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September 29, 2012 7:51 AM

Fig-shaped glass containers held sugar, salt

The first fig trees were brought to America from Spain in 1520. A ripe fig is very sweet, so it was often used when sugar was not available. The Mt. Washington Glass Co. of New Bedford, Mass., made fig-shaped containers for sugar and salt. The bottom was glass, the top silver-plated. The company also used the “figmold” shape for saltshakers with metal tops and for toothpick holders and glue pots that were altered to have open tops. The fig-shaped holders were made of translucent glass, satin glass, frosted glass and shaded glass in all colors. Many of the figs also were decorated with hand-painted flowers or other designs. Some collectors call this shape beet, onion or garlic. The Mt. Washington fig pieces are popular, and some sell for thousands of dollars.

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