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Identity Crisis.. who made it...?

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I purchased this weight at an auction today. It so rare that i find anything other than chinese and dollar store weights that i was really excited. But now i have to figure out who made it.  It is large, about 3 1/2" (90mm) it has a polished base as well as 4 rows of 12 facets ( makes it hard to photograph). It has a multi color ground and a central bubble surrounded by 4 smaller bubbles.   If I can provide any more information to help ID this let me know... Thanks

This may be one of those paperweight that, unless you actually saw it being made, will be difficult to completely identify.

The look of the weight - its faceting, bubbles, and colored chip pattern all indicate early 20th-century. Rarely, if ever, are weights like this being made by the numerous artisans working today. Most are involved with lampwork. You know right off that Perthshire or Ysart or St. Clair or Gentile or Stankard or Manson or Trabucco or St. Louis or Baccarat, et. al. didn't do anything like this post World War II.

In the late 19th-century and early 20th-century, when the world of glass reached a kind of peak (not to be duplicated until post-World War II), there were a number of factories and craft guilds throughout Europe making paperweights. France and its output, of course, is the primary focus of many collectors.

In the 19th- and early 20th-centuries, in Prussia, areas of the Austro-Hungarian empire, and the regions of Bohemia and Silesia, there were glassmakers crafting lovely items. We now know these areas as countries; primarily Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

Based on your photographs, and concentrating especially on the weight's faceting and bubble work, it seems that your paperweight is from this region. I think you can start with Bohemia-Silesia (the former Czechoslovakia), and perhaps even call it a Bohemia-Silesia weight. The period in which it was made is tricky, but I would peg it at a product made between the two world wars - 1918 to 1938.

However, one of the lesser, but equally interesting aspects of collecting is location of the purchase. Your ID shows MN, which is Minnesota, USA. That brings us to a little-known fact of paperweight life. Also between the world wars, paperweights were made in Sweden, and great glass continues to be made to this day. Kosta et. al. In fact, in the 1970s and 1980s, numerous gift shops and Department Store glass and china departments sold a number of interesting contemporary paperweights from Sweden.

But, back to your specific paperweight. As most Americans would know, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota were settled by tens of thousands of Scandanavians, most of them from Sweden and Norway; thus the huge number of persons of Scandanavian (and Lutheran) descent in that region of the upper Plains. This brings us to the point of purchase argument.

It is possible that the weight is Swedish, because the Swedes, as noted, also made weights in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Perhaps a person of Swedish descent brought it with them to the U.S. from the "old country," and this person eventually settled in Minnesota. The paperweight then "resided" in America and was passed down and eventually became part of the marketplace until you recently bought it.

Another interesting fact is that the legendary paperweight collector Evangeline Hoysradt Bergstrom, from Ithaca, New York, who eventually married and settled in upper Wisconsin - marrying a man of Swedish descent - has a paperweight in her collection similar to yours, except for the faceting. The paperweight is located in the Bergstrom-Mahler Paperweight museum in Neenah, Wisconsin. Hers is not faceted, but it is the same bubble pattern and colored chip pattern. The actual attribution in the Bergstrom-Mahler collection book reads thusly: "Swedish. Early 20th century. 2 layers of coarse spatter, predominately orange, centered by bubble and 4 peripheral elongated bubbles drawn to smooth flat base. D. 3 7/16" (8.6 cm.) Bergstrom Bequest, 1958. EHB acquisition. Unrecorded. No. 291. Pl. 40; Cloak Catalogue, 1969."

Should you not be familiar with the details of the information, basically what is being said is that EHB (Mrs. Bergstrom) bought the weight, didn't mark the date of purchase on one of her fabled index cards or in her journal - thus it is unrecorded. In the first book about the Bergstrom collection, by Evelyn Cloak, its exhibit number is 291, on color plate 40. In the most recent book on Bergstrom's collection, the weight is shown on plate 80 and is number 272. The key here is the Swedish attribution.

Therefore, although we can't precisely and completely peg the weight's maker and country, you can consider it either from Bohemia-Silesia or, if you want to go the purchase location route, consider it from Sweden. The faceting says Bohemia-Silesia. Regardless if it's from that area or Sweden, it is probably a weight made between the two world wars.

As always is the case with less "famous" paperweights, more research would be needed, but again as always, actually pinning down a weight of this nature would be very difficult.

Nice weight and a fascinating first class response too. :)

Interesting and insightful, Thank You for your comments.  

I don’t remember seeing a similar weight at the Bergstrom but it sounds like a good reason to make another visit.  I did view the plate in the book on Bergstrom collection, by Evelyn Cloak.  It is very similar to mine and I think I can use it as a basis of identification.  I seem to also remember an article in a PCA news letter on Swedish glass a few years back, guess it is time to dig.
The other fact that I had omitted is that the faceting appears to be just a bit uneven which to me indicated some age but not necessarily taking it to the 19th century.  Early 20th century is most likely correct.

The estate that I purchased the item from had many items from the 1915- 1930 era.  Although the family name traces to the Boernician clans of the Scottish-English border regions, I am not quite sure of the nationality of the wife.  Perhaps I can find a clue there.

Thanks again for your comments.

well i can't top what Wrightoutlook said,  well done, but i think it's made in Bohemia about the 1920's


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