Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 31, 2019

Historic Village in Allaire State Park


James Peter Allaire: 1785-1858, U.S. engineer and business man, of French Huguenot descent. Owner of a New York brass foundry, he leased Robert Fulton’s New Jersey engine shop on 1815 and transferred its business to area around South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan, New York City in 1816. Here he set up the city’s first steam-engine plant, where the first compound marine engines in the world were built. As his business grew and production increased, so did Allaire’s need for raw materials which, in his case, was primarily iron. At the time, the United Kingdom was the largest manufacturer and exporter of iron in the world, but, as a result of the war of 1812, high ad velum tariffs had been placed on the British commodity. This led him to purchase the Howell Works Property In 1822 a small forge on the upper fringes of the New Jersey Pine Barrens now in Monmouth County. Over the next few years, Allaire would make many improvements to the furnace complex site to produce iron for his New York foundry, repairing existing buildings and constructing new ones. The isolation of the site also forced him to consider the development of a self-sufficient community, one that would eventually include a blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, bakery and grist mill, a boarding house, larger homes for workers and their families, mills and factories, a school and church and a general store. It is today the Historic Village in Allaire State Park a non-profit, living history museum set in 1836. additional information

Below are pictures from Historic Village in Allaire State Park:


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 27, 2019


Date: 18th Dynasty, ca. 1348-1332 BCE | Egypt – Tell El – Amarna  Size: ↑ 23.4 & 23.1 mm| Weight 12 g


Technique: Pressed into a mold, tooled

Condition: Intact

Description: Opaque white glass for the body and emerald green glass for the leaf.  Shape of the fruit probably in the form of an Egyptian mulberry.


Remarks: These early glass fruit-shaped pendants from Tell el Amarna are exceedingly rare.

Provenance: Ex collection Jacob Levy, Tel Aviv

Published: Archaeological Center Tel Aviv, auction 67, 17 October lot 408

Reference: No parallels could be found

Attention: Can somebody tell me more about these very early glass-items?

Please let me know: I will be very happy with it.


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 25, 2019

Best Wishes in 2020

Studio Loz Sand

Art work by Laura Zandbergen at Studio Loz Sand at


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 23, 2019

Rare and Unusual Medieval Glass Vessels


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 20, 2019

Late Middle Ages glass in central and southern Europe dates from the late 12th C. to early 16th C.  The best late Medieval glass was either colorless or almost colorless with a straw tint. It appears that the majority of the glasses were for domestic use as table service.

These are two examples of Fadenrippenbecher.

Date: Early 15th C. before 1456 and Size: H 9.0 cm This example apparently was found in an old well used as a waste shaft. Also, in this same well fragments of very similar vessels were discovered. This picture is on page 291 of the book  Phonix aus Sand Und Asche, Glas des Mittlelalters, Erwin Baumgartner & Ongeborg Krueger, Munchen, 1989.


Date: Early 15th C. before 1456 and Size: H 9.5 cm.   This picture is on page 291 in the book Phonix aus Sand Und Asche, Glas des Mittlelalters, Erwin Baumgartner & Ongeborg Krueger, Munchen, 1989.


The sizes of this type of beaker differ considerably from a small (examples above) 9 cm in height to 22 cm.  The largest ones so far only found in Bohemia and the smaller versions in Northern Germany and The Netherlands.


Description of how these glasses were made: The ribs on these beakers were not mold-blown but consist of applied glass threads of the same glass. The blue decoration on the threads was not created by means of drops of blue glass on these ribs.  It was actually created by winding a thread of blue glass around a partially-blown beaker; further blowing then caused the blue thread to break up with pieces only adhering to the ribs. This procedure is schematically shown in Fig. 28 below.



 Two fragmentary Fadenrippenbecher have been found, namely in the towns of Groningen and Kampen, The Netherlands



RHYTONS and HORNS OF PLENTY by Theo Zandbergen

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 17, 2019

RHYTON’S and HORNS OF PLENTY by Theo Zandbergen

In this posting a lot of glass objects in the form of a rhyton or a horn of plenty are shown. The use of horns is already a very ancient tradition and used in many (tribal) ceremonies and traditions. But, what is or would have been the meaning of these luxurious and sometimes a bit over the top objects and the use thereof? Just a bit of a disclaimer, do not expect a full-fledged in depth essay on this. No just some info to bring a bit of context around the symbols of horn’s, horn’s of plenty, Cornucopia, the rhyton.


