Outliving My Stuff?

Jan 19, 2012 | 2 comments

Broken Measuring Cup

     Yesterday the green glass, quart-sized measuring cup came out of the dishwasher in two pieces.  It was a clean, though crooked, break and not along any seam line.  I’ve had that measuring cup for as long as I can remember.  I think my mother gave it to me when I was first married and setting up housekeeping – something she no longer had a need for.
     It may have once belonged to my grandmother; I don’t know.  It certainly had an old-fashioned look to it.  I have used it frequently over the years and have always counted on it being there.  And now it is broken for apparently no reason.
     It’s the second glass object in our house that has simply fallen into two pieces this month.  The other was a lovely old fluted vase.  When I went out to the storage area behind the laundry room to get it a few weeks ago, there it was – broken cleanly but not along any seam line.  That vase has been used in this house since my childhood.  I loved its size and graceful lines and the way it looked filled with roses or dahlias from the garden.
     At my suggestion, Nyel used the hot glue gun on the vase and, for the moment anyway, it is back together and looking pretty good.  It will be fine for dried flower arrangements but I don’t think I can trust it to hold water.
     As for the measuring cup I believe its useful days are over.  I don’t think gluing it would suffice.  Although… it did look so lovely peeping through the glass-fronted door of the kitchen cupboard.  Maybe we should put it back together just for looks.
     It’s bothersome that we don’t have a clue as to the cause of these breaks.  Our friend, Larry Murante, would instantly credit Mrs. Crouch with both.  (She is our resident ghost and Larry wrote a fabulous ballad about her some years ago.)  And maybe that’s the best explanation.
     I immediately thought about the big sign that stood beside the Nimitz Freeway in the Bay Area for many years.  “Stop Casting Porosity” it said.  For a long time I had no idea  what that meant.  I thought it was warning passersby to stop spreading untruths – sort of like stop casting aspersions.  Then I learned that the sign was connected to a foundry and that porosity is a problem when casting metal – air bubbles (or something) cause the metal to be porous and its strength is compromised.
     Is there such a thing as porosity in glass?  Or am I just outliving my things?  Either way, I don’t much like it.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    It looks like your measuring cup was what is called Vasaline glass, maybe made in the Depression or earlier. It is sad when these things happen. Like you, I have a lot of things that belonged to my grandmothers and great-grand-mothers and it always saddens me when one of them breaks or otherwise becomes destroyed. I’m not sure that my children are as attached to “things” as I am. The GenXers don’t seem to entertain in the way my parents or I did and so Great-grandmother’s china holds little appeal. At least you used and enjoyed your measuring cup so it had a useful life and did not just sit on a shelf as a novelty. I have a bag of broken china that I keep promising myself will get glued to stepping stones for the garden.

    • sydney

      Stephanie, I hadn’t thought of “Vaseline Glass” or “Depression Glass” for ages and certainly not in connection with this measuring cup, but I do believe you are right! I went online to see if I could find a similar one but, alas, no. Another ‘quest’ to add to our occasional antique shop forays!


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