Many people visiting our site may not be aware that Pairpoint was a prolific producer of electric lighting. Others may be familiar with the famous reverse-painted and Puffy lamps of the 1920s and 1930s. As with their decorative glass products and their Fine Arts Line, all of the highest quality and desirability, so were the beautiful lamps that Pairpoint made. We thought we would show you a few examples from The Frost Collection. Most of the lamps in our collection are the electric candles and electroliers, many/most of which simply "went away" into oblivion over the last fifty years or so. Our lamps are all "rescues" from the trash man. Once I stopped working (aka retired), I started bringing these orphans back to life. Our approach to lamp restoration is one of conservation. Unlike furniture, where conservation requires the retention of the signs of wear and tear and patina while restoring useful function, most patina and wear and tear in lighting is ugly dirt, grime, and damage. About the only way to attract a new owner to prolong the life of these magnificent lamps is to bring them back to their original mechanical function and beauty. The one caveat is whenever possible retain good patina and the signs of age. So we have shown below six examples of Pairpoint lamps recently restored. We hope you keep your eyes open for other "rescues" and let us know if you need help to conserve them. Marion and Sandra Frost
As those of you familiar with Pairpoint’s Fine Arts Line already know, you don’t need reference books to identify these desirable beauties. Not only did Pairpoint sign each item (“Diamond P” or spelled-out), they also included their catalog number.
For those not familiar with the Fine Arts Line, we encourage you to read our online book which can be accessed by clicking on the Tab on this website. Basically this is the product line that combines Pairpoint’s finest glassware with beautiful silver-plated sculptured metal mountings.
From a collector’s point-of-view, especially a novice or intermediate collector, there is little better than discovering an item that self-identifies. But, therein lies the hidden risk and false sense of security, and to the uninitiated, possibly a very costly mistake. Unlike almost any other collectible, caution must be directed to the opposite of the normal…validation supersedes identification. The critical question becomes, “Is the item in question original and complete as it presents?”
Also within our Download Center are almost 350 original Pairpoint Fine Arts Line catalog pages as well as considerable database information. Anyone thinking of purchasing ANY item from the Fine Arts Line should avail themselves of the research information on this site. By cross-referencing the catalog number found on the item with the appropriate catalog page, the collector can see exactly what the item is supposed to look like. Our experience with Fine Arts Line items has shown a frighteningly high incidence of marriages or missing elements. Caveat Emptor!
Now, with all of this warning, there is a positive side to validation…Great Buys are out there for those who have done nothing more than validate the item. We’d like to cite a very recent example of an item that looked incorrect but was actually OK; it’s very unusual to have right and wrong on the same item, but validation resolved the issue. Needless to say we made a very good buy.
1.) This first photo shows a pair of Pairpoint D6157 Art Deco candlesticks combining a bubble ball, a silver-plated candle cup, and green marblette mounts. This was the eBay image as offered, and could be considered correct to an untrained eye. However, the flat-ground surface at the top of the glass ball raised a validation concern.
2.) This second photo is a cropped portion of Catalog Page 165, from our Download Center. This shows that the above eBay items offered for sale are missing their marblette bobeches. What a shame!
But wait…look closely at the catalog image (below) and the item being sold (above); notice the circular disc sitting directly on top of the square base on the eBay item, and notice its absence in the catalog image. You have found the missing bobeches which could have been (unluckily) missing entirely.
This candle was shown in the catalog as being part of a Console Set made up of a pair of candlesticks and a matching centerpiece bowl. The bowl portion had a shallow configuration and was EPNS (electro-plated nickel silver).
3.) The final photo shows the Pairpoint Fine Arts Line “1-Light Candle” as it was intended to be:
In closing, Sandy and I cannot stress enough the importance of a little due-diligence before you risk your money to make that great buy when building your Fine Arts Line collection.
Sandy and Marion Frost
The Frost Collection
Once in a Blue Moon, or should I say "Lilac Moon," an example of Pairpoint glass appears that is lilac in color. Our first experience was with a lilac Cornucopia Vase with a square foot in clear. The style of the vase was true to the many other examples of the Cornucopia vases normally attributed to the Gundersen-era, but known to be made before 1938, as well.
At the recent Hoosier Glass Show, in Indianapolis, a dealer friend, Jim Watson, had for sale a beautiful A298 Urn Vase in this identical lilac color, a very confusing (or enlightening) occurrence. The A298 Urn Vase is not a commonly-seen item, and would typically not be attributed to any time period after the traditional Pairpoint-era that ended in 1938. Needless to say, there was a lot of commiserating and head-scratching among knowledgeable dealers and collectors about the Lilac Pairpoint vase in Jim Watson's booth, which certainly raised a legitimate question about the production of a lilac color by Pairpoint, the timing of the production, and whether it could be nothing more than a pale shade of the deep rich Amethyst color.
Remembering our stockpile of Pairpoint glass shards dug from the Pairpoint factory site in New Bedford in the early 1960s, before the big fire, Sandy and I dug through our stash this past weekend. Out of the 200-300 pounds of shards, we found only three pieces of Lilac, which we have photographed for this article. Since it was dug in the 60s, we can only speculate whether it came from the Pairpoint-era or the Gundersen-era, but we can say with a high degree of confidence that Pairpoint did make a Lilac color. Two remaining questions would be (1) is this Lilac color just a lighter shade of Amethyst, and (2) was it intentionally formulated? A close examination of the Lilac next to a similar thickness of conventional Amethyst does show a similar hue, leaning toward red versus blue on the color wheel. Secondly, the existence of more than one finished example from seemingly different time periods, and the presence (albeit sparse) of glass shards from the dig, would indicate the use of the Lilac color was intentional.
