The first question might be "What is a Whimsey?" and I guess the second
question is "why?" Let me begin by addressing the second question. In the early development of our two towns, Spring City and Royersford, the glass industry became a very prominent industry playing second only to the stove companies. There were four different glass manufacturers; Diamond Glass and Newborn Glass in Royersford, Bennett Glass and Spring City Glass LTD. in Spring City. Three of the companies made bottles and Bennett Glass Co. made primarily sheet glass. This type of glass was actually blown into cylinders and then straightened. If you ever looked at a pane of 100 year old glass you could readily see the imperfections and know it wasn't perfectly flat. The first glass produced in Royersford was made by the Penn Glass Co in 1884.
Many of the founders of these companies came from New Jersey to build their factories here. The only obstacle in their way was a shortage of skilled labor. In
fact, many glass blowers came over from Europe to work in our local factories. A large number of them were from Belgium. Back in the early 1900s a row of houses on Third Avenue was often referred to as Belgium's Row because
the homes were built by the Glass Company to help house all of the new workers
coming to Royersford.
These immigrant glass blowers worked 12 hours a day and to put it mildly were feeling as if their talents were being wasted. They were capable of making beautiful glass creations but here in our country they found themselves making bottles. Medicine bottles and whiskey bottles by the thousands. At the end of their shift when there was still a bit of molten glass left over is when these workers got a chance to shine. They would eagerly craft small ornate glass items to be given away to their loved ones. These special pieces are collectively called
Whimsies. They include; flowers, vases, walking canes, rolling pins, fancy chains, beads and whatever else the worker was capable of creating.
Glass House Whimsies are often referred to as "End-of-Day" items. This terminology implies that the items have various colors because they were made with the scraps of glass left over at the end of the work day. It also implies that the item was made after the regular work day production was complete. These
Whimsies are quite collectible and many can be found in auctions and flea
markets throughout the country.
Living in this area your chances of finding one at a local yard sale are greatly enhanced as long as you know exactly what you are looking for. To see a large
selection of Whimsies all one has to do is look under Glass Whinsey on e-Bay. To see local Whimsies a visit to the Spring-Ford Area Historical Society would be advisable.