Fact Check: Sandwich Glass

The Boston and Sandwich Glassworks Company of Sandwich, Massachusetts, had its beginnings in the mid-1820’s. Deming Jarves, the founder of the company, convinced skilled glass artisans - individuals respected as glass producers from all over the world including England and Bohemia, to come and work for his company. This ensured that Boston and Sandwich Glassworks would be able to produce the finest quality of glass articles. Until the closure of the factory in 1888 this Cape Cod manufacturer made a variety of glassware, including blown, cut, colored, mold-blown and pressed glass.

Jarves perfected a method of pressing glass and the company used this manufacturing process to produce ‘lacy glass,’ so-called because of the overall, lace-like pattern created to help conceal imperfections that might be present within the body of the glass. ‘Lacy glass’ was made until the 1840’s and by virtue of its popularity this became one of the types of glass for which the company was best known and remembered.

Recalling the appeal that Boston and Sandwich ‘Lacy glass’ had once held for consumers of the 19th century, manufacturers in the 20th century came to create their own patterns that were similar. Glass companies like Westmoreland, Indiana, Duncan and Miller and Anchor Hocking all eventually created Sandwich-type Lacy-look patterns to add to their established lines. These patterns proved to be as popular with the glass buying public as those produced by Boston and Sandwich during the 1800's, and were produced for many years. Some patterns continued to be produced until the 1990's.

The term ‘Sandwich Glass” should not be used to describe Sandwich-type, Lacy-look patterns made by later manufacturers. ’ The correct terminology is ‘Sandwich pattern’ glass.

Fast Facts:

  1.  Only glass made by the Boston and Sandwich Glassworks Company of Sandwich, Massachusetts, prior to 1888 should be defined as ‘Sandwich Glass.’
  2. The Boston and Sandwich Glassworks Company made many different types of glass other than pressed glass in ‘Lacy’ patterns. Thus, blown or cut glass with a very Bohemian semblance can also be properly identified as ‘Sandwich Glass.’
  3. Glassware that can accurately be identified as ‘Depression’ glass cannot be ‘Sandwich Glass,’ as the Boston and Sandwich Glassworks company closed long before the time period known as the ‘Depression’ era.
  4. If the word ‘Sandwich’ was included in a pattern name by a later manufacturer, that is only the name of their design. ‘Sandwich’ should not be used in a way that seems to define a piece in that pattern as a type of glass, or as if made by the Boston and Sandwich Glassworks.
  5. Various types of glass, like cased or overlay glass, have more than a single inherent color or design. This means some types of glass may seem to have been layered together when made. For instance, there may be more than one color on top of another, or a design may appear to be imbedded or 'sandwiched’ between other layers of glass. Naming these types of items ‘Sandwich Glass’ is incorrect unless they also happen to have been made by the Boston and Sandwich Glassworks Company of Sandwich, Massachusetts.

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