The 50th Anniversary of PCA, Inc. was celebrated in San Antonio, Texas, at the bi-annual meeting of PCA, Inc., President Al Bates presiding. The favor weight for the Golden Anniversary meeting was a frosted yellow lion’s head stamped on the bottom PCA, INC. 50 YEARS – Gillinder Glass. This glass weight was a reminder to attendees of William T. Gillinder.
William T. Gillander immigrated to the United States from England in the 1850s, eventually established Philadelphia Flint Glass Works in 1861, later named Franklin Flint Glass Works, and still later the glass manufacturing company became Gillinder & Sons and now Gillinder Glass in Port Jervis, New York. The company is known for having established an operational glass house at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia creating on the spot hundreds of souvenir weights for visitors. The idea generated by Gillinder’s sons.
While the chief business in Gillinder’s glassmaking centered on lighting, chimneys, silvered wares, and cut and press glass at its start, William also created paperweights between 1861 and 1871, the year he died. Perhaps others did as well at the glass house; documentation is scant. While there are gaps in knowledge about Gillinder and his paperweight making, it is known that he was deeply connected with glassworks from an early age and that he traveled around the United Kingdom in his capacity of Central Secretary of the National Flint Glass Makers Sick and Friendly Society, a trades union. When first settled in America, he worked at the New England Glass Company. He most likely was exposed to paperweight making there and perhaps elsewhere.
Gillinder weights are often pastel and soft, even muted, in color with a high dome and distinct faceting with six deep cut oval punties on the sides extending to near the base with one punty on top giving view to carpet grounds and close concentrics with a center focal point millefiori. Some Gillinder weights appear with no faceting and lower domes with very similar millefiori focal points. The center millefiori rods have been identified with 10, 12, 14, or 16 teeth with cogged or scalloped collars giving them the look of ruffles. Crimps have eight loops in most cases and appear around a cog cane or within a cog cane. Gillinder weights are prized and while there are distinct characteristics that differ from Bacchus weights, Gillinder weights have been sometimes confused with Bacchus weights.
Although information about William T. Gillinder and his attractive weights with their faceting and often feathery and muted colors is not easily found, discussion of his sought-after weights is popular in both PCA, Inc. Annual Bulletins (1996, 2006) and at conferences (2003). Noted paperweight enthusiasts and experts who have searched the archives to uncover information on William T. Gillinder and his paperweights include Paul Hollister, Jr., George N. Kulles, Alan Thornton, Gay LeCleire Taylor, and John Hawley.
Gillinder Glass today is located in Port Jervis, NY, and is known as a manufacturer of custom-molded specialty glass using furnaces that are the most modern in the world. Gillinder Glass is directed by Charlie Gillinder, a direct descendent of its founder, William T. Gillinder.
Gillinder Frosted Glass Lion
PCA, Inc. Golden Anniversary – 2003 – San Antonio, Texas Bi-Annual Meeting