Dating glass by color archaeology

Curators at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at leading glass collections, such as the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, have long included flasks and bottles from Dyottville among their American glass holdings.

“Dyottville has been talked about for years among collectors and others,” Cress says, “but until now there wasn’t a building [to investigate].” The excavations at Dyottville included portions of three buildings—a glass house, a sand house, and an office/storeroom—in a space of around 9,000 square feet.

Glass manufacturing had begun in northern Philadelphia in the eighteenth century, and around 1820 Dyott began to work directly with one of these factories, the Kensington Glass Works on Gunner’s Run Creek at Queen (now Richmond) Street.“But the water level is high there.” A block mold, which aided in preforming molten glass before blowing and manipulating it into its final shape, was usually made of a hardwood such as cherry or other tight-grained fruit wood.Keeping the mold wet kept the wood from igniting and created a layer of steam to keep the glass from sticking to the mold.He took over the glassworks, which had been converted from a calico fabric printing and textile factory, in 1830.He found success with the enterprise and soon invested in neighboring properties.

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