Duncan's Sandwich

by Bill & Phyllis Smith
Volume 14 No. 1 - July/August 1987

Webmaster's Note:All of the text below has been reprinted from an original four page Duncan leaflet from the 1940's, which was supplied to the News & Views editor by Bill and Phyllis Smith. The illustrations from the leaflet are shown at the end of the text.

Brochure cover Why is it called Sandwich?
The original Sandwich Glass was named after the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. It is one of the most famous of all Early American types of glass. Glass collectors treasure it. Museums show any pieces they can get.

How long ago was Sandwich Glass made?
The first Sandwich Glass was made in 1825. In that year, a Boston man named Deming Jarves, who was very fond of the Cape Cod country, and especially that section around Sandwich, conceived the idea that it would be a good place for a glass works. He called a meeting of the citizens and told them that if they were interested in starting a glasshouse, he would build one for them. They were interested - so he set to work and built the Sandwich Glass Works.

What made Sandwich Glass Famous?
Jarves knew a lot about glass, and he was a genius at developing new methods of manufacture and at encouraging originality of design. Sandwich Glass soon became famous all over the United States and a great deal of it was sent abroad.

The one thing, above all else, which contributed most to its fame, was the fact that this company was the first to adopt and perfect methods of manipulating glass by pressure instead of by blowing. Under Jarves' skilled guidance, beautiful patterns were cut in steel molds by hand. It was these pressed pieces which are most eagerly sought by collectors (although much Sandwich Glass was blown).

What are some of its Characteristics?
The Sandwich glasshouse turned out hundreds of designs in plain and figured patterns, and in colors and crystal, so that no one could be considered entirely typical, but one of the characteristic and popular treatments was the one known as "lace glass." This is sometimes called the "star and scroll" design. Early writers said that this design "sparkled like dew moistened leaves." In spite of its lacy quality, Sandwich Glass has a sturdiness and durability that have helped many of its individual pieces to survive for more than a century.

What happened to the Original Company?
It continued in business until 1888. But the guiding hand of Jarves was gone then, and in its later years, the company did not make money. Finally, a glass worker's union called a strike and shut down the works and it was never reopened.

Why is Sandwich Glass so popular today?
Sandwich patterns have always been popular, but the great vogue of Sandwich patterns today arises from the fact that they fit so well in Early American, Victorian and Modern interiors, with Colonial homes and with maple furniture, all of which are, of course, enjoying great popularity. Yet it is appropriate in almost any setting.

Where is the Sandwich Pattern used today?
It is used on the table (practically every item for table use may be obtained in Duncan's Early American Sandwich pattern). It is also used for its decorative value in windows, in cupboards and in many other places where its scintillating brilliance makes it an attractive addition to the decorative scheme.

Who makes the Sandwich Pattern today?
The principal Sandwich Pattern today is made by the Duncan & Miller Glass Company. This company is one of the oldest in the country. It is well qualified to carry on the tradition of the old Sandwich Glass. It has been in business since 1865. It was making fine glass before the old Sandwich company went out of business in 1888. Many pieces of its glassware are in the hands of collectors, and have been shown in museums. Its glasshouse is located at Washington, Pennsylvania, in a section of the country rich in historic tradition.

How is Duncan's Sandwich Pattern made?
Look at a piece of Duncan Sandwich Glass. Note the all-over pattern. Every line in that entire design has been cut skillfully by hand in a steel mold. It sometimes takes weeks to make the mold for a single piece. Hand work occurs at every stage in the production of Duncan's Early American Sandwich pattern. It has the "feeling" and character of the old Cape Cod glass.

Duncan's Sandwich blends perfectly with many of the lovely sterling and china patterns popular today ... among them these favorites:

China patterns Silver patterns
  • Ascona
  • Beatrice Glen Arden
  • Grantham
  • Elsinore
  • Lorraine Green
  • Lorraine Maroon
  • Sonora
  • Woodside
  • Apple Blossom
  • Brookside
  • Cambridge Green
  • Gloria
  • Rosalinde
  • Shasta
  • Blue Tree
  • Country Garden
  • Peachtree
  • Rose
  • Blue and Pink Tower
  • Salem
  • Apple Blossom
  • Bombay
  • China Spring
  • Dogwood
  • Riviera
  • Bognor
  • Conway
  • Cornflower
  • Old Vine
  • Chateau Rose
  • Della Robbia
  • Southern Charm
  • Buttercup
  • King Edward
  • Melrose
  • Old French
  • Damask Rose
  • Stanton Hall
  • Blossom Time
  • Brocade
  • 1810
  • Prelude
  • American Victorian
  • Memory Lane
  • Sweetheart Rose
Reed & Barton
  • Fragrance
  • French Renaissance
  • Georgian Rose
  • Bridal Veil
  • Old Charleston
  • Old Master
  • Old Mirror
  • Old Colonial
  • King Richard
  • Colonial Antique
  • Meadow Rose
  • Windsor Rose
  • Georgian Shell
  • Talisman Rose
  • Victorian

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