Week 4 A - Ceramics, Glass & Metal

Site: Emily Carr University's Moodle Site
Course: DHIS-310-SU90-2016-Canadian Design History/Theory - Term II
Book: Week 4 A - Ceramics, Glass & Metal
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Date: Saturday, 4 December 2021, 1:56 PM


Ceramics, Glass & Metal

Table of contents

1. Ceramics

1.1. Sam Intro Ceramic,Glass, Metal


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Introduction, Ceramics, Glass & Metal

This lecture explores Canadian cermaics, glass and metal.

1.2. Ceramics from the Micmac Area, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, c. A.D. 1-1000

Early Maritimes Prehistory

According to archaeologists, the ceramic period (2500-500 B.C.) was a period in the Maritimes when ceramics were produced. The fragments pictured here are from round-bottomed pots used for cooking, found at sites in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. “They are decorated with a variety of geometric motifs, made by incising with a sharp object or impressing with a toothed stamp or cord-wrapped paddle. The two sherds at the lower left are probably from the same vessel.”

1.3. Algonkian and Iroquoian Pottery, C. W. Jefferys Illustration

Decoration Tools for Cooking Wares


– “Algonkian: Cooking done by setting pot in embers and dropping hot stones in water in pot.

– Iroquoian: Cooking done as above, also by suspending post over fire.

–Some typical designs.
– No. 2 was made by a cord twined around a stick and pressed on the wet clay. Circle made by end of hollow stem of bone. No.10 made by pointed thumb nail.

– Iroquoian pot found near Roebuck, Grenville County, Ontario.
– Sharpened pieces of bone used for marking designs.
– Notched bone used for marking rows of small dots.”

1.4. Engraving, Native Village, Alaska, c. 1780, Mustard Pot, Blue-Printed, Britain, c. 1820

Printed Earthenware Favoured in Canada

Imported British ceramics arrived on ships. After the voyage across the Atlantic, they would be sold in cities such as Montreal, Halifax, and Toronto. Red River Cart and York Boats would ship British ceramics to the Northwest.

Printed earthenware from Britain formed the bulk of the Canadian trade.

Spode, Wedgwood, Staffordshire and many other English manufactures exported to Canada.

Natives in a fishing encampment in territory now part of Alaska. The engraving was published to illustrate the 1780s exploration of a naval officer from France.

The blue-printed earthenware mustard pot used the engraving as a source of the decoration.

1.5. Advertising Plate for Francis Clementson, Importer, Saint John, New Brunswick, c. 1855

Early Ceramics Business

“Like other Canadian merchants, including Joseph Wedgwood at an early period, Francis Clementson handled wares that had nothing to do with china. He re-opened Samuel Cooper's old store not with ornaments and tea sets, but with English ale and boxes of window glass. The cigars imported to sell with china were known as ‘Clementson Queens.’

His business soon went beyond New Brunswick. In summer of 1855, he was seeking Nova Scotian orders in an advertisement in the Yarmouth Herald on August 16:

Fras. Clementson Manufacturer and Importer of Glass, China and Earthenware, No. 11 Dock Street, St. John, N. B. Now opening a beautiful selection of above Goods, of the newest patterns and designs, (imported from our own Manufactory, Staffordshire, England). The Wholesale Department will be found to contain a full and varied assortment from which any description of Goods can be selected or had in the original package.”

1.6. Advertisement, Warner & Company, Stone Ware, Toronto, Ontario, 1856

The Range of Canadian Potting

“...it is hardly to be expected that infant industries, comparatively speaking, such as our potteries are, can jump at once to perfection.” (W.W. Johnson, Sketches of the Late Depression, 1882)

“Only when set against the imports is the limited range of nineteenth-century Canadian potting seen in perspective; and only when judged in relation to the overwhelming flood of these imports is its true achievement realized.

Potting in nineteenth-century Canada was typified by the brownware bowl and the stoneware crock.”

Pictured here is an advertisement for Canadian-made stoneware:

A Large assortment constantly on hand, and for sale in their Pottery, Near the Don Bridge East, where all orders will be received, and faithfully executed. Items available include:

Bream Pots
Butter Pots
Preserve Jars
Also, Fire Brick, Clay and Sand, and Portable Furnaces of a superior description.

1.7. Jardinière, Salt-Glazed Stoneware, George L. Lazier, Picton, Ontario, c. 1865

Canadian Pottery Exhibited in Antwerp, Belgium

At the Antwerp International Exhibition in 1885, the work of George Lazier was exhibited.

As made by Canadian potters, salt-glazed stoneware was a clay body fired to the point of vitrification and glazed by throwing common salt into the kiln at maximum temperature. The chemical effect of the decomposing salt, acting on surface compounds in the stoneware, resulted in a thin coating of glaze.

Along with the work of Lazier of Hart Brothers and Lazier of Picton, Ontario, the Antwerp exhibition included the stone and earthenware work of Gray and Betts of Tilsonburg; W. E. Welding of Brantford; William Gray and S. H. Betts, who had been only a short time in the business together as “Manufacturers of Stone, Rockingham and Bristol ware,” showing bowls, spittoons, teapots, pie plates and soup drainers.

In salt-glazed stoneware their assortment included “Dutch pots,” fruit, jars, butter pots, and oil and water kegs.

Visit the website below to view additional salt-glazed stoneware from the collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.

1.8. Spittoon, Glasgow Pottery Co., Iberville, Quebec, c. 1880

Village Potters and Increaded Transportation

Peter Russel wrote from York in 1875: “The only sort of pottery made in Canada is brownware, which is often of a very good quality; enough is made for the use of the upper province. Very little of the English brown come far beyond Montreal.”

Pictured here is an example of brownware made in Quebec. “In numbers of small communities throughout the colonies, particularly in the little French-Canadian communities with their self-sufficient economy, the local potter at one time found enough work to keep going in a limited way. It was the improvement in transportation, allowing the imported wares to move freely into the interior of the country, that very often struck the local potter his most serious blow.”

Visit the website below to see more examples of brownware.

1.9. Dinner Plate, M. Logan, Toronto, Ontario, 1897

The Cabot Commemorative State Service for Canada

“The year 1897 marked the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Canada by John Cabot. To commemorate this event, the Women's Art Association of Canada (WAAC) proposed to commission a State Dinner Service of hand-painted china for the Governor General’s residence in Ottawa. The Service was to accommodate a state banquet for 24 people. No two pieces were to be alike; it was to be painted with Canadian subject-matter only and to be painted by Canadian women. As a project it was an early expression of nationalism in Canadian art and it was also an expression of confidence in the ability of Canadian women to carry out such a task, at a time when British and European art, especially ceramic art, was much more highly esteemed than colonial products.” Visit the link provided to learn more about this State Service. Sources:
Canadian Museum of Civilization (Maxie Elwood) website. Illustration: Canadian Museum of Civilization. Visit this link: http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/cadeau/cahis01e.shtml

1.10. Bottle, The Golden Key Ginger Beer, Winnipeg, Manitoba

From Hand-Thrown to Industrially Produced

“Ginger beer was stored in stoneware bottles as far back as the 1830's. Incised ‘primitives,’ hand-thrown by potters to very individualistic standards, were made with little more than the bottler's name, perhaps a city and even a date on the shoulder for identification. Most were just slip glazed, the occasional one had blue glaze on the lip or even down the shoulder.

Come the 1880s, and growing industrialization, the modern, grey glazed bottles with stamped logos started to appear. These more modern, still hand-thrown but made to much more precise standards, bottles came with shoulder slips in green, blue, even purple-red! And the stamped designs were just as wonderful...men on bicycles, steam locomotives, moose, black bears, anything to attract the buyer's interest.”

1.11. Hudson Bay Jug, Stoneware, Lethbridge, Alberta, c.late 1800s

Whiskey and Wine

The most common use of stoneware jugs was for whiskey, wine and other spirits.

The George Chopping collection includes jugs such as the one pictured here for the Hudson Bay Company, as well as jugs for oil with the Eaton's label, school ink for the Reliance Ink Company, paints-colours-varnishes for the Canada Paint Company, pickles for Blackwood Company and numerous other jugs.

1.12. Jack Forbes


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Natural Gas, Clay, Creativity & Production

Jack Forbes. Executive Director of Medalta Ceramics talks about the history of Medalta and surrounding ceramic and clay works in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

"Medicine Hat had been gifted with natural resources. It became a settlement when the Canadian Pacific Railroad arrived there in 1883.By the first decade of the twentieth century the city was incorporated (1906) and itching to expand. A plentiful supply of natural gas led to the boast that it was perhaps the only city in the world where the street lights were left burning night and day 365 days a year. It was cheaper than hiring staff to turn them off. Entrepreneurs were lured by the offers of cheap natural gas, land and deferred taxes in exchange for business development and job creation."

