I had a little “Aha!” moment today when I came across a post by Steve Sewell over at AntiqueBottles.net where he succintly explained why early Washington Monument historical flasks did not have the Washington sculpture on top of the monument as later flasks such as the Baltimore “Corn for the World” flasks.
“Determining the age of the flasks is quite easy as to the monument on each bottle is void of Washington’s statue affixed at the top. The Monument was partially completed in 1825, 10 years after its inception although a statue of Washington himself was soon to come”.
[Wikipedia] The Washington Monument in the elegant Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland was the first architectural monument planned to honor George Washington. In 1815, a statue was designed by Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Construction began in 1815 and was completed by 1829. The 178 foot doric column holds a ground-floor museum offering information about Washington as well as construction of the monument. Climbing the 228 steps to the top provides an excellent view of the city from the historic neighborhood where it is located. Its neighbors include the Peabody Institute.
The glorification of Washington began long before his death in December 1799, and the dedication of a memorial in his honor seemed certain. A monument honoring Washington in Baltimore was first proposed in 1809, and a committee was formed to commission and fund the monument. In 1811, the first of six lotteries, authorized by the Maryland General Assembly, was held, eventually raising enough funds to construct a Washington monument in Baltimore. Mills’s design was chosen in an architectural competition in 1815, and the cornerstone laid on July 4 of that year.
Early designs included rich ornamentation, six iron galleries dividing the hollow shaft into seven sections, and a quadriga surmounting the column. The design of the completed column is very similar to the Colonne Vendôme, which ultimately derived from Trajan’s Column and was adopted in this time of Neoclassicism in American architecture.
The monument, which was constructed of white marble from Cockeysville, rises 178 feet and consists of three main elements: a low, rectangular base containing a museum; a plain, unfluted column; and, atop the column, a standing figure of Washington. By the time of the monument’s completion in 1829, financial constraints had forced a series of design compromises which simplified the monument.
“Tradition recalls a prodigy occurring when the statue was raised to the summit of the monument – a shooting star dashed across the sky and an eagle lit on the head of the settling general.”
William Rusk, in his book “Art in Baltimore: Monuments and Memorials”, tells the following story about the raising of Italian sculptor Enrico Causici’s marble statue of Washington in 1829. “Tradition recalls a prodigy occurring when the statue was raised to the summit of the monument – a shooting star dashed across the sky and an eagle lit on the head of the settling general.”
Before the monument could be completed, the monument which now resides in Washington Monument State Park (Boonsboro, Maryland), near the Appalachian Trail, was constructed in 1827, making it the first such in the nation. The iron fence around the base was designed by Mills and added in 1838. It contains some of the symbolism that had been deleted from the column due to cost considerations.
This historical flask commemorates George Washington with a figural bust on the front and has the Washington monument located in Baltimore on the reverse. Determining the age of the flasks is quite easy as both monuments on each bottle are void of Washington’s statue affixed at the top. The Monument was partially completed in 1825, 10 years after its inception although a statue of Washington himself was soon to come. These bottles were made between 1824 and 1829 just a few blocks South and East from the monuments site, as in November of 1829, Washington’s statue was finally placed atop the long shaft seen today. Later bottles from the Baltimore glass works and also from these Fells point works have Washington on the monument making them easier to date also. Both bottles are listed as scarce, are a pretty shade of light green, have busts of Washington not seen on like bottles and have rough pontils. Reference: Steve Sewell
Read More: The Washington Monument Bottle – Baltimore
Here are a few pictures of the earlier GI Washington Monument historical flasks.