Identification or Validation?
Most Pairpoint Glass collectors today focus on the glass decorative art and utilitarian wares that were made by The Pairpoint Corporation after 1900. Most collectors have a general awareness but little knowledge of Pairpoint's Fine Arts Line, a very high-line of products that combined silver-plated metal fittings with glass components to create magnificent works of art.
The Pairpoint Corporation was a successor company to the Pairpoint Manufacturing Co. and the Mt. Washington Glass Company and was chartered in 1900. Pairpoint Manufacturing Co. specialized in producing silver-plated metalwares and Mt. Washington produced glass decorative art items. Although the two companies collaborated by combining each other's products into one item (sold under both names), it wasn't until after 1900 that the product line was named the "Fine Arts Line."
To digress for a moment, I think it is of great interest to understand the thinking and discipline that Thomas J. Pairpoint brought to the company that was named after him in 1869. Mr. Pairpoint was a master silversmith of English origins, and wrote in an 1879 Jeweler's Circular trade paper the following:
From our observations, it is obvious that Thomas Pairpoint's mandate was never lost as the Fine Arts Line products were designed and produced into the 1930s, long after he left the company. Every item made within this product line was "signed" with the Pairpoint name and product catalog number.
For the modern-day collector, there are still many opportunities to acquire examples of these products at shows and antiques markets at very reasonable prices. The risk, however, and I can't overstress this, is that an item being considered may have been adulterated intentionally or is simply missing a part. In my travels I have seen an alarmingly high percentage of items that are not as they should be, and I have witnessed many collectors pay very high prices for something they think they are getting but are not. This is a case of the existence of an identification mark not being adequate to make the purchase a safe one. In reverse, how many items are passed by because the buyer is unsure?
Within the subscriber section of The Pairpoint Glass Knowledge Center website (there is a Link to the PGKC within the content of the "Meet Our Friends" Tab) there is a complete section dedicated to Pairpoint's Fine Arts Line, and it's validation of being "correct." There are over 300 original factory catalog pages and a full database of information. In addition to the technical documentation, we have included a book titled "The Pairpoint Fine Arts Line," which includes much more information and another phenomenal quotation from Thomas Pairpoint.
Marion E. Frost, Jr.
February 24, 2013 (Original Publication Date)
Article No. 13-02-24