Visit the link provided to learn about hotel production ceramics.

1.13. Medalta Crocks and Jugs, Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic Park, Medicine Hat Alberta, Summer 2003

Own a Piece of History

“Own a Piece of History” is the slogan for the online gift shop at the Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic Park in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Pictured here is a display of crocks and jugs, the main products of Medalta. The historic site contains old machinery, workshops for the Visiting Artists Program, a shop and the brick factory that has been restored and renovated for the purpose of public display.

This is certainly a “must visit” place for anyone interested in ceramics and the history of ceramics in Canada.

Today, in 2012, Medicine Hat Clay Industries National Historic Park in Medicine Hat, Alberta has grown into a major destinations for tourist and ceramic artists and "buffs" from around the world. Visit this link: http://medalta.org/shop/collections-room

1.14. Jack Medalta Hotel wares


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Hotel Wares, Beauty and Function

Jack Forbes Executive Director, Medalta Potteries, talks about the history of Medalta and phases including the Depression era, the 1930s and the discovery of kaolin clay ideal for hotel wares.

1.15. Bean Pot, Medalta Potteries, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1924-1954

Functional Wares for Kitchen and Industry

“Made in the town of Medicine Hat, Alberta—hence its name Med-Alta—this little covered pot speaks volumes. It tells, first of all, about the development and exploitation of clay deposits. It tells of a wholly Canadian company, established in 1915 and lasting well into the 1950s, despite incredible competition from English and American pottery, which was cheaper. Medalta Potteries also made many other useful kitchen items like milk jugs, teapots, bowls, jars and baking dishes; Medalta ware is now sought after by collectors.

The pot also tells of how we lived in those days by what the company sold: teapots, pickling crocks, hot water “pigs” (for warming the sheets), sugar bowl-and-creamer sets, and bean pots. What is it about bean pots?”

Visit the website below to learn more about bean pots and the functional designs of Medalta ceramic artists/designers/craftspeople.

1.16. Interior, Clay Kiln, Medalta Potteries, National Historic Site, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 2003

The Friends of Medalta Society

"Medalta Potteries Museum celebrates the ceramic and pottery industries that it grew up around during the early and middle part of the 20th century. [Medicine Hat, Alberta]Medicine Hat is in the middle of the vast Canadian prairies. It has the two magic ingredients that make a ceramic industry viable: quality clay and abundant natural gas to fuel kilns. Early this century Rudyard Kipling visited our city and coined the phrase "The city with all hell for a basement". But he also noticed the industrious people that lived here. This project celebrates them. The Friends of Medalta Society is overseeing the restoration of a huge complex of buildings on two sites that celebrate the companies, people, machines, and the products they made in Southern Alberta during the early and middle of the 20th century. Each year our interpreters show thousands of people how the casting, jiggering and pressing of stoneware pottery were done. In the past five year we have had 60,000 visitors! "

Visit the link provided to learn about the development of this industrial history site.

Page Links:
Historic Clay District

1.17. Kilns, Medalta, National Historic Site, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Summer 2003

Kilns of Southeastern Alberta

Medalta Potteries and Hycroft China Complexes were declared a National Historic Site in 1985.

Established as the Medicine Hat Pottery Company, Ltd, 1912-1914, the first pottery factory in Medicine Hat was an offshoot of the Western Porcelain Manufacturing Company of Spokane, Washington. By 1913, its two thirty foot, round downdraft kilns were up and running, and with a labour force of about fifty men, the factory was soon producing a good variety of products.

Due to high costs of imported clay the factory closed. But it was soon to reopened using Saskatchewan clays at a fraction of the costs of the imported clay from Washington.

The new owners of the pottery–incorporated in 1915 under the name of Medalta Stoneware Limited–acquired all the assets of the defunct company including the land, buildings, and equipment.

In 1921, Medalta could make the claim of "shipping the first carloads of manufactured goods, other than cereals, from Western Canada to points East of Fort William. That year they shipped thirty-four cars of stoneware to the east, and 1922 promised to be an even year with the projections of up to sixty carloads.

Medalta was equally proud of the fact that it was a Canadian based company. Its slogan was “Canadian made Stoneware from Clay, made by Canadian Workmen and financed by Canadian Capital.”

In spite of the diverse items of wares, Medalta was not able to make a satisfactory profit for its investors. Medalta Potteries Limited was closed in 1954.

1.18. Jack Forbes Stoneward


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Functional Stoneware

Jack Forbes, Executive Director, Medalta Pottery, talks about Medalta stoneware dating from the 1912's onward.

1.19. Various Bricks and Clay Products, National Historic Site, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Summer 2003

Brick History in Canada

“Bricks have been employed for at least 5,000 years in building throughout the world, including the entire period of the history of Canadian building. Bricks, indeed, were made at the first settlement established in Canada, the Port Royal Habitation founded early in the seventeenth century.

Pictured here is a range of brick designs produced at various brick factories in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

Many industries started up in Medicine Hat prior to 1914, but one of the few to survive the turbulent economy and labour shortages created by World War I was the manufacture of clay products. The main products of the industry—brick, tile, and sewer pipe—supplied the massive construction business that followed on the heels of western immigration. High demand for these products assured employment and economic stability for the city.

Like other industries in Medicine Hat, clay products plants benefited from the advantages of natural gas, notably that cheap gas reduced the cost of basic utilities. But the principal expense in manufacturing clay products was that of maintaining a heat source capable of hardening pliable clay into vitrified ceramic. Natural gas provided reliable, consistent heat at the intensely high temperatures needed for firing the kilns. The fact that it was also inexpensive made it even more attractive. The availability of gas made clay products one of Medicine Hat’s earliest and most successful industries.”

1.20. Prairies Ceramics


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Prairies Ceramics

Curator/collector discusses the ceramic work of Peter Rupchan.

1.21. Ceramic Bowl, Peter Rupchan, Buchanan, Saskatchewan, 1925

Found In Doukobor Home in British Columbia

This attractively styled, and unusually small in size container was used predominantly for liquids. Interestingly, this vessel serves as evidence of the interaction that occurred between various pioneering Western Canadian ethnic groups: it was discovered in a Doukhobor home in Grand Forks B.C. The family originally acquired the vessel from Ruphan whilst residing in a Doukhobor village in Buchanan, Saskatchewan.

1.22. The Ewart-Duggan House, Medicine Hat, Alberta, 1887

First Brick Residence in Northwest

"The distinctive 1 1/2 storey red-brick home was originally constructed in 1887.

The house with its cross-gabled roofs, marble fireplaces and decorative trip was believed to be the first brick residence constructed in the Northwest.

It used approximately 60,000 bricks which were produced by Ben McCord near the present location on Seven Person's Creek. "

1.23. Advertisement, Sovereign Potters, Hamilton, Ontario, c. 1943

Canadian Post-WWII Production

After the British Conquest (1760), British earthenware was used widely in Canada, from Quebec farmhouses to governors' residences. Later, British bone china, a form of porcelain, became popular as the desire for fine quality replaced the need for sturdiness.

Several things contributed to the decline of Canadian ceramic production in the 1880s. British products dominated tableware. Inexpensive glass containers were available for home canning, and more food preservation was being done in factories. By 1910, most potteries had closed.

n 1933, with the help of a consortium of local investors, William Pulkingham and Alfred Etherington started the Sovereign Potters operation. Not only did Sovereign produce dinnerware (as pictured in this advertisement), it produced tourist plates to commemorate royal visits and other souvenir items. In 1972, the company’s name was changed to H. R. Johnson (UK).

Visit the website below to view the most complete list of twentieth-century Canadian pottery manufacturers and craftspeople.

1.24. Alan Elder


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International Exposure to Canadian Design

Alan Elder, curator, Canadian craft, decorative art and design, Canadian Museum of Civilization, talks about Sovereign Potters and international exposure to Canadian design.

1.25. Dinner Set, Sovereign Potters, Hamilton, Ontario, 1953

Bright with Colour

The advertisement notes:
“Picture this modern dinnerware on your table... inviting and gay for family meals or for casual entertaining. One bright version of today's trend is the FANFAIR design... a plaid that comes in red, yellow, green, and grey. Or, your preference may be for CARNIVAL'S solid colours of Burgundy, Chartreuse, French Grey or Forest Green. Select place settings all in one colour, in a combination of all colours. Moderately priced... in sets or open stock… in retail china stores across Canada.”

Made in Canada by Sovereign Potters, Affiliated with Johnson Bros. (Hanley), England

1.26. Canadian Pottery Identifier

Blue Mountain Collector

You may remember seeing Blue Mountain Pottery at airport gift shops or at garage sales. It is one on the most well-known potteries in Canada. Some may argue that it is not art. Others consider the production of Blue Mountain Pottery to be a significant contribution to Canadian popular culture.

