Last Updated: Jul 19, 2016     Views: 288

Unfortunately, this patent is not available here, or anywhere that I can find, since most patent records prior to 1836 were destroyed in a fire at the U.S. Patent Office.

I am attaching a scan (apologies for the poor copy---a large and unwieldy bound volume, which you will probably have to print to read!) of an article in vol 149 , no 5 of Antiques magazine. The aricle was written by American glass researchers Kenneth Wilson and Kirk Nelson who provide the best overview I could find of the puzzling question of who received the first patent for a glass pressing machine.

The first scanned page you will see, though, is a copy of some research done by J. Stanley Brothers, a glass historian long deceased, who copied information about patents he found by looking at an index to patents from 1790 to the late 1800s, among other sources. As you can see, not much information is given in this index. He also looked at the Journal of the Franklin Institute which regularly listed new patents back in the early to mid 1800s. As a result, it is difficult to tell if the patent involves the design of the glassware or the method of producing it!

There are other sources you can look at, such as:

The Corning Museum of Glass. Pressed Glass 1825-1925. Corning, NY: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1983. 48 p.

Spillman, Jane. American and European Pressed Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass. Corning, NY: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1981. “Pressing Technology,” pp. 13-44 includes hand pressing and early machine pressing.

Taylor, Gay LeCleire. Out of the Mold. Millville, NJ: Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village, 1990. 24 p.

Innes, Lowell. Pittsburgh Glass, 1797-1891. Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

Palmer, Arlene. Artistry and Innovation in Pittsburgh Glass, 1808-1882 from Bakewell & Ensell to Bakewell, Pears & Co. Frick Art & Historical Center, 2004.

Welker, John and Elizabeth. Pressed Glass in America: Encyclopedia of the First Hundred Years 1825-1925. Ivyland, PA: Antique Acres Press, 1985. “Pressing Process,” pp. 141-176.

Wilson, Kenneth M. American Glass 1760-1930. Toledo, OH: The Toledo Museum of Art; New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1994. 2 vols. “Pressed Glass, 1825-1900,” discussion, pp. 265-286.

All of these talk about the murky beginnings of the glass pressing machines, but the article I provided has encapsulated most of this research. The earliest reference to a patent which clearly involves the machinery used to make pressed glass is one that can be found listed in the 1829 Journal of the Franklin Institute (vol 3):

Account of a patent for manufacturing glass knobs for doors, drawers, &c., by making them at one operation, without the aid of blowing / Henry Whitney and Enoch Robinson, Nov. 4, 1826 (p. 203-204)

I hope this will help! Not a quick answer, I'm afraid. Please let me know if you need further clarification.

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