If the Lilac only showed-up as Cornucopia vases or only as A298 vases (typically expected to come from a few decades apart), we could speculate about the color being experimental, or special order, or short-lived. But as the examples have appeared, Lilac seems to have been made over a longer span of time, perhaps sporadically. If this would be true, why have other examples not turned-up more regularly, or perhaps they have and we haven't seen them.
If any of our readers have any information or other sightings of Lilac, please contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Photographs would be fantastic.
Everyone knows (just ask around) that if you find a Pairpoint Glass item that has a sterling or plated silver foot, you are looking at a marriage. A marriage occurs when someone has a broken item and figures out a way to attach the good portion of one item to the good part of another item. Most commonly you will find a glass compote top stuck into an old candlestick, or a bowl attached to some type of metal pedestal base.
Unless the item is a known and marked Fine Arts Line item, most dealers and advanced collectors will walk away from what they "know" (that's code for "believe") is an illegitimate marriage. That’s why Sandy and I have made so many great inexpensive purchases over the last few years.
Until we obtained a one-of-a-kind Pairpoint Engraving Department Supervisor’s personal notebook, that has scores of line drawings of Pairpoint Glass items, we would walk away also…and did. Until this moment, it has never been public knowledge that Pairpoint blew a number of their standard items with integral long glass mounting pins, intended to be mated with sterling or plated silver bases. These glass items were generally sold to fine jewelers and silversmiths to apply their own unique custom bases. We speculate that it is likely Pairpoint mounted some for their own account, as we have found numerous bases having the identical design, some being of plated-silver instead of the more common sterling silver. Pairpoint worked in plated silver wares regularly.
This entire topic is discussed in much greater detail in our Fine Arts Line book which is available in the Download Center of our Subscriber section. There is also a reprint of the Engraving Department Cost Book available in our on-line store. However, as a treat to everyone, we are sharing a number of the aforementioned sketches, as well as two real-life images of a Rosaria Comport showing the tip of the glass pin from under the foot. We have separated numerous so-called “marriages,” and found everyone with glass mounting pins. We consider the subject closed, and only hope that we are next in line as the knowing skeptic walks away from another Pairpoint treasure.
Marion & Sandy
Article No. 13-04-18
The appreciation and collecting of Mt. Washington Art Glass, Brilliant-era Heavy Cut Glass, and Pairpoint Corporation's beautiful colored and engraved glass, along with other decorative arts products, has never been stronger than what it is today. I believe it has everything to do with the inherent beauty of design and the flawless execution of manufacture. Anyone that has been hands-on with these products, made 75 to 130 years ago, marvels at the incredible detail and accuracy of the workmanship. Many fail to reflect upon the fact that these products were almost completely hand-made, one at a time, in commercial quantities.
As we launch our website, we know that many people having only the most distant relationship with Pairpoint and its legacy, or none at all, will browse these pages. We know that some visitors will want to pursue their newly discovered passion. We think it is only appropriate, therefore, that our viewers come to understand the driving philosophy that established the excellence that is associated with the Pairpoint name.
In the year 1879, Thomas J. Pairpoint, who gave his name to the newly formed Pairpoint Manufacturing Company, wrote a series of articles for the Jeweler's Circular, a trade publication. From one of the articles written late in 1879, Mr. Pairpoint expressed his philosophy that….
“In art manufactures of all kinds, taste should exercise a controlling influence in every department, visibly asserting itself in ornamental designs, and imparting a character to our industrial productions, which cannot fail to be recognized and appreciated; it enables us to beautify and elevate our works, and is always scrupulously careful to exclude even a suggestion of vulgarity. The natural desire of the human mind is to decorate and adorn, and when this desire is governed and controlled by taste, the result is an unqualified source of pleasure.”… “By the term taste, we mean a carefully cultivated judgment resulting from earnest study and research, in which the several forms and methods of decoration are duly considered; by this study we are enabled to bring together and compare the various styles that have been produced at different periods, and by nations under whose fostering care the fine arts have flourished.”…”In the earlier times of manufacturing, it was simply mechanical suitability that was required, but as society and education advances, it is necessary to combine beauty with fitness, and those who show the evidence of superior taste and elegance in their productions cannot fail to have the merit of their works recognized.”
To those visitors who already have a relationship with Pairpoint and its products, we think you will agree that no profusion of words could say what we know any better than Mr. Pairpoint himself. And as a testament to the veracity of his comments, Mr. Pairpoint's "mandate" for excellence carried on for another 70 years, through several reincarnations of the company and numerous managers. If you are new to the Pairpoint experience, please enjoy yourself and spend some time among these pages. We are very happy to have you as our guest..
Marion E. Frost, Jr.
March 2, 2013
Article No. 13-03-02
Thank you for visiting our News Page. This page will be constantly changing and will feature all types of information and matters of interest. Please visit us often as we showcase Pairpoint products, people of interest, dealers, glass museums, and topics that would normally never see the light of day. And, let us know if there is a topic that you would like explained or discussed in future posting.