I will be the first to tell you, I am out of my area of specialization in many cases when I post about glass but still very willing to learn from some of the glass authorities who continually post great pieces of Early American Glass on various web sites and facebook. My question here is…
Why are glass balls on Early American Glass pieces?
I suspect it is primarily aesthetic, in that the forms of the combined pieces are pleasing to the eye. For practical reasons, the balls may have protected the contents from insects or spoiling. In many cases there are Witch Balls that were set atop a vase or pitcher because where else can you lay a glass ball without worrying about it rolling off a table?
Read more: Witch Balls – Warding Off Evil Spirits
Couple new England storage jars – Daniel Baldwin
Woody Douglas still-life
Here is some later freeblown bottleglass circa 1840-1860. The one on the left is amber with a yellow tone and is thought to be NH or Ct., the middle piece is very thick glass in red amber. The last, also very thick, olive green. As you can see the feet on the left and center pieces have been drawn out of the original gather of glass as opposed to being formed and applied separately. This allowed the blower to form the piece without the help of a skilled assistant. These were made when bottle houses had primarily moved to hinge molds to blow bottles as opposed to the skilled manipulation it took to blow say a chestnut or pattern molded flask. Although they lack the grace and artistry of the earlier freeblown they have a funky quality I like. – Woody Douglas
Some early pieces – Rick Ciralli
Greenwich Show, three pitchers and a ball – picture Noel Thomas
A couple of tall sided bowls with heavy folded over rims… similar dip molds, one example flared out. – Michael George
Here is a cool pair….Daniel Baldwin (Lily pad pitcher on left)
gutsy pitcher, possibly Redford or redwood… Just under 9″ tall – Daniel Baldwin
Hat Whimsey and Glass Ball – Rick Ciralli (ex: Daniel Baldwin)
Aqua pitcher with applied rigaree. Likely a Jersey piece. Ex: Kearin. This little guy has so much going on! – Michael George
My run of jars with balls! Awful pic, my apologies… – Rick Ciralli
Pair of South Jersey pitchers and witch balls, ca. 1850, sold for $28,080. (Pook & Pook inc.)
Witch ball used to cap and seal a glass pitcher
Witch Balls and Stands offered by Jeff and Holly Noordsy
Huckleberry Food Jar with Witch Ball Circa 1860′s. Olive Green. Size: 11″ high x 5″ dia.
Freeblown Witch Ball And Stand, probably a South Jersey glasshouse, New Jersey, 1850-1860. A hollow ball on a trumpet form base, colorless with profuse white pulled loopings, sheared rim – pontil scar, overall ht. 11 3/8 inches. Fine early decorative freeblown American glass. – Heckler Auction 102