Cream Pitcher

ca. 1797-1816

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

National Park Service, Centennial One Object Exhibit

Swiss émigré Albert Gallatin sought a new life in America. Arriving in 1780 he set out for the west as land was cheap for those willing to work for it. By 1790 Gallatin had established himself along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His home, called Friendship Hill, became a working experiment in farming and domestic life. His partners thought farming dull and encouraged Gallatin to expand his field of business. In time, Gallatin’s nearby village of New Geneva included a general store, sawmill, boatyard, distillery, gun factory, and glassworks. Of these enterprises, the glassworks was the most interesting, profitable and at times the most frustrating. Gallatin and his partners convinced five German glassblowers to stay and work at New Geneva. They produced the first glass made west of the Allegheny Mountains in 1797. Prime utilitarian products included whiskey bottles and window glass with occasional specialty pieces like this cream pitcher. Gallatin hoped to live in retirement at Friendship Hill off the returns of the glassworks, but this was not to be. But while he ended up leaving Friendship Hill never to return, Albert Gallatin went on to succeed as a statesman, public servant, entrepreneur, and scholar.. The cream pitcher reminds us of one individual’s dream while carving out a life in a young American Republic. Although the glassworks ultimately failed, the cream pitcher endures as a symbol of Gallatin’s resiliency and perseverance.

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  • Title: Cream Pitcher
  • Date Created: ca. 1797-1816
  • Contributor: Friendship Hill National Historic Site
  • Place of Manufacture: Possible manufacture at New Geneva, PA
  • Park Website: Park Website
  • National Park Service Catalog Number: FRHI 139
  • Measurements: H 11.5, Dia 8.5 cm
  • Material: Aquamarine, hand-blown glass
  • Date: ca. 1797-1816