VIEW LARGER

Artist: American
Title: Candlestick, 1860-1870

Attributed to Boston & Sandwich Glass Co.
Gift of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr.

URANIUMUranium (IV) Oxide
UO2
Color

Uranium oxide (UO2) is toxic, but when added to glass, it renders a brilliant neon yellow. The first reference of the use of uranium in American glass factories dates to 1817. Today, its production has virtually disappeared due to public knowledge of and concern for the dangers of radiation.

A pressed glass candlestick of this kind would have been widely available in the 19th century. Just as the blowpipe made glass a non-luxury item in the Roman Empire, mechanical presses brought glassware into the homes of all Americans.  The same patterns can be found in a variety of colors, one for every taste.