Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: American Glass from the Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties


Changing Exhibitions Gallery
May 19, 2011 to December 31, 2011

This exhibition showcased the amazing works of Mt. Washington and its successor, the Pairpoint Corporation, one of America’s longest-running luxury glass companies (1837-1957). Constantly reinventing and re-invigorating its business through creativity in texture, decoration, pattern, and color, the companies developed a variety of styles and decorating techniques which were so technically complex that few are practiced today.

The exhibition told the story of the companies as purveyors of innovative luxury items during the "Gilded Age,” a period of exuberant growth and prosperity in the United States. The exhibition featured more than 150 novel and creative glass styles from the 1880s to the 1930s including art glass, cut glass, kerosene and electric lamps, and highly decorative tableware.

Mt. Washington and Pairpoint glass rivaled Tiffany and Steuben in its heyday during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Characterized by innovation in style and technique, Mt. Washington’s art glass was highly successful commercially and helped cement the company as a leader in American art glass.

Mt. Washington’s lighting business, including gas chandeliers and decorated art glass and cut glass kerosene lamps, was central to their success in the late 19th century. With the invention of the light bulb and the rise of electricity, Pairpoint’s new and visually striking Electroliers became popular showcases for electric lighting and remained so for nearly 30 years. In the decade prior to the Great Depression, Pairpoint expanded its market offerings with highly-decorative tableware and lighting made of both colored and colorless transparent glass.

Mt. Washington and Pairpoint Style Guide

sicilian lava glass

Sicilian Glass (also known as Lava Glass)
Manufactured 1878 – 1880

Volcanic lava, supposedly from Mt. Etna in Sicily, was only a minor ingredient of this glass, but gave it its name. The objects have abstract colored and gilt decoration that was very unusual for the time.

burmese glass

Manufactured 1885 – 1895

Burmese is translucent glass that gradually shades from canary yellow at the bottom of the piece to salmon near the top. Some are plain and others have applied decoration. Shown here is the “Lace Embroidery, Queens Pattern.”

Peach Blow

Peach Blow
Manufactured 1885-1895

Peach Blow glass shifts from slightly bluish white at the bottom to bluish pink at the top. The surface was sometimes left in its natural glossy state, but most pieces received an acid treatment to produce a plush finish. Many include decoration, like the “Lace Embroidery, Queens Pattern” shown here.


Manufactured 1885-1895

Cameo glass, inspired by ancient examples found in archaeological excavations, was popular in the late 19th century. Like other manufacturers of the time, Mt. Washington used acid to cut back the outer color to leave the design in relief.


Manufactured 1885-1895

The designs of Coraline glass resemble branches of natural coral. Mt. Washington was not the only company to make glass with this pattern; much Coraline glass was exported to the United States from Bohemia and England.


Sicilian Vase - Artwork
Royal Flemish Peacock Vase - Artwork
Peachblow Vase in "Lace Embroidery, Queen's" Pattern - Artwork
Burmese Ewer - Artwork
Rose Bowl in "Mirror Block" Pattern - Artwork
Burmese Pig Whimsy - Artwork
Lamp in "Russian" Pattern - Artwork
Crown Milano Cracker Jar with Cover - Artwork
Electrolier with Azaleas Shade - Artwork
Water Pitcher in "Murillo" Pattern - Artwork
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: American Glass from the Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: 1890: Ad for Art Glass - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Lava Vase - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Burmese Lamp - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Decorated Peachblow Footed Vase - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Royal Flemish Vase with Camel and Rider - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Royal Flemish Punch Bowl with Brownie Decoration - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Cut Lamp with Silver Fittings - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Water Carafe, cut in Wheeler pattern - Audio
Mt. Washington and Pairpoint: Cut Rose Globe - Audio