"I have been collecting for a number of years, acquiring most pieces from yard sales, flea markets, and the Blue Mountain Pottery factory located in Collingwood, Ontario, in Canada. I also wish to thank the people who have given me gifts of Blue Mountain Pottery over the years.” Visit the website below to view the vast collection of “The Granny of Blue Mountain Pottery.”

1.27. Teabowls, Stoneware, Wayne Ngan, Hornby Island, British Columbia, 1985

Awarded Prix Saidye Bronfman Award, 1983

“Wayne Ngan is well-known as a potter who has been producing work in his studio on Hornby Island, British Columbia, for thirty years. His artistic talents were evident to his teachers shortly after he arrived in Vancouver from his native China at the age of thirteen, and was encouraged to attend the Vancouver School of Art. He graduated in 1963 and established his own pottery and sculpture studio, taught, and gave pottery workshops.

He lived in a temporary shelter for years, while building a kiln. Within the simulating island environment, Ngan renewed his interest in his Asian heritage and began experimenting with raku firing, salt glazes and Chinese brush techniques.”

Wayne Ngan and many Canadian ceramic artists work in the tradition of studio ceramic production. The importance of hand-produced, limited editions and “one off” items is valued. Craft and design is merged with artistic expression.

Visit the website below to view the work of Canadian ceramic artists, craftspeople and designers at the Clay and Glass Museum in Ontario.

1.28. Watering Can, Ceramic, Tam Irving, Vancouver, British Columbia, c. 2000

Tam Irving and B.C. Potters

Tam Irving, former instructor at Emily Carr Institute, works in the tradition of studio ceramics. Whether his work is described as art, pottery, craft or design, his production is limited to series and “one-off” pieces. Leach's and Hamada's principals of pottery, ceramic art, and production strongly influenced many potters in B.C. and other parts of Canada.

Irving was instrumental in establishing the facilities of the B.C. Potters Guild on Granville Island, B.C.

Visit the website below to view the work of B.C. potters http://bcpotters.com/

1.29. The Flame Collection, Blue Mountain Pottery, Collingwood, Ontario, 2003

History of Blue Mountain Pottery

“Blue Mountain Pottery's story began in 1947, when a group of skilled craftsmen pooled their skills and resources and began experimenting with the rich red clay of Ontario's Georgian Bay region. They located at the base of Blue Mountain, along Georgian Bay's southern shores. There was nothing ordinary about the pottery they produced in the old barn they converted into a studio.

The tapered dishes and graceful, long necked vases were specially designed and meticulously handmade. The red-brown clay was cured for 12 hours and decorated in deep blues and rich greens which ran smoothly together in the kiln so that the finished pieces emerged with soft, fluid patterns. The colour reflected in our traditional green was the original artisan's attempt to portray the colours that appear on the face of the Blue Mountain at certain times of the year. The face of the slope is heavily laden with spruce and pine trees, and with the trails cut for skiing creating the interlaced shades of blue and green.”

2. Glass

2.1. Footed Bowl, Free-blown, Mallorytown Glass Works, Mallorytown, Ontario, 1823-1839/40

First Glass and Earliest Glass Factory

“The earliest proven Canadian glass factory was located one mile west of Mallorytown, Ontario

The date of the first batch is unknown but the oral history which supplied the exact site included the statement ‘the old glass works began operation at some period about 1825.’

As I had interviewed scores of people who had misdirected me to seven previously investigated sites and who had shown me ‘authentic’ items which had been manufactured circa 1880-1940, I continue to accept the date of circa 1825.”

Pictured here is the Mallorytown sweetmeat dish, one of the great pieces produced in Canada. It is a free-blown, aquamarine coloured “lily-pod” footed bowl; the bowl and applied base have folded rims and five superimposed “lily-pod” motifs. The bowl’s base reveals the scar of a pontil rod. Height is 2 2/8”, with base height of 1” and base diameter of 3 3/16”.

2.2. Paperweights, Montréal, Québec: (top) Baccarat, c. 1881; (bottom left) Machet, c. 1892; (bottom right) Machet, c. 1895

Baccarat from France, in Montréal

“John Baptist Machet made the ‘Baccarat’ paperweight shown here in the top centre while working at the Excelsior Glass Company, Montréal. The body is of lead glass obtained in the Excelsior Factory, and the ‘set-ups’ were brought from the ‘Baccarat’ glass factory in France.

The important example of a ‘made in Canada’ paperweight shown on the left was also created by Jean Baptist Machet, c. 1892. The title of this item is Bottom of the Sea, inspired by a coral reef surmounted by seaweed. The body of the weight is of lead glass. The motif is of finely broken opal glass, and the “seaweed” is of a green glass used to manufacture coal oil lamps of the period.

On the right is Lily in Flowerpot paperweight made by Edouard Machet at the Diamond Glass Company, Montréal, c. 1895.”

2.3. Swan Paperweights: (left) Maker Unknown, c. 1925-1930; (right) Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg, Ontario, 1895

Where Was Glass Made in Ontario?

“The following is a check list of glass-houses operating in Ontario during the industry's first century:

-Mallorytown Glass Works, Mallorytown (c. 1825-1839)
-Hamilton Glass Works, Hamilton (1865-1895)
-Burlington Glass Works, Hamilton (1875-1909)
-Napanee Glass Works, Napanee (1881-1883)
-Toronto Glass Works, Toronto (1894-1900)
-Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg (1894-1913) (Dominion Glass Company Limited, Wallaceburg, 1913- )
-Beaver Flint Glass Company, Toronto (1879-1948)
-Jefferson Glass Company, Toronto (1913-1925)

Pictured here are two swan paperweights. On the left is a very interesting and relatively late swan paperweight. The colour and form are charming. The tail in particular suggests late 19th century; it is, however, of the period of c. 1925-1930.

On the right is a Wallaceburg swan paperweight. Canadian bird paperweights and whimseys were a popular form of self-expression and/or proof of skill among artisans in glass. This example was obtained in Wallaceburg and suggests influences emanating from Québec. The body is decorated with pale swirls of opal. The head, rudimentary wings and slightly elongated tail were achieved by the use of pucellas or spring tool. These ever-present tools were indispensable, and the glass blower would have several sizes of each. Early bird forms, whether blown or solid, were given rudimentary wings and very short, decorative tails. This example was made in the Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg, Ontario, c. 1895.”

2.4. Paperweights, Group of Five, Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg, Ontario, 1895-1912

Non-Commercial Paperweights

“The interesting piece shown in the upper left documents the close co-operation between the glassblowing fraternities of Ontario and Québec. The weight is of the five-petal lily with bubble stem concept. The legends are of blue on rectangular opal fields. The field is of opal chips supporting a five-petalled design of chips coloured blue, pale blue, yellow and pink. Made in 1910 for Arthur Leonard, his brother.

The weight created for ‘J. Gasnell’ (c. 1900) (top right) has a multi-coloured field enclosed in flint glass. The legend is in cobalt blue on a strip of opal. As was the custom of Canadian makers of non-commercial paperweights, the base of this presentation piece reveals the scar resulting from the use of a pontil rod.

The recipient of the ‘Emma’ paperweight (lower left) was a niece of the maker. The legend was written on a shard of blue opal, and the field is of chips coloured ruby, medicine-bottle, blue and white opal, c. 1899.

The ground of the ‘Dr. C. Covel’ weight (lower right) consists of five joined mounds of opal glass upon the crests of which are scattered glass chips of pale blue, deep blue, ruby, yellow and pink. The legend is in cobalt on a strip of white opal, c. 1912.”

2.5. St. Lawrence Glass Works, Montréal, Québec, 1869

King of England Discouraged Governor of Québec from Setting Up Glass Factories

“In 1712 an official in New France wrote to his superior in France: ‘It is to be hoped that His Majesty will see fit to send to his country all sorts of artisans, especially potters and glass-blowers.’ Despite the request, there is not evidence that glassware was ever made in New France. When Britain took control of the colonies, the King discouraged the Governor of Quebec from setting up local industries that would compete with British glass manufacturers.”

In the centuries to follow Canadian glass factories produced a range of glass designs including practical glass (for home use), industrial glass, inspirational glass (for places of worship) and glass for science and medicine.

From 1839 to the present, glass works were established in 43 Canadian communities from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. One of the largest was Dominion Glass, with factories in Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton (Wallaceburg), Winnipeg, Redcliffe (Alberta) and Burnaby (British Columbia).

In addition to the practical glass for cooking, storing and drinking, most “Canadian glass works produced industrial glass such as lanterns for street light globes, lenses for railway and ship lanterns, and telegraph and telephone line insulators. The Dominion Glass Company 1926 catalogue listed the following industrial items: fire extinguishers, battery jars, lightning rod balls, fishing floats, store door plates, headlight lenses, dental cuspidor bowls, prisms, vault lights, and insulators.”

