Boy! Did I learn a lot today. And it’s been fun. I have had two small glass coaster/trivets, each 3 1/2 inches in diameter, that depict scenes relating to the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which I am a member. A friend gave me these two little glass items and I have had them sitting in a drawer for years. Today, I decided I needed to learn more about them and why they were created.
Here is what one looks like:
The first coaster/trivet says “DAR Mansion, Addison, Vermont.” A quick check on Google showed it to be the John Strong Mansion, owned by the Vermont State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. John Strong was a patriot during the American Revolution.
The second trivet (not pictured) says “Daughters of the American Revolution” on it and has the image of a colonial patriot on horseback. There is a steepled building of some sort on the far left side, behind the horse. Originally, I thought this was George Washington, but couldn’t figure out what steeple that would be. It’s not the Mason’s George Washington Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, as that building doesn’t have a steeple like that.
After rethinking a bit, I believe the horseman is Paul Revere and the building is the historic Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
These little glass items are typical of pressed glass decorative pieces made in the 1800s and early 1900s, so I wondered how old my little dishes might be. I also looked at a well known auction site and there was a third glass coaster up for sale there. The image was the DAR Madonna of the Trail statue that is in Springfield, Ohio and the plate was dated 4 July 1928. Maybe these trivets dated from the 1920s – or maybe not.
As luck would have it, when I telephoned the John Strong Mansion, the lady who was on duty at the time, Laura, said it wasn’t busy and she could perhaps give me some of the history of these pieces of glass.
It turns out that these are formally called “cup saucers” and were probably made by the Pairpoint Glass Company located in Sagamore, Massachusetts.
In the 1700s and 1800s, hot tea was served in cups that had no handles. To cool the tea more quickly, the tea was poured into the cup saucer and the cup was placed on a cup plate on the table. Ladies and gentlemen then had to manage to drink the tea from the saucers without having it drip down the front of their clothes.
While cup saucers have been around for a very long time, my cup saucers look very much like they were struck from the same mold as several listed on the auction site online in a listing separate from the Madonna of the Trail saucer I’ve already mentioned. A set of four in one listing could be had for only $7.99, but there were no bids posted. That made me a bit suspicious about how old – or modern – they might be.
Although these cup saucers depict historic events, Laura and I came to the consensus that the DAR cup saucers likely date from the time of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. The National Society likely had a contract with Pairpoint Glass whereby Daughters from local chapters or state societies could submit historic images with a very brief description, have their own cup saucers created and then sold these items as fund raisers.
It turns out that the John Strong Mansion has several of these Pairpoint Glass cup saucers, but they do NOT have one depicting their own house. I’ve offered to donate mine to them, as I love returning old things to their original homes.
Today has, indeed, been a fun day.