Whitall Tatum Paperweight

Whitall Tatum Paperweight

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In the 1700s, paperweights made from textured stone or bronze were part of the writer’s tool kit, which also included a quill pen and stand, inkpot, and blotter. By the mid-1800s, decorative paperweights produced by glassmakers in Europe and the United States became highly desired collectibles.
Decorative glass paperweights reflected the 19th-century taste for intricate, over-the-top designs. Until the spread of textiles colorized with synthetic dyes, ceramics and glass were among the few objects that added brilliant color to a 19th-century Victorian interior. The popularity of these paperweights in the 1800s testifies to the sustained cultural interest in hand craftsmanship during an age of rapid industrialization.
This paperweight is attributed to Whitall, Tatum & Company of Millville, New Jersey. The firm was formed in 1901 and employed first-rate craftsmen who created outstanding paperweights.
This pedestal paperweight features an opaque, rich yellow twelve-petal flower, freely suspended in a clear glass ball. The pointed center flower petals suggest that it is the work of glassmaker Emil Stanger.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Whitall, Tatum and Company
place made
United States: New Jersey, Millville
Physical Description
glass (overall material)
overall: 3 27/32 in x 3 11/16 in; 9.779 cm x 9.398 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Aaron and Lillie Straus
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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How is it verified that Whitall Tatum is the manufacturer? Thanks.
Hi, Janice Thanks for your great question. I looked up the National Museum of American History acquisition records and found that the Whithall Tatum attribution was based on the donor's description of the object, "The pointed character of the center petals has been said to be the work of Emil Stanger...at Whithall Tatum, 1905-12." This paperweight is one of a collection of 173 antique and modern European, American and Chinese glass paperweights given to the Smithsonian by Lillie and Aaron Straus of Baltimore, Maryland in 1973. I'll update the record to say "attributed to." Thanks for contacting the Smithsonian! Bonnie Campbell Lilienfeld Assistant Director, Office of Curatorial Affairs National Museum of American History

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