Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

Pitkin Flask, Early American Glass

The American Pitkin Flask

Pitkin Flask: Small bottle of green glass in an ovoid and flattened shape made by the “Half-Post Method”. In this method a gather of glass called a post is put back in the POT and a second gather is put on it so it covers about half of the post. It is then put in a vertical ribbed pattern mold and partly expanded and removed from the mold then swirled right or left. Also there are types in which the ribs are left it the vertical position. In the case of the popcorn Pitkin it is put in the mold a second time vertical ribs are put over swirled ribs call a broken swirl double pattern. Then the flask is expanded to the ovoid and flattened shape.

Originally these flasks were made in The Pitkin Glass Works in Manchester,CT (1788-1830).They were made later in other parts of New England and in the Midwest (e. g. Zanesville, Ohio 1810-1830).Today they are classified as being New England Pitkins or Midwestern Pitkins. You can usually tell the difference by counting the ribs. The New England is 36 ribs and Midwestern 16 ribs. In addition to various shades of green they can be found in amber, blue (rare), amethyst (rare) and colorless glass. The flask came in two main sizes half pint and pint, used as a pocket flask for whiskey.

Ref: Spillman II #46

pitkins Rear row A8MW A39MW A7NE Front row A19MW A43NE

Front row A 19, A 43, Rear row A8, A39, A7


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  1. Dana Charlton-Zarro said, on April 28, 2014 at 4:11 am

    Both patterns were applied on the outer layer of glass, not on each layer of glass. There are other differences between Pitkin-types blown in New England and other regions of the country; a rib count is one of them but a 16 rib pattern is rare. The materials used were different and so the resulting bottle is often brighter in color and the ribs heavier than on New England Pitkin-types. The shape is also slightly different: when viewed from the side a New England Pitkin flask will be wider as it goes to the base; examples from other regions will typically (not always) be wider at the shoulder.


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