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Earle Baldwin

Pennsylvania Railroad Souvenir Glassware

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In its later years, the Pennsylvania Railroad made available an assortment of attractive souvenir glassware items. My first encounter with one of these pieces occurred when my railfan father returned home from a business trip aboard the Broadway Limited with a 2 ½” tumbler. It was decorated with an image of GG1 4902 pulling a long freight under a signal bridge. Affixed next to the locomotive’s front was the wonderful Pennsy keystone herald. Being very young and already enthusiastic about trains, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world since we had a Lionel O gauge GG1 and the engine on the glass looked just like it. My father and I had a great time sharing the glass until the day when it accidentally went south with predictable results as it struck the kitchen floor. I was crestfallen and my father was less than amused as well. We now fast forward to about ten years ago as I browse through an antique shop in Gettysburg, PA when, lo and behold, I happen upon a number of mint condition PRR glassware items including the very tumbler we had! Well, $5 later I was one very happy customer as I walked out the door. I am happy to report the glass is still with us and, according to family tradition, is used by my father every Christmas Eve for his Martini!

 

Now that I own one of these pieces as an adult, I can truly appreciate the quality of the items. The PRR did not skimp on materials when it marketed these. The glass is very robust with a thickness much more suitable than many items sold in contemporary kitchenware stores. For over forty years, the glass has maintained its sheen and still looks as nice as the day it was produced. The decoration is extremely sturdy, withstanding normal wear and tear without difficulty. The image itself is well executed. While not fine art by any means, it is an accurate representation of the mighty “G” and freight cars of the time.

 

Another great aspect of PRR glassware items is their combination of availability and affordability. I regularly see them in a variety of shapes and sizes at meets and in web listings. As with anything, prices can vary widely from one individual to the next; however, with careful shopping they can be found for minimal cost when compared to some of our other hobby items such as that $300 MTH subway set you have your eyes on!

 

Watch for the glasses at the next meet you attend and consider purchasing one. They are easy to find and your favorite beverage will taste even better when you drink it from one of these!

 

Best regards,

 

Earle

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