Today’s Guest Blogger is Karen Thomson, an F&M Anthropology and Spanish major ’12 who is part of the Museum Mysteries Seminar Course:
Pocket bottles held medicines, alcohol, or other liquids. This amethyst-colored example stands out for its visually appealing color and design. The combination of deep purple color (created by adding manganese oxide to the molten colorless glass batch), rounded shape, and particular diamond-daisy pattern characterizes bottles manufactured by German-American Henry William Stiegel (1729-85), who constructed and operated a glasshouse in Manheim, Pennsylvania, from 1764 to 1775. Glass historians have not found evidence that any other makers used the distinctive diamond-daisy pattern in the late 18th or early 19th century, which allows confident attribution to Stiegel.
To make this bottle, the glassblower blew his “gather” of glass into a partial-size or “dip” mold that imparted the diamond-daisy pattern. Next, the glassblower blew the bottle to its full size and flattened the sides to create its final form, a process that distorted the molded design. -Karen Thomson ’12-
Student researchers are exploring some of the mysteries behind museum objects to reveal hidden histories. Objects from the Museum Mysteries seminar course will be on view in The Nissley Gallery at The Phillips Museum through May 11, 2012.