Saturday, December 21, 2013

An Eggplant Handwarmer

Posted By on Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge There are apparently no pictures of eggplant handwarmers on the Internet, so this is the best I could do.
  • There are apparently no pictures of eggplant handwarmers on the Internet, so this is the best I could do.

At the Albany Institute of History and Art I discovered a small glass artifact, with this label:

"Eggplant handwarmer, Redford Crown Glassworks, Clinton County, New York, circa 1830-1851. Handblown aquamarine glass in the shape of an eggplant."

But this was quite a small eggplant: maybe 3 inches long! The vegetable was topped by a carefully-shaped calyx, a stem — and was perfectly preserved, after 157* years; maybe it wasn't often used (because you can burn your hand on a glass handwarmer!).

This functional sculpture is a quadruple metaphor: glass as an eggplant, an eggplant as a radiator, a radiator that's transparent, an eggplant so small it's almost an egg. No doubt the design was influenced by the Biblical passage: "And an eggplant shall warm ye." (John 12:14)**

*Approximately.
**I made this up.

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