There was a time when this curiously large tumbler would have been immediately recognized as a Flip Glass for serving a popular concoction known as 'flip', a drink composed mostly of bitter beer or cider with eggs, rum, sometimes cream, sugar, or molasses, maybe dried pumpkin and spices... recipes varied, but the reparation was the same. A red hot loggerhead was thrust into the mixture to heat it and create the foamy lather characteristic of flip. This curious drink was prized for its burnt, bitter taste, and during revolutionary times a loggerhead was kept in the fire at almost every hearth, which inspired James Lowell to write these lines:
"Where dozed a fire of beechen logs that bred
Strange fancies in its embers golden-red,
And nursed the loggerhead, whose hissing dip,
timed by wise instinct, creamed the bowl of flip"
While I wouldn't suggest you give your mixologist this recipe for your next get together, I can say unequivocally that these old flip glasses are not only beautiful, but also useful for many tasks other than serving flip. I have used them to serve bread sticks, hold a few seasonal blooms, or they would look great with Easter eggs, Christmas bulbs, or even a string of decorative lights inside. Of course if you already appreciate the pleasures of living with early glass, you don't really need a reason for this piece to appeal.
This lovely flip glass is of a type made by William Henry Steigel, the most well known producer of flip glasses whose glassworks in Manheim, Pennsylvania employed more than 130 skilled foreign glass workers. Steigl produced glass from 1763-1774, and although similar glass was produced in other locations including abroad, pieces like this flip glass are commonly known today as Steigel type glasses.
The decorative cutting and engraving on this glass has a typically naive quality that is seen in many traditional folk arts, charming, innocent, and guileless. It shows a ship with two masts surrounded by etched marks (birds maybe?), many sails, and two passengers that are charmingly out of scale. The water is depicted as a delightful tangle of curlicues, and the whole is crowned by a simple scalloped etched line.
CONDITION is grand with no problems to report. The pontil is rough, and the glass moderately seedy with bubbles. Measures 8 1/8"tall, with a diameter across the top of 5 3/4" outside to outside, and a bottom diameter of 3 7/8".
A lovely piece to add to a collection of early glass, I have had the good fortune to acquire several of them, so do check out my other items (RL-934 and RL-937). Wouldn't it be great fun to use these old glasses to decorate a home bar if you're an amateur mixologist or budding bartender? You might even keep your lemons and limes in one. Enjoy!
Item ID: RL-935
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