At first, where is the horn symbol amongst others coming from?

Think many people know the story of Abraham and Isaac where the God of Israel asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac. When Isaac is at the offering table all of a sudden a ram shows up and that ram is sacrificed in Isaac’s place. It is said that the left horn of that ram was the first sjofar. The sjofar is mentioned when Moses receives the Torah when there is a loud sounding of the sjofar together with lightning and thunderclaps. The sjofar is still used in the Jewish tradition and is the only musical instrument allowed into the synagogue. Interestingly, as David Giles found out, the Vikings used natural animal drinking horns often mounted with silver decorations. Knowing the most of the time boisterous behaviour of the Vikings one can understand that glass horns would not last long. Sometimes the glass horns are more or less shaped like the rams horn, see the Merovingian one from the 5th century AC and the horn from Western Europe 275-325 AC from the Corning Museum, both shown in the posting.

Then there is the story of the (drinking) horns.

The glass drinking horns more or less shaped like the rams horn and sometimes decorated with glass trailings, were basically made for the aristocracy also for tribes in the Baltic and were essentially made by the Germans as found out by David Giles. However, many of the horns shown in the posting don’t have the twists like the rams horn. Those are just crescent shaped and are either with or without an opening in the end part. Some of the end parts even have a kind of rim working which make it look like a “mouthpiece” for a trumpet. (Frankish drinking horn from the British museum, and the one from the Römisch-Germanischen in Köln) Have never tried if it is possible to get some form of sound from those horns with a “mouthpiece”. But, it may connect to the rams horn tradition. Drinking from such horn must have been quite a technique not to spill the content over the elegant dresses. Perhaps those glass horns are the forerunners for the so called trick glasses which came in use in the 17th century.

In my opinion the horns are also symbols of wealth or horns of plenty or better Cornucopia. (Cornu=horn, copia=abundance, see copious)

Think the story of Cornucopia is appropriate in the context of this small expose as it connects the rams horn with the horn of plenty. The famous goat Amalthea nurtured Zeus at Crete. To thank the goat Zeus put the horn shaped star sign Cornucopia in the sky. The horns of plenty are often shown on pictures, statues and even coats of arms like the one of North Carolina.

The drinking horns like the Dutch Façon de Venice one now in the Corning and shown in the posting is certainly not an object that was common to even the homes of the then middle classes. No, it certainly was a part of the opulence in the homes of the very well to be like the shareholders of the VOC. Probably those eloquent objects were cabinet items in those houses. Perhaps that’s the reason that these objects were well preserved so we can still admire these today.

And then the rhytons (Greek plural: rhyta).

These are the oldest known drinking cups of this form and closest to the original horns.

The etymology of rhyton seems to connect to “to flow”. The earliest known ones, basically conical forms enhanced with all kinds of motives like animal heads, stem basically from the Bronze age. One could paraphrase stating that the original rhytons are closest to the myth of Zeus, the goat and the galaxy. These metal or ceramic drinking or libation cups/horns were widely spread over let’s say Eurasia. The original ones, were most of the time, provided with a drinking aperture at the narrow end as well most of the time decorated with parts of the anatomy of animals. With the discovery to inflate glass the forms and shapes of the original designs further developed into the forms shown ao. in this posting. A hypothesis could be that the ones with a hole at the bottom were basically used for libation. But, possibly also as drinking vessels where the fluid was scooped up while the bottom hole was closed and drinking by releasing the bottom hole. Basically in a style like the poron’s in Spain. But, the question remains why would anyone try to drink from the bottom with the chances to spill a lot and make a monkey of oneself. Perhaps the ones with a bottom hole were part of drinking games. Games like that were quite popular. And, were these drinking games only for men or also for the ladies? I guess both but, who knows?

