Mount Washington Glass – American Glassware Manufacturer

Mount Washington Glass is an American glassware manufacturer. It is located in South Boston and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

History

Deming Jarves, the founder of Boston and Sandwich Glass, set up a factory in South Boston, Massachusetts. His son George Jarves was the manager there, first with John D. Labree and subsequently with Henry Comerais. Jarves and Comerais, known as the Mount Washington Glass Works, was active until 1861, when its bookkeeper William L. Libbey and clerk Timothy Howe became the firm’s directors. Libbey became the sole director when Howe died.

Vase made by Mount Washington Glass Company (1886 - 1894)
Vase made by Mount Washington Glass Company (1886 – 1894)

Search the Collection at the Met for more examples of Glassware from the Mount Washington Glass Company.

Libbey installed new equipment and experimented with art glass in the 1870s and 1880s. The firm produced kerosene lamps and blown and pressed cut glassware during this time. In 1869, Libbey moved the factory from South Boston to the failed New Bedford Glass premises in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

In 1871, the Smith Brothers were in charge of the decoration department. In 1872, Libbey left and became an agent for New England glass. His brother Henry Libbey managed the firm, which closed in 1873. Reopened in 1874 under the management of Englishman Frederick Stacey Shirley, it was named Mount Washington Glass.

From 1884, it produced rose-amber glassware, Shirley’s imitation of the amberina ware invented in 1883 by Joseph Locke at New England Glass. In 1885, its Burmese glass was patented and made in more than 250 forms, several examples of which were presented to Queen Victoria.

In 1886, Thomas Webb was given a license to produce the ‘Queen’s Burmese.’ In 1889 the firm began to produce luxurious gilded enamel opal wares. It also made brilliant-cut and engraved crystal and acid-etched cameo glass.   

In 1880, when the Pairpoint Manufacturing Co opened an adjacent factory, Mount Washington began to use silverplated mounts. In 1894, the glassworks were brought by Pairpoint. Mount Washington’s Glass, during Shirley’s tenure from 1874 to 1894, produced a wide range of very high-quality glassware. By 1890 it was dubbed the ‘headquarters’ of art glassware in the United States. In 1895, Shirley and partner John.P. Gregory reopened Boston and Sandwich Glass; it failed the next year.

Recognition

Mount Washington Glass showed cut-glass chandeliers and opal glass and won awards at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.’ Its wares were included in the 1986 – 1987 ‘In Pursuit of Beauty’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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