This type of toothpick holder is known as Mercury Glass. It is rather light in weight. There are 3 applied hand blown glass feet with each having a slightly ball-tipped end. Circa 1850-1900. Measuring 2 1/4" tall. CONDITION : There are no chips or cracks to the glass. The mercury is in wonderful condition, especially considering its age, with no missing or dark spots. Excellent silver coloring. I will be listing the matching salt dip holder also.
First discovered in early nineteenth-century Germany, mercury glass was used as an inexpensive and tarnish-free alternative for objects such as silver candlesticks, vases and goblets. Its popularity traveled quickly to both France and England and by 1853 the New England Glass Company created a sensation at the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition with a lavish mercury glass display. Looking not quite like silver and not quite like mirror, these shimmering glass objects gleamed in the shadowy, gas-lit rooms of that period.
But before we go any further, let us clear up some confusion: There is no mercury in mercury glass. It is clear glass, mold-blown and coated on the inside with a silvering formula. Most serious collectors prefer to call it silvered glass, but that too leads to confusion as the silvering formula doesn't actually contain any silver!