Art glass and inspirational glass included stained glass windows and other art forms. Candlesticks and communion sets were designed and produced for places of worship.

2.6. Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg, Ontario, 1895-1913

Description of a Glass Factory

The Sydenham Glass Company became the Wallaceburg Branch of the Dominion Glass Company Ltd. (1913-1994)

Pictured here is the original factory. The photograph was taken about 1895.

“The Wallaceburg Plant of the Dominion Glass Company Limited has been in continuous production since the lighting of the first fires in 1895. And, thanks to its being the most important commercial venture ever established in a previously semi-rural community, it has been well recorded in the local newspapers.”

From the Wallaceburg Herald and the Wallaceburg News, 1985:
‘The Glass Works of the Sydenham Glass Co. (Ltd.) is now competed and for excellence in construction facilities, for turning out glass and its location, has few equals and no superior on the continent of North America.’

To give the reader an idea of the extent of these buildings and works we will have a short sketch of them. The main building is 70X100 feet with circular roof, the top of which is 65 feet from the ground. On the east side is a wing 40X100 feet.

There are two wings to the west 100X30, each standing at right angles to the main building. Between these is the engine room 24X30. At the north end of the main building are the annealing ovens 20X100. In the main building are the great glass tank and a portion of the gas producers. It is in this main building the glass is made.”

2.7. Whimsey Glass Drape, Sydenham Glass Company, Wallaceburg, Ontario, c. 1910

Interview with Glassmaker

Interview between George Gardiner of Hamilton, Ontario, and Gerald Stevens, October 31, 1958:

“G.S. Mr. Gardiner, at what age did you join the Burlington Glass Works? 

G.G. Eleven years old

G.S. What was your first work?

G.G. Carrying in fruit jars to the annealing ovens.

G.S. What were your duties as an apprentice?

G.G. We were blowing fruit jars and bottles.

G.S. How long did you serve as an apprentice before becoming a qualified glassblower?

G.G. Five years.

G.S The drape illustrates many techniques used in glassmaking, such as cake glass, candy cane, and others. How were these special effects made?

G.G. Well, I would have coloured glass and I would put it in the furnace. I would watch it while it would melt. Then I would get it on my punty, roll it, pull it out and then make a link. As a rule I used to make so many links every night till I got the quantity I wanted—red, white, blue, amber and so on.”

Shown here is a rare, off-hand, tri-coloured glass drape. The colours are blue, opal, and amber. Length of upper chain is 45.5”, length of link approximately 1.75” length of link, approximately 1.75”.

2.8. Typical Tools of the Glass-making Craft, Late Nineteenth Century

Factories Three Miles from Water

The photograph depicts the tools of the craft: iron pontil rod, with screw-on wood handle alongside; shears; two spring tools; pucellas; compass; blowpipe. In the background scene, typical of the late nineteenth century plants, they are being used to make lamp chimneys.

”Invariably early Canadian glass-houses were located within three miles of large bodies of water. This brought them close to the U.S. border, but the infant industry was protected by tariffs against American competitors, particularly for the preserving jars, which were so important before the wide spread use of tin cans.”

2.9. Glass Lamps, Cross and Coin Dot, Burlington Glass Works, Hamilton, Ontario, 1876-1909

Kerosene Lamps

“The Burlington Glass Works of Hamilton, Ontario (1876) was the most outstanding, prolific and varied source of late nineteenth-century Canadian lighting equipment designed to burn kerosene. These lamps were interesting, colourful and, in many instances, the mould-blown bowls and pressed-glass bases are found to be a ‘mix and match’ concept in which foot and font might be combined in a series of alternative arrangements of patterns and colours.

Illustrated (left and second from right) is a very rare pair of lamps bearing forms of cross and coin dot motifs in opal glass. These bowls illustrate the variants, which were created in the Burlington Glass Works factory. Both have flint-glass, chevron bases, height (less chimneys) 7 1/8”.

The two finger lamps decorated with coin dot motif. Both were mould-blown in a two-piece mould and have applied handles. The piece on the right is made of blue and white opal glass, and the other light amber and white opal.”

2.10. Vancouver Soda Water Works, Vancouver, British Columbia, c. 1872

Soda Water Bottles and Suppliers

The Vancouver Soda Water Works was the first soda water firm in Vancouver.

The photograph from the City of Vancouver Archives depicts the owners (three Meikle brothers) standing in front of a wagon.

The book Pioneer Soda Water Companies of B.C. was written primarily for collectors. Bill Wilson and Jim Askey illustrate and describe the many variations and designs of bottles in B.C.

Five major suppliers of glass bottles to the Vancouver Soda Water Works were:
Sydenham (Dominion) Glass Company of Wallaceburg, Ontario (1893-1913), the Humphrey Glass Works of Trenton, Nova Scotia (1890-1914), the Beaver Flint Glass Works of Toronto, Ontario (1897-1948), the Burlington Glass Works of Hamilton, Ontario (1875-1909) and the Diamond Glass Company, Ltd., of Montreal, Quebec (1890-1902).

The Crystal Glass Company of New Westminster, B.C., operated for only two years (1907-06). According to an article, which appeared in the June 1913 edition of the Industrial Progress and Commercial Record of B.C., it was stated, “the demand for their products was not large enough to absorb their output.”

2.11. Hand Lamps, Burlington Glass Works, Hamilton, Ontario, c. 1880

Techniques, Types and Colours

“Techniques employed by the Burlington glass-blowers included free-blown, blown-moulded, blown in a mould, and pressed. Types of glass produced were opal, opal blue, custard, flint (clear), red, blue, amber, green, and various shades thereof. Glasswares included bottles, sealers (preserve jars), lamps, lamp chimneys, salts and tablewares.”

Pictured here are four hand lamps from the Burlington Glass Works.

(left and second from right)
A pair in deep and medium amber respectively is illustrated.

(second from left)
A mould-glass, green glass "nutmeg" hand lamp is equipped with a wire handle.

A rare, amber, mould-blown hand lamp is pictured with a diamond quilted design, applied handle and wheel motif on the base.

Visit the website below to learn about glass techniques and terms.

2.12. Glass Hand Lamps, Burlington Glass Works, Hamilton, Ontario, c. 1880

Made in Ontario for Quebec Markets

“Two L'Ange Gardien, Extra. C. H. Binks & Co., Montréal, were blown in two-piece moulds and with applied handles.

The example on the left has a blue base and globular ball shade. Height is 3 1/8".
Although produced for nineteenth-century Québec, shards confirm these beautiful little lamps were made at the Burlington Glass Works.

2.13. Bottle Collection, George Chopping, Whitewood, Saskatchewan, Summer 2003

Pioneer Settlers Demand for Glass Containers

In the 1880s, settlers arrived with containers such as kegs, sealers, jars, bottles, etc. The products sold by many businesses were in liquid form, so they would have to acquire containers to dispense their products.

Some of the earliest businessmen needing containers to sell their products included druggists, wine merchants, hotelkeepers, brewers, soda water dispensers, mineral water manufacturers, grocers and hardware managers.

As the pioneer businesses expanded, they found many ways to advertise their products. Some businessmen would order containers bearing the firm's name and address by means of several methods, including embossed lettering (on glassware), rubber-stamped (under the glaze) and impressed markings on pottery. The containers with the businessmen’s names on them were more expensive. The businesses that could not afford containers with name embossed on them ordered paper labels printed with the business names and affixed the labels on the containers to advertise their wares or products.

Canadian labels and graphic design will be discussed in following lectures.

This collection of amber and green bottles provides a glimpse of the variety of designs, forms, heights and thicknesses required by businesses from the late 1800s onward. Collection: George Chopping.

George Chopping has an amazing collection of Canadian historical designs of just about everything used by settles in the early days. Visit the website below to learn more about this collection.

2.14. Blue Glass Collection, George Chopping, Whitewood, Saskatchewan, Summer 2003

Study Collection

This collection of Canadian bottles gathered by George Chopping, author of Bottles of the Canadian Prairies, is one of many used as a study collection.

The collection includes the following forms of glass:
-Brewery bottles
-Dairy bottles
-Prescription containers

Of great interest to collectors, his publication includes lists of manufacturers and merchants on the Prairies who used glass containers of all varieties.

Visit the website below to learn about the Manitoba Glass Works, which contains detailed information about the craft and science as well as business at the Manitoba Glass Works. Visit this link: http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/sites/manitobaglasscompany.shtml

2.15. Horse Shoe Insignia, Calgary Brewing & Malt Company, Sydenham Glass Co., Wallaceburg, Ontario, c. 1900

Glass Bottles/Trade Mark Design

“Mr. A. E. Cross was one of the first men in Calgary to establish a brewery business called Calgary Brewing and Malting Company, in 1892. A letter dated September 12, 1892, to Calgary Brewing Company notes:
‘We have your favour of the six instant [train cars] and thank-you for your order of one car soda bottles same as last with your trade mark, etc. We have forwarded the order to Sydenham Glass Co., of Wallaceburg, asking them to give same their prompt attention as we trust they will reach you in good time and turn out satisfactory in every respect.’ Signed, Munderland and Co. Selling Agents for Sydenham Glass Co. of Wallaceburg, Ltd.”

