To describe the weather this week in Maine–reaching into the mid-80s in some parts of the state–one cannot simply use the quaint term “unseasonable.” Unbelievable is more like it.
So, we felt today’s mystery artifact just had to relate somehow to this balmy Floridian weather that has us all acting like it’s early August. What do we love to eat in the summer? What cools us down? What makes us feel like kids? Ice cream, of course!
This rectangular glass object is one of three ice cream trays in Maine Historical Society’s collection. Only one person guessed correctly; others very logically surmised that it must have held seafood (scallops, clams, or oysters), other sorts of appetizers, relishes, a jello mold. (And perhaps it did at one time or another.)
The tray was made by the Portland Glass Company, which manufactured fancy glassware in Portland from 1863-1873. (Visit the company’s Facebook fan page.) This tray dates to around 1870 and features a “shell and tassel” pattern. But as dishware is often passed down through the generations, it may well have served scoops to guests well into the 20th century, leading one Facebook guesser and apparent Mad Men fan to remark: “Very Betty Draper.”
Now, don’t you just want to run home, throw on some fancy summer party togs, and break out the chocolate and vanilla? We thought so.