls For Fun, Sure as Shootin’ – Target Balls Hit the Mark By Alex Kerr 

Support: John Pastor and American Glass Gallery.

Cobalt Blue Example: PAT’d SEPT 25TH 1877 SAND BALL. Three-piece mold. Possibly Whitall, Tatum & Co., New Jersey. These sand balls are called just that because as they were cooling, they rolled the ball in very fine sand, which embedded into the glass, causing a more coarse surface. This allowed for better penetration of the ball by the shooter, which was expected to give the shooter a better chance at breaking the ball. Heavier than most balls, it weighs 2.7 ounces compared to most Bogardus style balls which weigh generally anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 ounces. It would probably be even heavier if it had more embossing. It is believed that there are only three known variants of the sand ball. What a year 1877 was for target balls, as you will see that date again and again. Of course, the 1877 date is the patent date and as it is the same for bottles, it’s not generally the date the piece was made. For example, the Whitall Tatum ad as shown on the cover of Summer 2005 On Target was printed in 1879 according to the author. As for rarity, you do not see a lot of these sand balls in any color. It is advertised they could be made in amber also, but to date, we know of no such animal. To our knowledge, only a couple has been offered publicly. A beautiful cobalt blue, it might be a while before you have another chance to bid on one of these beauties. – American Bottle Auctions.

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