Forum Archive
Pairpoint in Modern Fine Glass by Skelley (Post 2009, 03-07.1)
Member George Fogg reminds us of the interesting reference to Pairpoint glass in Leloise Davis Skelley's Modern Fine Glass (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing Co., 1942). Originally copyrighted in 1937 by Richard R. Smith, the 144-page book is significant for its period observations of glass production at Pairpoint and other factories, both in the U.S. and abroad.  Approximately one-third of the book is devoted to American manufacturers. Only two Pairpoint items are illustrated (see illustrations to left), by comparison to 23 contemporary items by Steuben, ten by Heisey, eight each by Cambridge and Fostoria, five by Verlys, two by Hawkes and one antique example each by Stiegel and "Wistarberg." The description of the Pairpoint work is particularly interesting for its comparison of Pairpoint cutting in the 1930s to the rich cut style of the 1890s. The Pairpoint discussion occupies two pages (p.122 & p.128) and reads:
"The Pairpoint Corporation of New Bedford, Massachusetts, was established in 1865* [actually 1900, see below]. Inasmuch as they make no pressed glass, Pairpoint is almost exclusively a lead base product. All blanks are made by free hand blowing or blowing into plain molds; those of heavy metal are ordinarily decorated by deep cutting, while the lighter blanks are decorated by stone engraving of the rock crystal type cutting. In Pairpoint's deep cut heavy crystal the designs are quite freed of the excessive prismatic precision of the glistening nineties. The noble old pin wheels, stars, and fans have given way to more natural lines; lines which harmonize with shapes and enhance transparency rather than create over-dazzling effects.

Glyptic* facets and highly polished nodules 'en cabochon'*  under modern artificial lights are considerably more ostentatious than they were under the dimmer, yellow lights of the nineties. happily, Pairpoint designers maintain a satisfying balance between brilliance and aesthetic cutting. Especially attractive among Pairpoint cut decorations is the gray cut design; this effect is achieved by smoothing the cuts with a stone instead of polishing to transparency.

Cobalt blue and light ruby are perhaps the most characteristic colors of Pairpoint glass. Little or no enamelling is done at present."

*The Pairpoint Manufacturing Company was founded in 1880 and produced ornamental silver-plated metal items. In 1893 the company merged with the Mt. Washington Glass Company and in 1900 the company was reorganized as the Pairpoint Corporation.
*glyptic: of or relating to carving or engraving, especially on precious stones
*en cabochon: (French) in the manner of highly polished gem cutting  that is convex but not faceted
Skelley, p. 118. Photo caption reads "urn type vase in crystal by Pairpoint (Courtesy of Ovington's)"

Skelley, p. 139 Photo caption reads "engraved crystal vase by Pairpoint"
The New Bedford Museum of Glass