The Glass Dolphin antiques shop, and its owner, Arabella Carpenter, play a pivotal role in The Hanged Man’s Noose. Named after Arabella’s first antique “find,” the candlesticks in her store window can indeed be found in antiques shops, as well as at auction.
Production of dolphin candlesticks began about 1840 and continued for approximately 35 to 40 years. They were produced in clear or opaque milk glass, as well as in colored glass, including green, canary yellow and cobalt blue. Blue is generally the most sought after color.
Dolphin candlesticks were made by many American glasshouses, but it was the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company who first introduced them. The company was founded in 1825, in Sandwich, Massachusetts, by Deming Jarves, a Boston businessman and former agent of the New England Glass Company of East Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jarves recruited glassmakers from England and Ireland, considered the foremost craftsmen during the early nineteenth century, as well as bringing glassblowers with him from the New England Glass Company.
In the mid-1820s, American manufacturers began to experiment with pressing glass with the use of a lever-operated machine. While Jarves did not invent the pressing process, he did receive several patents for improvements in pressing techniques and mold designs.
In the 1840s and 1850s, Boston & Sandwich perfected the pressing processes further to eliminate surface imperfections. They mass-produced a stunning spectrum of colored tableware, such as lamps, perfume bottles, and candlesticks, which included the very popular dolphin pattern.
The final years of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company saw a number of economic and labor problems, and in 1887, the glass workers union called for a national strike. In sympathy, the Sandwich workers also went on strike, an event which ultimately forced the company to close in 1888.