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The glass paperweight (shown above) may not be the most exotic ever made, but it was made by me, and in a rather unique way...
In my travels through eBay, I look for unique metal items which are strong enough to withstand the 2000 degree heat of molten glass, and might be used to shape or manipulate the glass. There are relatively few choices - cast iron, steel, and bronze (which is stronger and harder than any other common alloy except steel).
So, on eBay I find this really old antique (1800's - 1930's) bronze flower iron ("silk flower mold"), made by Molla Tool Corp, in New York City. Out of the ten billion (10,000,000,000) web pages in the entire Internet, exactly 4 web pages (in English) contain information about "Molla Tool", which gives you some idea of the rarity of these molds.
This www.patented-antiques.com by Larry and Carole Meeker state this information:
The website www.artroomsgallery.com has this information here and here which names the two partners: "Charles P Molla and Amadeo Arigoni, partners in Artificial Flower Tool Company circa 1800's-1930's."
I find it exciting to find an antique tool which has not been used for decades, and give it a new purpose (making glass paperweights), far different than its original function.
Here is a small group of glass flowers growing in my garden.
(taken during the Fall, you can see the leaves on the blueberry bushes in the background changing color)
glassblowing web page at 18.104.22.168 last modified: December 22 2014