Concluding: People have always tried to embellish their homes their environment, to play games, to innovate, to tell stories, to explain their reasons of existence. The rhytons’s and horns of plenty can be seen in that context. And we, we have the pleasure looking at those objects trying to envision in which context those were used.

Theo Zandbergen, January 2017.

(This write up was put together with some help from Wikipedia)

Also see “The Glass Drinking Horn


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 15, 2019

The Glass Drinking Horn

The drinking horn is a vessel in the form of a crescent-shaped horn. It evolved from the ancient Greek and Roman vessel the Rhyton. There are some examples of this type of Roman glass from the first century AD. A few of them have a figure at the point in the form of a faun’s head. Most drinking horns are from the Frankish and Merovingian periods 400-700 made and found in France, eastern Germany and the Netherlands. The vessel was made by first blowing a cone-beaker and bending it while it was warm. The Frankish and Merovingian horns are usually decorated with applied threads in horizontal spirals, continuous vertical loops, or zigzag patterns. The tip of the glass was pointed or flattened and mouth was usually just knocked off and shaped. This style of vessel was made until the 17th century when drinking horns were used more for decoration rather than for drinking. Many of these later ones were made with diamond-point engraving and Venetian filigrana. The pictures of drinking horns are from various museums and showing many different styles. For addition read on Rhyton’s follow this link:  “Rhyton’s and Horns of Plenty”, by Theo Zandbergen


Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 12, 2019

In the second half of the 16th century conical beakers were made with checkered spiral-trail decoration resulting from winding a glass thread around a hot glass cylinder, reheating and subsequently blowing the cylinder in a mould with vertical ribs (Fig 87).  Waffle patterns and mesh-work beakers were popular throughout Europe: their nomenclature reflects the thickness of the spiraling thread and also the distance between the whorls.

Antwerp (Antwerpen) was probably the place of origin of these early thick-walled beakers with a coarse waffle pattern and rosettes or pearled prunts. These were preferred patterns in the 16th century and some glasses were additionally decorated with enamel-painting or gilding.

Comment: “One of my favorite Dutch glasses.  Early ‘honest’ glass, waffle beakers found in so many old 16 and 17th Century Dutch towns, but unfortunately mostly only shards.” From The Windmill Collection


The above information for this post is from the book: Glass Without Gloss, Harold E. Henkes, 1994 This volume begins its survey of glass vessels at a date of 1250 and continues to 1825.  Most have been found in the Netherlands and Western Europe. An excellent study aid in showing a wide variety of examples rarely published which were made during this time. Written in both Dutch and English.




Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 9, 2019


Date: 1650-1675 Size: H: 12 cm


Description: This roemer has a spherical bowl with vertical ribs and a high concave coiled foot.  The stem is decorated with two rows of smooth spherical prunts.  A prunt is a blob of glass applied to a glass object, usually a drinking vessel.  The transition from bowl to stem is marked by a milled glass thread and the foot is made of fused glass thread.

Remarks: This is a special type of roemer because of the smooth spherical and convex prunts. They are fairly rare and appeared shortly before 1650 then discontinued around 1675.  Some examples of this type were mould-blown to form vertical ribbing (50E above), while some had a smooth bowl (see below).

Provenance: Netherlands see map below.

Ref: Glass in Rijksmuseum, Vol. 1 Pieter C. Rotsema van Eck & Henrica M. Zijlstra-Zweens, Amsterdam,1993 # 190-191 (see this example below) , Glass Without Gloss, Utility glass from five Centuries excavated in the low countries 1300-1800. Harold E. Henkes, 1994 P. 259





For additional information on Roemers in the Allaire collection click on this link.



Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on December 5, 2019


Here we feature glassware made in Spain, made in the 16th and 17th centuries in many glassworks throughout the country.  These were principally in Catalonia, Castile, Andalucía and the Royal Factory at La Granja De San Ildefonso.  Spanish glass from these areas show Moorish influence and later that of Venice, and to a limited extent Bohemia, but local styles were developed making it quite unique. The examples shown here are from The Metropolitan Art Museum. In addition to the Met’s collection there is another fine collection of Spanish glass in New York City at The Hispanic Society of America.

Below is the collection of Spanish Glass at The Metropolitan Art Munseum


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