Coxsackie Antique Center

Where Yesterday Meets Tomorrow

Danger! Cold Weather and Old Glass Don't Mix!

We're entering the chilly season and a few words of caution are in order.

We often go out to an auction or an antique center on some sunny January day, buy a nice piece of glass, pack it carefully, load it gingerly into the car trunk, get home late and tired, and decide to wait until the next morning to unload. Next morning we bring in our treasures and unwrap them. Here's the gorgeous Sandwich Glass pitcher we just paid way too much for. Let's leave it on the table so we can enjoy it. And off we go to unpack some more treasures. A few minutes later we look at the gorgeous pitcher to enjoy it and see an ominous line gleaming in the sun. THAT CRACK WASN'T THERE YESTERDAY!

What has happened is obvious. We brought the glass from the cold of winter into the warmth of our house. The pitcher was very cold. The air was very warm. The surface of the pitcher warmed much faster than the interior of the glass and the resulting stress cracked the piece. Or, we might as easily have found the crack when we unwrapped it because it could just as easily have happened in the cooling off from the store to the trunk of the car.

We have a friend who had a great marble top washstand. He loaded it into his truck, brought it to the center and set it up. Five minutes later he heard a cracking sound. He looked at his washstand and saw that the marble had split right across!

We also once took Aunt Bernice's beautiful pattern glass pithcer and ran it through the dish washer. It came out with a crack half way up the side.

Early glass is more brittle than modern glass. In this age of pyrex, we don't think about the effect of temperature changes. But it's important. Here are some precautions to take with early glass or marble.

Your treasure survived 150 years without a crack; don't let central heating and impatience do it in now!

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