2.16. Soda Siphon Bottles, Canada, 1886-1950

Siphons Record History of Restaurants and Bar Rooms

“Shown here is a small collection from the Vancouver Museum's collection of more than ninety soda siphon bottles, primarily the gift of one donor. These bottles are most valuable to the Museum because of the acid-etched labels, which mark their sources as long-vanished restaurants and bar rooms originally operated throughout Western Canada.

The prototype of the modern siphon bottle, the ‘Regency Portable Fountain,’ was patented in 1825, by Mr. Charles Plinth.” The average height of the bottles pictured here is 38 cm.

2.17. Maple Leaf Designs, Dominion Glass Company, Montreal, Quebec, c. 1895

Maple Leaf/Popular Motif

The Maple Leaf design decorates three of the pieces pictured here.

Cake salver is 4.5” high; diameter 10" turned on edge to show the pattern.

The jug measures 6.5” high; diameter 7.25”.

(top right)
The footed bowl is 7.25” high; diameter 7.25”.

(bottom right)
A flint-glass plate has 10 maple leaves on the rim and Arms of Montréal in its centre; diameter 10.5”.

Visit the website below to learn more about Canadian glass factories, technologies and designs.

2.18. Tea Service Pieces, Horseshoe Motif, Jefferson Glass Company, Toronto, Ontario, c. 1920

The Term “Glassblower”

George Arthur Shakely, who worked for the Jefferson Glass Company, Toronto, Ontario from 1912, was interviewed in 1959 by Gerald Stevens.


The term ‘glassblower’ in your case, what did that mean?
G.A.S. My work was mostly on fruit jars, lantern globes. Shades began to come in then, electric shades. I worked for a long while on shades.
G.S. You made a lot of commercial products at Jefferson. How about pieces that we call whimseys—paperweights, glass hats, canes, and all that sort of thing? Was anything like that made at the Jefferson Glass Works?

G.A.S. We wouldn't make stuff like that to sell. We made that as a hobby. I made a bunch of them. Gave them away as fast as I made them.”

2.19. Mason and Crown Sealers, Dominion Glass, c. 1913

Sealers—Popular with Collectors

Illustrated here, from a Dominion Glass Company Limited catalogue, are Mason jars and Crown jars.

Other styles produced by Dominion Glass included Perfect Seal, Improved Gem, Schram Erie Lightning and Best.

“The Mason classification of containers has caused elation and, later, consternation to generations of collectors. Many of these containers reveal embossed date, 1858, etc., and are therefore credited to that period. When manufactured in Canada, the name Masons should be associated with the porcelain-lined caps which were and are particular in this classification of container.”

The Crown container is a long-time favourite of Canadian glass houses. Crown sealers made from glass coloured amber and aquamarine can be found.

Gerald Steven's book is popular among the many collectors and dealers of Canadian glass.

2.20. Mason Jars and Sugar Set, Michael Erdmann, 2003

Mason Jars Given New Use

“Canning and pickling once a necessity to the cabins of Canada’s past, has become a dying art form today. Reborn as a cream and sugar set, the old Mason jar is given new use.”

2.21. Beer Bottle Designs, Calgary Brewing & Malting Co., c. 1910

Paper Labels Replace Pressed Bottle Trade Mark

At one point early in the development of labels, the Canada Bank Note Company would provide labels for the Calgary Brewing Company.

Eventually, bright and evocative graphic labels replaced glass embossed trademarks.

Pictured here are various coloured bottles of amber, aqua, clear-blue and light green glass.

2.22. “Stubbies” Canadian Beer Bottles

The Switch, 1982-1984

“The Canadian Stubby Beer Bottle:

1825: Mallorytown Glass Works in Mallorytown, Ontario, produces first Canadian beer bottle.

1906: Diamond Glass Company (later Dominion Glass Company Ltd.) in Montreal, Quebec, produces first machine made beer bottle.

1950s: Two main styles of beer bottle are the 12-ounce ‘pint’ and 22-ounce ‘quart.’ Three glass colours are used for the bottles—green, clear and amber. Only the amber bottles protected the beer against sunlight.

1958-1961: Dominion Brewers Association (now the Brewers Association of Canada) conduct studies to replace the heavy, bulky bottles with a more efficient designed ‘stubby’ bottle. Market test for the new bottles scheduled for spring of 1961 in Peterborough, Ontario, and Abitibi, Quebec.

1962: March 1, complete conversion to the stubby bottle. Promotional campaign include slogans such as ‘easier to handle,’ ‘chills faster,’ ‘still refundable,’ ‘less breakage,’ ‘better flavour protection,’ ‘lighter in weight,’ ‘less storage space,’ ‘tips less easily.’ 288 million stubby bottles are manufactured by three glass companies—Dominion, Consumers, and Iroquois.

1982-1984: Canadian brewing industry decide to reject the stubbies after 20 years of use in favour of unique private mould bottles that would set one brand apart from another. Carling O'Keefe is the first brewery to replace the stubby by bottling Miller in an American-style bottle and the other breweries soon followed. It cost the three major breweries—Labatt, Molson, and Carling O'Keefe—over 180 million dollars to switch from the stubby, and the extra costs continue today because of the higher shipping and less fills that the new bottles can take.”

2.23. Cut and Pressed Glass, Eaton's Spring and Summer Catalogue, 1927

Traditional Glassware for the Home

These Eatonia (good value in good merchandise) cut and pressed glassware includes mostly traditional designs for special occasions or everyday home use. During this same period of time, “art glass” was made by glass craftsmen and sold in art galleries or studios.

The glass featured here was primarily functional. Although this was the art deco era, in most cases the designs offered in the catalogue can be traced back to the late 1880s or early 1900s. Eaton's did not publicize the makers, and there is no information about the origins of these products. It is likely that some, if not all, would be made in Canada. Duties were placed on imported glass to encourage the production and sale of Canadian glass. Even with duties, tariffs and taxes, on some occasions glass would be imported because of its unique qualities, and, in spite of duties, foreign glass was often less expensive and could be afforded by Canadians.

2.24. Stained Glass Window, Christopher Wallis, Government House, Victoria, British Columbia, 1990

B. C. Wildflowers

“The window was designed and created by Mr. Christopher Wallis of London, Ontario, a graduate of the Hammersmith School of Arts and Crafts in England. Mr. Wallis completed a four-year apprenticeship in stained glass in the Ecclesiastical Art Studios of Marin Travers and Lawrence Lee in London in 1951. In 1953, he became chief assistant and studio manager in the Lawrence Lee Studio.

Mr. Wallis immigrated to Canada in 1956, and established his own studio in 1959. He has created over 650 ecclesiastical and secular windows in Canada and the United States. Mr. Wallis is one of Canada's outstanding glass artists among those who apply traditional forms and symbols within a contemporary context.

The five heraldic displays are set upon green mounds surrounded by water, alluding to the site of Government House. The mound is strewn with dogwood and violets. Around the base of the Provincial Arms are wild flowers of B.C.—lupin, rose, ox-eyed daisy, camas, lady’s slipper, columbine and buttercup.”

Visit the website below to learn more about the Government House Stained Glass Window.

2.25. City of Glass, Douglas Coupland, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2000

City of Glass is not a book about Canadian glass. It is a guide to popular culture in Vancouver containing references to history, places and visual culture.

The cover image may give insight into the reason Coupland titled the book City of Glass. The many new high rises built in the past decade are made of glass, metal and concrete, which reflect the light of day and look like glowing lanterns by night.

Visit the website below to see a listing of publications about Canadian glass.

2.26. Glass Door, Renato Foti, Kitchener, Ontario, 2002

Trio Glass Design Studio

Renato Foti and Debbie Allison are partners in Trio Glass Design Studio. Their mission statement is:
“The contemporary design and bold colours exemplify the styles of Renato Foti’s works in fused and slumped glass. The main focus of these works is to add structure, balance, colour and simplicity to the home and working environments. Balance is of critical importance to the designed pieces. It’s a reflection of Renato’s personal philosophy in life and in his art.”

Visit the website below to view a diverse range of designs including vessels, tables, sinks and architectural applications.

2.27. Joel Berman, Glass Designer


Click the Play button to start the video.

Joel Berman, Glass Designer

Glass designer Joel Berman discusses his glass designs, which range from architectural environments to objects.

