This weekend I finally made my way to the Brimfield Antique Flea Market. It’s supposedly the largest market of its kind in the country, and even though we went on the final day of its July run, it was something to see.
You can find anything from art, fabrics, jewelry and furniture at Brimfield, but I went specifically looking for cocktail glasses.
I found several sets to take home, and since it was the last day and vendors were looking to offload some inventory, I paid much lower than asking price on each of them.
I actually paid more per piece for a pair of purple glass bottles.
One is labelled Eastman, Rochester, N.Y. As a Rochester native, I bought it for sentimental reasons, as Eastman Kodak is of course based in Rochester.
The other bottle is a Moses Atwood Jaundice Bitters bottle, which I thought would fit in nicely on my bar cart. It turns out, Atwood Bitters were bitters in the original tradition, to be used for their purported medicinal properties.
The seller told me the bottles were manufactured pre-World War I and had been tinted purple from the sun — a result of manganese in the glass. Originally, manganese was thought to create clear glass, but for unknown reasons it tints purple in the sun. After doing some more reading on it, it seems that some unscrupulous vendors artificially tint glass purple. I’m no expert, but I didn’t pay much for these bottles, and they’re pretty, so if I’ve been duped I’ll swallow my pride.
I saw some vintage shakers, Hawthorn strainers and bar spoons as well, but none of those items struck my fancy.
In terms of glassware, it took me a bit to find some booths with good options. I almost bought a set I wasn’t quite happy with at the first vendor I came across, but luckily listened to my intuition and kept looking.
I’m glad I did, since I ended up with three sets and several different sizes of glasses. Some are crystal and some are etched glass, and I can’t wait to test-drive them with a variety of different cocktails.
Brimfield will be back in September. Check the website for dates and information.