As I note in my last composite image, this wonderful little bottle joins her “big sister” in my shop. I often refer to Steiff animals of the same design but in different sizes as the big or little siblings of those already in my shop. As is the case with my animals, the examples in different sizes of the “same” ones often have slight variance in the features depending on their size. This is all the more evident with these two Steuben perfume bottles; they share the same Steuben design number, 1818, but their silver overlay designs are very different. There is one way the two 1818 sisters are like each other and NOT like my other Steuben sisters; the 1818 girls have only “STERLING” as their markings, whereas the Steuben 1006 sisters both have Alvin marks on them.
OK, enough about family relationships; you want to hear about this little girl. She has a few issues, one from use—the chips on the flat end of the stopper—and a few from manufacture. Most of these are shown in my fifth composite image. The chips at the end of the stopper are self-evident. The very thin interruptions in the silver that “swirl” around the stopper might be missed if I didn’t point them out. I have no idea what caused these slender indentations in the “waist" of the stopper, but I am guessing that the stopper was handled with some kind of tool right after the silver was applied. This apparent incomplete coverage with silver is akin to what sometimes happens when an area of flux is showing. Flux is that combination of chemicals, including some silver, that a bottle or other non-conductive material is coated with to make the bottle receptive to an electric current. It is through that current that the silver is able to be permanently deposited on the glass or other non-conductive material. I am spending FAR more time trying to explain this (especially since I am not sure I am right ;-)) than it warrants. The tiny linear indentations in the silver are far less significant than the chips at the end of the stopper.
The other apparent manufacturing booboo in my fifth composite image is the tiny darker rectangular area in the uppermost part of the collar, just below the rim. I am showing you two views of it, but, for me, in any case, that does not help identify it. ;-)) This is NOT a crack (it is not palpable, even with a fingernail), but I can’t tell you what it is! My husband, who through years of my collecting, has learned almost as much about silver overlay as I have, suggested something that I can’t quite picture happening, because, one would think that a bruise in the glass would stop the production of the bottle. In any case, my husband opined that this little rectangle LOOKS like a thin flake of silver broke away from the outside of the bottle, and what you see is what the inside of the slightly wounded collar looks like when the silver is applied. My husband is a physicist, and I guess he is better able to come up with theories explaining unknown phenomena, but I must admit that I care very little about DEFINING this tiny darker mark. It is not feelable, nor is it visible when the stopper is in place, so, pragmatically speaking, my husband has more interest in explaining it than I do. I believe other silver overlay collectors will feel the way I do.
The last manufacturing booboo may be the most trivial. I am showing you a teeny-tiny leaf tip that is raised and folded over the rest of the leaf. The amount that became separated from the glass is about the size of the head of a pin. I did not pick up on it visually. Only when I rubbed my palm over the bottle to detect just this kind of issue did I find it.
This bottle has a lot to recommend it. Of course, maybe the first thing is that it is a Carder Steuben design. I must admit that although I am thrilled when I find a silver overlay vessel that happens to be made by a famous designer— I guess Loetz would be another example—my collecting interest is in silver overlay. If the bottle’s manufacture was, itself, noteworthy, that is a bonus. :-)
Here are some final details: The bottle is fairly clear, with only minimum mineral deposits. That’s nice to know with this bottle, since the silver application is relatively sparse—with all those parallel Deco-ish rings as the main visual attraction. If the glass were not so clear, it would not look so appealing. Also note that the cartouche is not engraved. Finally, note that the stopper and bottle have the same number (26) etched into their respective bottoms, and even the chips at the end of the stopper have done nothing to obscure that number.
The only other thing you probably would like to know are the bottle’s dimensions. As you can see in the side-by-side comparison of this little girl with her big sister, she is sweet and diminutive. With stopper inserted, she is 4 1/4 inches tall, and her base diameter is 2 inches.
I can’t think of anything else to tell you, but please write if you have any questions. This is a wonderful bottle for the advanced collector, but its price makes it accessible even by beginners.
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