520: 6 J. Hoare Cut Glass Pedestal Punch Cups,
interesting floral, signed, late brilliant period, 7" diameter, 4 1/2" deep....Unlike T. G. Hawkes & Company the firm founded by John Hoare has not left us an extensive record of its operations. The interested collector must, therefore, make due with the material presented by Spillman in her book THE AMERICAN CUT GLASS INDUSTRY, published in 1996, together with a brief section in Revi's 1965 pioneering effort AMERICAN CUT AND ENGRAVED GLASS. Although decades old, Revi's account is mentioned because he was able to interview "John Hoare's family" when preparing his account. Both authors have used the biographical sketch which is reproduced below. (It can also be found, in facsimile, in the 1997 ACGA reprint of a 1896 J. Hoare & Company catalog.) The biographical sketch of John Hoare was written in 1896. A couple obvious errors have been corrected and a couple queries raised. The reader should note that Spillman has found that "accounts of Hoare's various partnerships are contradictory". Nevertheless, this sketch is important because it emphasizes John Hoare's ability as a "designer and practical cutter", as well as a teacher. He was also a successful businessman. While there is no discussion in the sketch of the cut-glass business that Hoare started in England in 1848, Revi mentions that for five years it "had some degree of success". Spillman, on the other hand, states that it "was not particularly successful". Both authors, incidentally, repeat the story in the biography that the Hoare family arrived in this country with only "half a sovereign", a typical poor-immigrant tale which probably should be taken with a grain of Irish salt. The first thought to have the portrait of Mr. John Hoare adorn one page of our photograph book [i.e. the 1896 catalog], with a short sketch of his life, came when the matter of a book of new designs was first talked of some few weeks ago. But as Mr. Hoare suddenly died in New York City, June 17th, 1896, while on business for the firm, we are now using his picture as a memorial and writing the sketch of his life as a biography. John Hoare, more familiarly known as Captain Hoare, was a native of Ireland, born in the city of Cork, April 12th, 1822, and was the oldest but one of the large family of children of James and Mary (Courtney) Hoare. He learned the glass trade with his father in Belfast, and afterwards at the age of 20, left Ireland for England, where, in Birmingham, he worked as journeyman for Rice Harris at Five Ways [Islington Glass Works?], also Thomas Webb at Wordsley, afterwards acting as foreman and traveling salesman for the firm of Edward Lacey & Son, of Birmingham. He was also foreman for Lloyd & Summerfield, (The Park Glass Company), one of the oldest glass houses in England. In 1848 Mr. Hoare began business for himself, and in 1853 came to New York with his family, the extent of his finances on landing at Philadelphia being just half a sovereign. But being a skilled and experienced glass cutter he had no difficulty in finding a good situation. In New York he began work for E. V. Haugh[wout] & Co. on Broadway, and after one year, with five partners formed a glass cutting partnership, he being the active man of the concern. After two years Mr. Hoare bought the interests of two members of the firm and then organized under the name of Hoare & Burns. This partnership continued until 1855 [1857?], when Mr. Hoare purchased and became proprietor of the glass cutting department of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company, State [S]treet, Brooklyn. In the same year the old and well-known firm of Gould & Hoare was formed, and continued until 1861, then being succeeded by Hoare & Dailey who were in business until 1868, when the senior member of the firm [Hoare] established a cutting shop in Corning, still retaining for several years his business interests in New York City, at the corner of White and Elm streets, and also at [Dorflinger's Glass Works], Greenpoint, Long Island. The business of Mr. John Hoare as a designer and practical cutter, has led the manufacturers of the United States, and to-day some of the best manufacturers in the business are men who learned the art of designing and glass cutting under his personal instructions. Some ten years ago Mr. Hoare partially retired from business by selling his business to Messrs. James Hoare, his son, and Geo. L. Abbott, equal interest, so that the business in the future will be conducted in the same manner as in the past, although the pleasant face and cheerful words of Mr. John Hoare will be sadly missed by his associates and the small army of employees, as well as many customers who knew and loved him well. Half a dozen years after John Hoare's death, the company began to experience financial difficulties that persisted during the firm's final years in business. According to Spillman this trouble apparently initially resulted from "careless business practices, and a certain amount of rivalry between the partners" (Spillman 1996, p. 37). In spite of these financial difficulties, however, J. Hoare and Company ran a branch factory in Wellsboro, PA from 1906 until 1914. In 1908 the company was incorporated. Subsequently, over-all production became increasingly limited, especially after 1914, and the company ceased operations in 1920. John Hoare's experience in England undoubtedly provided the basis for some of the cut-glass designs he produced in this country. A design thought today to be characteristic of the American brilliant cut glass period -- Hoare's Wheat pattern -- can be seen as a close relative of mid-nineteenth century cut-glass designs produced in the English Midlands. Even Hoare's famous Crystal City pattern (patented in 1891) appears to have been derived from a specific English design. Although cut glass of fine quality was produced by Hoare during the company's last two decades -- as shown by examples at the Corning Museum of Glass -- the average "bread-and-butter" cut glass from much of this period was often inferior, judging from what is frequently found today. The company had begun to use "figured" blanks by at least 1911, and final polishing was often neglected or carelessly done, resulting in glass that has an "acidy" appearance. Consequently -- and somewhat perversely from the collector's point-of-view -- Hoare cut glass that has been acid-etched with the company's trademark (beginning in 1901 or 1902) is not necessarily cut glass of fine quality. The collector seeking top-quality Hoare cut glass is well-advised to seek out unsigned specimens made during the nineteenth century.