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999

Decanter #999 in Lime, designed by Winslow Anderson in 1953, made for 2 years only.

This fascinating design is among Anderson's most challenging. While the form appears natural, like a bubble flattened by gravity, it was, in fact, uite a challenge to make. Below is Anderson's own account of the design (published in New American Glass: Focus West Virginia):

"Glass is quite willing to be blown into a mold and to take on its shape. However, the mold must be a form which is natural to inflated glass. The contrary is exhibited by ship decanter #44 [design #999]. The glass when hot must be lowered into the mold and the small neck cannot exceed the diameter of the opening of the closed mold. Then the glass must be inflated in order to fill out the extra large bottom and to fill out the sharp corners at the outer edges. This is absolutely unnatural for glass to do as it chills and solidifies on the way out to the corners. The corners want to be rounded but the designer wants them filled out sharply. As a result of this conflict, the glass must be taken out of the mold and re-heated. It is then put back into the mold and enormous wind pressure (from the blower's lungs) must be applied in order to fill out these corners. This process, although accomplishable, is a good example of working against the nature of the glass."

A major concern for Anderson was working with forms that he considered to be inherently “glass-like” and the teardrop form is foremost on the list. The 999 ships decanter is the uber-teardrop. While there are two variations on this design (vase 998 and handled vase 998H shown below) this ships decanter is considerably thinner, and with a narrower opening, and as such more difficult to make.

The very aspect that made the 999 so impractical to make is what makes it so gorgeous to look at; what looks natural is in fact forcefully contrived. While in Anderson's very practical mind this makes the design problematic from a production perspective, it is exactly the same qualities that make it so desirable to collectors today, not only because the form is unusual but also because few were produced, making it quite rare.

Measures 7.5 inches tall x 10.5 inches diameter.

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Anderson