Pittsburgh Glass Bar Bottles or Decanters, Bakewell, Pears & Co.

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A Pair of mold-blown Pittsburgh Bar Bottles. Made of a nice heavy glass, these were designed to be used without a stopper. The mold impression is strong and very well defined throughout. The glass is clear and brilliant. The base is plain with a nice rough pontil.

Reference: See an online article about this form from the Early American Pattern Glass Society click here

The 1830s witnessed radical changes in the interior design of bars and saloons. The traditional layout had placed the keeper "behind bars," in a caged area with an opening to the taproom, to protect him and his inventory from unruly customers. However, as bars became more open, the ironwork disappeared and shelves were fitted to a wall behind the tender's back for displaying his range of liquors.

Bars and saloons continued to store large quantities of liquor in barrels, but a means was required to house liquor at the counter in a manner that helped project a suitably refined image. Pottery stoneware jugs were old fashioned and suffered practical disadvantages.

By 1845 new-style city bars had begun to resemble their modern descendants, fitted with elegant trappings and comfortable furniture, intended to attract more discerning customers than old-fashioned saloons.

Newspapers began to describe some as "drinking palaces," with long rows of decanters behind the bar. On the other hand, sleazy bars and saloons were referred to as "barrel shops" because they still poured directly from barrels , not decanters.

With most liquor during the period remaining colorless, sophisticated establishments would have required decanters of differing shapes, sizes and designs to assist the bar tender in identifying specific brands. Blown molded and engraved bar lip decanters first appeared between 1830-1840 to meet this specific need.

By the late 1850s the blown decanters were being replaced by pressed versions in numerous patterns and sizes.

The bar lip decanter enjoyed a heyday spanning just 45 years, between circa 1830-75, during which decanters in countless patterns, shapes and sizes, were being manufactured by dozens of American glass houses.
Of the Period
American Classical
Place of Origin
United States
Date of Manufacture
Circa 1830
19th Century
Excellent. Good condition. .
10.75 in. H
27 cm H
Dealer Location
Maryknoll, NY
Number of Items
Reference Number
Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Inc.
PO Box 55
Maryknoll NY 10545
By Appointment Only
(646) 846-1858
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