2.28. The Gap, International Headquarters, Joel Berman, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2000

Kiln-Cast Glass

“The signature work of Joel Berman Glass Studios is kiln-cast glass textures available in large and small sizes in any color you can imagine. Joel Berman's glass textures can be incorporated into almost any interior or exterior architectural situation.

Envision glass stairs, walls, floors, doors, sinks, tiles - not to mention a stunning textured, coloured collage. Joel Berman Glass Studios will design and fabricate your entire project from conceptual brainstorming and site assessment to design development, engineering and finished structure.”

3. Metal

3.1. Reconstruction, Metal Forge (1605), Port-Royal, Nova Scotia, Summer 2003

Earliest Blacksmith Shop

The reconstruction of the blacksmith shop at Port-Royal (early French settlement) includes the hearth and tools used for wroughting iron and preparing glass.

“The blacksmith was very important because he fabricated the hardware needed to build and keep up the Habitation. In addition, if need be, he could fabricate goods for trade with the Micmac. He contributed directly to the financial well-being of the settlement and was paid handsomely.

The large bellows provided a source of oxygen to keep the fire going in the forge. Imagine the sound of the hammer striking against the anvil. Many of the tools displayed date back to the early seventeenth century. Glass being expensive, many of the working areas had shaved animal skins treated with oil for window panes. A gravel floor safeguards against sparks starting a fire on the floor. The foot-powered grindstone in the corner was used to sharpen tools. When the Habitation was occupied in the 1600s, metal trade goods and hardware for the buildings were manufactured here using iron brought from France. All that effort over the hot forge would certainly help work up an appetite. Let's go next door. In the kitchen, food was prepared over an open hearth.”

3.2. Wrought Iron Kitchen Forks, Québec and Ontario, Nineteenth Century

For Kitchen Hearth Use

Many early nineteenth-century kitchens relied on the hearth. Kitchen stoves were expensive and not readily available until the second half of the nineteenth century.

The three kitchen forks pictured here are of simple design and fine craftsmanship.


Twisted design, Pickering, Ontario

Heart design, Havelock, Ontario

Simple twisted design, Québec region

3.3. Metal Trivets, Quebec and Ontario, Nineteenth Century

Hearts for Hearth

Trivets were used in the hearth to distance cookers from the fire. Here are a number of trivets featured in Treasury of Canadian Craft Exhibition, Vancouver, 1992.

(left to right)
Perforated steel, Québec
Heart shape, forged metal, Cornwall,
Circles, Québec region
Heart shape, Eastern Ontario
Pointed heart, Portneuf, Québec

3.4. Metal Forged Tools, Blacksmith Shop, Mennonite Village, Steinbach, Manitoba, Late Nineteenth Century

Tools from Replica Blacksmith Shop

“Located next to the livery barn, the blacksmith shop was most important to the pioneers. Our replica displays the forge and tool for a wide variety of jobs performed by the blacksmith.”

The tools pictured here were either purchased (from Britain, United States, or Eastern Canada) or produced locally by blacksmiths.

3.5. Wrought Ironwork (Eighteenth-Nineteenth Century), C. W. Jefferys Illustrations

Functional and Decorative

The blacksmith was essential to any settlement. Nails, hardware and, most importantly, horseshoes, tools for carpentry and farming were designed and produced by the local blacksmith.

(left to right)
Spikes with angular and round hammered heads
Door latches
Square-headed nail
Typical iron-barred window of Québec

3.6. Felling Axes, Typical North American Axe, 17th and 18th Century

Development of Axes, Adzes and Hatchets

"This page is planned to show the changes in shape of the axe from the European tool of the first settlers on this continent to the typical North American axe of the nineteenth century. Many of the early axes were of European manufacture, but apparently almost from the beginning those which were made for this continent were of a pattern somewhat different from most of the those in use in the home lands...It is impossible to fix precise dates for these changes.; but we know that in the first half of the eighteenth century the St. Muarice Forges at Three Rivers were turning out axes. By the time of the founding of Halifax, 1749, the axe of this continent had acquired its peculiar characteristics."

3.7. Ciborium, Silver and Gold, Jacques Page dit Quercy, Québec City, c. 1720-1725

Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver

This exceptional neo-classical chalice by Jacques Page dit Quercy was acquired in the late 1950s by Montreal antique dealer Samuel Breitman. From 1957 to 1977, Henry Birks purchased over 450 artilcles from Breitman. The Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver was donated to the National Gallery of Canada on December 14, 1979.

Visit the website below to learn more about the Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver at the National Gallery of Canada.

3.8. Design for a Chalice, Laurent Amiot, Québec City, c. 1825

Louis XVI Neo Classical Style

Pictured here is one of 28 religious silver designs found, most of which were designed by Laurent Amiot

Amiot's designs are in the tradition of Louis XVI neoclassicism.

3.9. Pieced Tin Lantern, Canada Militia, c. Mid-Nineteenth Century

Lantern for Fire, Light and Heat

“Tinplate was a versatile, readily available material adapted to hand crafting into such essential items as candlesticks, lanterns, lamps, chandeliers, kitchen utensils, jelly moulds, cake pans, pails—and the list can go on and on.”

The lantern pictured here comes from the earliest tradition of tin lantern making, at a time when glass was not readily available. The use of a lantern was threefold, the first being to keep a flame of fire (matches and modern lighters were not available). The second function was for light and the third for heat. Lanterns would be carried on cold winter nights to prevent the hands from freezing.

Hence, this lantern with the Canada militia emblem served many functions.

3.10. Typical Tin and Glass Lantern, Montréal, Québec, Late Nineteenth Century

Tin and Glass

The lantern pictured here was typical once glass became readily available. This rectangular lantern became commonplace, although its many parts to be cut and pieced together must have made it a more expensive item.

3.11. Metal Lighting Accessories Illustration, C. W. Jefferys, Nineteenth Century

Objects for Making and Maintaining Candles

Candles were essential to both city and rural settlers. Oils (primarily whale), kerosene, gas and eventually electricity became the primary source of light.

The quality of candlelight evokes nostalgic/romantic feelings today. At one time, candles were the primary source of fires, which caused the death and destruction of families, homes and industries. Oddly enough, Christmas candles were a cause of many such catastrophes.

Source: Canadian Christmas website.

3.12. Tin Lighting Illustrations, C. W. Jefferys, Nineteenth Century

More Light on the Past

“Tinsmiths in North America were not specialized as to be designated to say. lantern or kettle makers; for the most part all were engaged in making a full range of culinary and decorative needs for the household.”

Pictured here are a variety of lighting fixtures.


(top left to right)
All made of Tin
Wall sconce (tin)
Candelabra (tin)
Sconce (tin)

(bottom left to right)
Bracket sconces
Candlesticks (tin)
Candlesticks (silver)
Candlestick (brass)

3.13. Teapot, Tin, H. L. Piper Company, Montréal, Québec, Early Twentieth Century

Dainty Design, Not for the Parlour

Teapots were frequently made from tin, although perhaps not for use in the front parlour, and were made in a great variety of styles. The one illustrated here is a robust small pot with a surprisingly dainty spout when compared to the no-nonsense styling of the handle.

It was made at the H. L. Piper Company factory, Montréal, and is one of the few pieces that can be positively attributed to a manufacturer.

3.14. “Stark” Water Pitcher, Six Goblets and Tray, Robert Hendry (Savage and Lyman), Montréal, 1859

Presentation Piece

“The silver service pictured here was presented to David Stark, Esq. by the Employees on the Montreal & Island Pond District of the Grand Truck Railway, as a token of their Respect & Esteem, on his resigning the Superintendence of that Division. Sherbrooke, July 1959.

The Montreal Gazetteer, 30 July, 1859, describes the ornament: ‘The jug is of the Hebe form, in the front is engraved the inscription (which is very well executed), in a shield formed by a grouping of maple trees...Around the edge of the lip, as well as the base, is a wreath of maple leaves, while the handle is composed of boughs entwined.

The body proper has a pictorial aspect, as do the cups of the goblets, which have been etched, chased and embossed with various railroad scenes. Realistic depictions such as these were quite fashionable in Britain and United States. The Stark service represents a very early Canadian attempt of this kind.”

3.15. Teapot from the Tea and Coffee Set Presented to John Leeming, Bohle and Hendery (for Savage and Lyman) Montréal, Québec, c. 1850-1859

Naturalistic Style, Canadian Flora and Fauna

“The Tea and Coffee Set Presented to John Leeming was created during the same period as the first Canadian stamp. Designed by James Duncan (1806-1881), it was produced by Bohle and Hendery Company and engraved by George Mathews (c. 1816-1864). The set was presented to Leeming on 30 July 1851, in recognition of this efforts as Secretary-General of the Provincial Industrial Exhibition held in Montreal from 17 to 19 October of the previous year. All the pieces in the set are bulbous in form and have high bases. The squirrel finials on the Coffee Pot and Tea Pot are a reference to local wildlife. The rest of the ornamentation is also Naturalistic: the rise of the foot of each vessel is embossed with wide oak leaves that alternate with acorns. The paunches are enveloped in boughs of maple, and a frieze of leaves encircles each top. The matt treatment given to these plant motifs and their three-dimensionality makes them stand out against the highly polished, mirror-like surfaces.”

