Blue Ridge Glass Corp. Salesman Samples
In the early 19th century (and long before that as well), salesmen use to tote around samples of their wares to potential customers. This is still true nowadays, but today it’s done a little differently than it was then. Whereas today salesmen are outfitted with slick mass-produced samples and carrying cases, years ago sample boxes were typically handcrafted, as in this example picked up at a local antique store.
This is a glass salesman’s sample box, most likely from the ‘30s or ’40s with finger joint construction, and small pencil notations of measurements inside the lid. Most likely these notations were notes made by the woodworker during the box’s construction. This is clearly a handmade piece. The company name and location is carved on the front of the box, and finished with gold paint. The box latch is missing.
The box measures 7.75 inches long x 4.25 inches high x 6 inches deep. It holds 37 pieces of glass. 36 of the glass pieces measure 3.5 inches long x 2 inches wide and a single larger piece measures 5 inches long x 3.5 inches wide.
The salesman’s box was from the Blue Ridge Glass Corporation in Kingsport, Tennessee. The company was formed in 1925 by three glassmaking companies—French Saint Gobain, Belgian Saint-Roch and American Corning Glass Works of New York. The company was located in Kingsport through the 1940s and 1950s.
Today this nice piece of American glassmaking history would be beautiful as a decorative accent placed on a table or shelf.