Collectors Find Historical Value in Broken Glass

For true shard collectors, the more interesting finds are in the weedier parts of the Northeast, where slag heaps and demolition debris survive from the long vanished factories that once thrived.

What may look like junk can sometimes be a portal into a story about another place another time.  Collectors of all kinds are drawn to stories.  Whether it’s the story behind an item up for auction or a personal story of nostalgia they’ve attached to items in their lives, we’ve found that stories are most often the driving factor.  Broken glass may look like “junk” to one person, but to the collector there is a vast history in each colorful fragmented piece.

One lifelong collector gained a new perspective as she was taken under the wing of some history-seeking glass collecting buffs.  She began collecting discarded pieces of glass with no real purpose or thought behind it until she followed a group of “true shard collectors” on the hunt for industrial artifacts including, with particular interest in “manufacturers of windowpanes and architectural ornament”.  In Massachusetts they began their hunt, looking for hidden artifacts from turn of the century glass factories in the Berkshires.  History is rampant among the shards as the experts told stories of abolitionists working in the glass factories that helped to hide runaway slaves.  The expert collectors equate their experiences to archaeologists wading through the ruins of ancient cities.

There are glass collectors all over the world as well as historical locations in which the remaining glass pieces tell the story of society.

Read the source article at The New York Times