3.16. Prize Cups, Catalogue Illustration, Toronto Silver Plate Company, Toronto, Ontario, 1888

Silver Plate Trophies

A significant dimension to the silver trade, which emerged in the nineteenth century, was silver electroplating (silver plating). Electroplating is a process whereby a base metal is coated with a thin layer of silver through the action of electricity. The product possesses the advantage of an appearance like silver for only the fraction of the cost.

“Electro silver plate” trophies are described as “chased, gold lined” and include cricket cup, athletic cup and sporting cup.

3.17. Punch Bowl, Silver and Gold, Henry Birks and Sons, c. 1910-1915

Bizarre Punch Bowl or Competition Cup?

“In its most extreme manifestations, Naturalism led to the creation of bizarre-looking objects such as the receptacle Henry Birks and Sons made for the Connecticut Valley Poultry Association in Vermont. Awarded annually to the owner of the best rooster in the region, it was identified as a Punch Bowl at the time of its acquisition by the National Gallery of Canada.

If it did serve a genuine function, as the gilt interior suggests (gilt prevented chemical reactions), it is more likely to have been used as an eggnog bowl. However, it may have been strictly a competition cup—the term used by the daughter of the last treasurer of the association.”

3.18. Silversmith's Hallmarks, Henry Birks and Sons, c. 1864-1905

Silversmith's Marks

Many of the silversmiths who settled in Canada in the period when it was a French colony (1700-1763) were Huguenots fleeing persecution in their native country. They used marks similar to those of French makers—the first letters of the maker's name shown in a shield, with a crown or the French fleur-de-lys or a star over them. After 1763, during the period of British rule, the marks of Canadian makers changed. Only the monogram of the maker remained in the shield, which was now rectangular or semi-circular. As these hallmarks are very similar to the marks of goldsmiths from the Channel Islands, mistakes can easily be made when identifying them.

*Goldsmiths in Montréal and Québec added the word MONTRÉAL or QUÉBEC to their marks at this time.
*The goldsmiths from Halifax (Nova Scotia) similarly added the monogram “H” or “HX,” or “XNS.”
*The monograms “StJ” or “NB” were used in St. John (New Brunswick).

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Canadian hallmarks imitated English ones. Examples even occur of imitations of the English official hallmarks, for instance the duty mark. In 1908, a law came into effect—valid until 1946—requiring a fineness of 925/1000 in silverwork.

Pictured here are:

Marks on kiddush goblet y Robert Hendery and Company, c.1869. Birks,

(second )
Marks on goblet by Robert Hendery for Gustavus Seifert, c.1864. Birks.


Marks on a teaspoon by Walter F. Denman as workman for Hendery and Leslie. c. 1887-99 Birks

Marks on a three-handed cup by John. J. Walsh as workman for Henry Birkes and Sons. 1905.

3.19. Environmental Metal and Silversmithing


Click the Play button to start the video.

Environmental Metal and Silversmithing

Robert Stacey discusses the work of his father Harold Stacey, well-known silversmith and educator. Harold Stacy established the first metalwork course at the Ontario College of Art and was concerned with “environmental metal” for buildings and architectural projects.

3.20. Canadian Pacific Silver, c. 1980s

The Tradition of CPR Silver

Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR) hotels and passenger ships commissioned silverware and silver serving dishes, trays and containers over the decades.

There are stories that employees in the kitchens would bundle up silver and throw it overboard in the harbours of Victoria and Vancouver and return later to retrieve their bundles from the harbour. To this day, scuba divers continue to recover CPR silver and ceramic serving wares from the harbours.

This relatively recent example was recently photographed at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. It features the CPR logo.

Visit the website below to view the "Last Spike" a silver spike that celebrated the completion of the CPR railway cross Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/legendary-railway-spike-thought-lost-to-history-until-now/article4365698/

3.21. Electric Coffee Percolators, Chafing Dishes, Toaster, Etc., c. 1920-1921

Modern Electric Cooking

Like most suppliers of products in Canada, the P. W. Willis Annual Illustrated Catalogues featured designs from the United States and Europe, along with some Canadian products. Very few items are attributed to their makers. Perhaps these companies did not want make their sources made public; some argue that by acknowledging Canadian products customers would expect to pay less.

These modern devices began to replace silver craft/designs and are early examples of industrial design.

“You can prepare an entire breakfast on the dining table. While the eggs are poaching or boiling in a pan above the coils, the bacon is sizzling underneath. Crisp, hot and golden brown, the toast is then prepared either above or below the radiant coils. A few minutes later the coffee pot, or percolator, begins to send forth its delicious aroma. And all this without raising from your chair. For other meals the Manning-Bowman Grill is equally convenient. Rarebits, soups, griddle cakes, candy and countless other dishes are possible with modern electrical convenience.”

3.22. Birks Catalogue, Henry Birks and Sons Limited, Diamond Merchants, Goldsmiths and Silversmiths, 1920

Send Us Your Repairs

In addition to a vast range of jewellery, watches and other fine silver and gold designs, the Birks catalogue offers engraving and notes its repair services, with images of men and women working in rows of 10 in a modern factory environment.

The company does not acknowledge individual silversmiths and does not distinguish Canadian design products from imports.

The catalogue includes an insert to measure ring sizes.

3.23. Prototypes Flatware, Harold Stacey, Toronto, Ontario, c. Late 1940s

Craft Reclassified as Art

"A perfectionist even at the design stage, Stacey spent so much time and effort on detailed models for projects that friends wondered how he was ever able to summon the mental energy to complete anything. Having persevered with prototypes for the Department of External Affairs, which had asked him in the late forties to design and manufacture flatware sets for Canadian embassies, he was disgusted when the order was cancelled. As well, he grew increasingly frustrated by having to deal with paperwork the government heaped on small businesspeople...

Quiet and scholarly by inclination, Stacey could throw off his habitual reticence and become a tiger when occasion demanded. For some time craftspeople chafed that hefty federal taxes were levied on one-of-a-kind craft commissions, but not on paintings and sculptures. 'Excise and sale taxes, at times totalling twenty percent, could deter potential customers who had commissioned expensive work,’ wrote the Globe and Mail's Pearl McCarthy in 1958, ‘since self-employed professional craftspeople had to collect tax, remit to government, and often had the extra expense of hiring bookkeepers to keep track of details.’ Stacey on his own initiative lobbied the federal Department of Inland Revenue to reclassify craft commissions as art.

The original motivation for Stacey's seeking such equity was to spare the financially challenged Metal Arts Guild from paying taxes on the Steel Trophy it had commissioned him to make and which he unveiled to MAG early in 1958."

3.24. Private Communion Set, Lois Etherington Betteridge, Toronto, Ontario, 1965

Prix Saidye Bronfman Award Recipient

Lois Etherington Betteridge makes silver objects that celebrate ritual and honour culture; their beauty is complete with use.

Liturgical works have been commissioned by, among others, St. Christopher's Anglican Church, Burlington, Ontario, and St. Mathias Anglican Church, Toronto. Secular commissions have included works for Imperial Oil, Toronto; International Business Machines, Ottawa; and Canadian Pacific, Montreal.

Betteridge won the Prix Saidye Bronfman Award in 1978. She shares her knowledge of silversmithing widely. She teaches regularly at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts summer school in Ontario and has conducted workshops at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax; the New Brunswick Craft School, Fredericton; the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto; Sheffield City Polytechnic, England; and the Glasgow College of Art, Scotland.

3.25. Bear Bowl, Silver, Bill Reid, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1989

Haida Design Interpretation in Silver and Gold

“Bill Reid died on 13 March 1998 at the age of 78 after a thirty-year battle with Parkinson's disease. A descendant of a long lineage of great Haida artists that included Albert Edward Edenshaw (1812-1894) and Charles Edenshaw (c. 1838-1920), Reid revived an artistic tradition that had survived only in museum collections.

After studying jewellery making at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnic Institute and the Central School of Design, London, he began producing works in gold and silver. Although Reid's mastery was gained from many sources, he was confined to none of them and could work freely with different traditions. Using his technical expertise as grounding, he began to push Haida art in all directions, including scale. He was probably best known for his bronze sculpture, The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, which exists in three versions: a plaster is located in the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization; The Black Canoe stands in front of the Canadian Chancery in Washington, D.C.; and a second casting, The Jade Canoe, is located at the Vancouver International Airport.”

Reid was awarded the Prix Saidye Bronfman Award in 1978.

