For many years there has been much discussed about “The Burlington Mark.” The Burlington Glass Works was located in the Hamilton Area of Ontario. It has always been thought that this company was located in Burlington, Ontario, but it was called the Burlington Glass Works because it overlooked the Burlington Bay from Hamilton, Ontario.
The Burlington Mark itself is a grouping of inverted V’s or V’s, running vertically on applied handles underneath the handle or often found at the close of a handle at the base. It can be found on Water Pitchers, Milk Pitchers, and Creamers.
It is suggested by Doris & Peter Unitt in the Canadian Handbook to Pressed Glass Tableware that many of the examples of this mark are found on pitchers made by the Burlington Glass Works, but not all of the Burlington patterns have this mark. The glass blowers at Burlington Glass Works actually had a tong that they used to close off and sign the piece with the “V” trademark of the Burlington Glass Works. It is assumed that because of the large amount of shards found at the Burlington Glass Works dig that this trademark is a Burlington Glass Works trademark.
Our belief is that a specific glass blower took their trademark tong with them to the company they were working for and signed pieces produced in that companies moulds when he applied the handle. The tong would have been owned by the glass blower and not by the company. The glass blower used this mark to identify all of the pieces he made. We believe that the glass blower that owned this signature spent most of their career working for the Burlington Glass Works and this would explain the large volume of Burlington made pieces with this trademark stamp. We understand there was not enough work at one company for a glass blower to support his family. We already know that glass blowers worked a few months at Burlington and then a few months at other companies, perhaps in Canada or the United States.
Our reasons supporting our theory are several. We have seen patterns in Pitchers which are Burlington Patterns, that do not have the “V” stamp. This means that the handle was blown by another glass blower. We also have seen this mark on other pitchers that are American made patterns, as well as Victorian coloured pitchers with enameling and also carnival glass. To our knowledge Carnival Glass was never produced by the Burlington Glass Works.
Glass blowers were the artists of the Victorian period. They trained very young in glass factories to gain experience and were experts when they became official “glass blowers”. This mark is the kind of trademark a smart glass blower would incorporate so one could distinguish his work from other glass blowers. This would encourage other companies to hire this particular glass blower because he could brag about the work he produced.
Please take the time at future shows to study pieces with the “Burlington Mark” and check your collection, maybe you have a piece made by this experienced glass blower.
Pressed Glass & Goblets
P.O. Box 369
Arthur, Ontario Canada