3.26. Nunavat Licence Plate, c. 2000

Canadian Licence Plates Popular Collectors Item

Canadian automobile licence plates are widely collected. Most are produced within each province.

Visit the website below to view commemorate designs and historical examples.

Page Links:
Canadian Licence Plates

3.27. Tin Can Lamp, Michael Erdmann, Toronto, 2003

Recycle Tradition and Tin Cans

Tin Can Lamp. Designer Michael Erdman has combined two elements: recycling and referencing Canadian tradition.

The design of tin lanterns from the past provide the design motif for this recycled tin can lamp.

This is one of many designs from the Cabin/Cabane exhibtion that has traveled to the U.S. and parts of Canada.

4. Jewellery

4.1. Crown, Pierre Huguet, Quebec, 1781-1817

Silver Crowns for First Nations

“Another type of silver produced in Canada in much greater quantity than has been credited to Canadian silversmiths is the Indian trade silver. This silver, although it did not have any great influence on silversmithing as a whole, formed the major part of the output of a number of Canadian silversmiths. One of the most famous was the Widow Schindler.

Indian silver was carried far and wide across North America by the early fur brigades, and the coureurs de bois introduced it to the many tribes. The silver was usually in the form of crosses, gorgets, brooches, and other ornament. Much of the silver was made from silver coins.”

Pictured here is a Crown from the Henry Birks Collection, National Gallery of Canada.

4.2. Lorraine Cross, Cruickshank & Arnoldi, Montréal, Québec, c. 1784

Marks Names and Places

“Early Canadian silver, and sometimes that of other countries, was often made without any marks whatsoever. The suggested reason for the lack of marks of much early Québec silver is that New France did not have an assay office of an established guild of silversmiths, so that a craftsman could not obtain mint or tax marks. This resulted in personal marks on finer pieces as a guarantee that the silver was of a standard quality, but also meant that silversmiths neglected to mark pieces of less importance. Since Québec and Montréal were the headquarters for most of the early silversmiths, you should look for the name of one of these cities when attempting to establish the fact that the piece of silver was made in Canada.”

The Cross of Lorraine from the Henry Birks Collection of Silver, National Gallery, was made by Charles Arnoldi and Robert Cruickshank. Arnoldi's mark consisted of the initials C. A. He worked in the province of Quebec in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Cruickshank's mark was the initials R. C., usually accompanied with the name of the city Montréal.

4.3. Waltham Watches, Montréal, Quebéc, 1920-1921

The Montréal Factory

The original Waltham watch factory was established in Massachusetts in 1850. The P. W. Ellis & Co. Limited General Catalogue, 1920-1921, includes advertisements for a range of men's pocket watches. The introductory page makes reference to the Montréal factory.

“For the greater convenience of the Canadian trade, there is a Waltham factory in Montréal. This factory is steadily growing, and its personnel are animated with the same ideals of skilled workmanship which have been responsible for so much of the success of the Waltham Watch in giving accurate, reliable service under all conditions.”

(upper left to right)
Premier Maximus
“Colonial A” Watches
Colonial Series
Opera Watches

No specific references are given to watches actually designed or made in Canada.

4.4. Birks Yearbook, 1920

Birks, Well-Known Canadian Jewellers

The Yearbook catalogues rings—diamond, fine gem, gold and birthstone.

Earrings, onyx jewellery, cameo jewellery, religious jewellery, fine sapphire jewellery (shown here), fine amethysts, fine peridots, baby rings, pendants, pearl brooches, pearl jewellery, gold cufflinks, gifts in gold for a man, gold lockets, longnettes, chains for men, scarf pins, emblematic jewellery are just a few of the categories in the catalogue.

Certain catalogue pages are printed with golden yellow overprint. Other pages, such as the one pictured here, are printed in three colours—black, golden yellow and a third appropriate colour. The catalogue is beautifully designed and produced.

The catalogue contains a memo that makes reference to a “moving picture film of the Birks Stores and Factories which, during the past twelve months has circulated through leading theatres throughout the country...If you have become 'better acquainted' with our plant, then you know that every detail in the work—designs, materials, workmanship and every other feature—is so carefully worked out and so thoroughly supervised as to guarantee the article up to the Birks standard in all respects.”

Henry Birks and Sons Limited, well-known jewellers in Canada, list the following locations in 1920:

Montréal, Phillips Square
Ottawa, Sparks Street
Winnipeg, Portage and Smith Street
Vancouver, Corner Granville and Georgia Streets
Workshops at Montréal
European Office: 15 Rue Tenelon, Paris

4.5. Police Badges, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1890-1950

Crowns, Stars and Shields

The oldest badge in this collection is the helmet plate, second from the left in the lower row. This form was based on British helmet plates with the officer's number clearly visible at centre. This badge style was discontinued c. 1928.

The tree star badges on the right of the photographs were worn on the chest from c.1900 to c. 1935. These emblems were hand-cut, engraved sterling silver.

The remaining star and shield were later mass-produced badges made of steel; average width 7 cm.

Vancouver Museum. Donor: Vancouver Police Department, 1974

4.6. Photograph, Nancy Meeks, Toronto, Ontario, c. 1930s

Mineral-Rich Ontario

“Custom jeweller Nancy Meek shown in her Toronto studio drafting a working drawing of a brooch for a client.

Returning to Toronto and its lingering depression, Meek began a twenty-year love affair with Gerard Street West, its decrepit houses...Meeks worked at the back of the house in the kitchen. Following no particular school or trend, she was evolving her own natural forms, often combing copper, silver, or gold with gems and stones she cut and polished herself, exhilarated by Canadian rose quartz, amazonite, labradorite, sodalite, agate, amethyst, and garnet.

During World War II, many craftspeople were involved in war work of some sort, but full-time studio craftspeople who stayed home could sell everything they could made. In a space of fifteen years, it was generally accepted that mineral-rich Ontario had become a centre of metal and ceramic crafts in Canada.”

4.7. Brooch with Eagle Design, Bill Reid, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1970

Traditions in Gold and Abalone

“The major strengths of traditional Northwest Coast art lay in sculpture and oratory. In his sculpture and jewellery, Bill has given new forms to myth and a different expression to the wit. His spoken word is no less strong for the absence of oratorical noise and flourish, and his written word matches the oratory of the past. Rill is an artist extraordinary.” (Harry Hawthorn, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

Visit the website below to learn more about Bill Reid: http://www.publicaffairs.ubc.ca/2012/03/05/ubc-museum-of-anthropology-receives-private-treasure-of-early-bill-reid-works/

4.8. Earrings and Necklace Set, David McAlleese and Alison Wiggins, Toronto, Ontario, 1990

New Technologies

“Contemporary jewellery design has been propelled by an explosion of innovations in the use of materials and processes. While we enjoy the investigations and expansion of our craft that new technologies offer, our greatest and constant pleasure is in the exploration of colour.”

4.9. Neck Pieces, Jeff DeBoer, Calgary, Alberta, 1990

The Virtues of Chivalry in the Twenty-First Century

“I believe there is a place for the pageantry of armour and the virtues of chivalry in the twenty-first century, especially in the business world. When I compare a modern businessman to a medieval knight, I see a well-trained person who needs an appropriate suit, who usually works in a tower and defends it against the weapons of the day.

This section contains some of the best photographs of my work. They cover a good cross-section of my ideas and themes. The sculptures represented in this portfolio were made over a period spanning 1986-1998. All of these works are now in private collections around the world. I hope you enjoy looking at these images as much as I enjoyed producing them.” Sources:
Carter, Treasurey of Canadian Craft, p.105 Visit the link to learn more about Jeff and Metal Arts Guild of Canada: Visit the website below to learn more about Jeff DeBoer’s work on the Metal Arts Guild of Canada website: http://www.metalartsguild.ca/page/jeff-de-boer

4.10. Boutonniere Series, Ken Vickerson, Toronto, Ontario, 1991

Jewellery Design Programs Canada

A graduate of Alberta College of Art and Design, Toronto jeweller Ken Vickerson is active both as a craftsperson, exhibitor and teacher.

Visit the website below for more recent examples of jewellery in Canada from Design Resource: http://www.canadiandesignresource.ca/officialgallery/category/jewellery/

4.11. Earrings, Martha Sturdy, Vancouver, British Columbia, c. 1990

Combining Metal, Acrylics & Stones

“Martha Sturdy started designing jewellery in Vancouver in the early 1970's. Her work is typically very bold with rather simple but effective design. She is still designing jewellery and the latest designs are of brushed gold, silver and gunmetal.”

Visit the link provided to learn more about Martha's jewellery. You will see more work from Martha in the lecture on Industrial Design. Martha is a graduate of ECUAD. I recent years her work has expanded from jewellery to home products, furniture and scupltural installations. She has received numerous awards for design and sells her work around the world.