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Antique Glass Jar With Lid

This antique glass jar with lid shown in the picture has subtle curves, clean lines, with bulbous lid handle. The glass container is hard by nature, neutral on pallet and visually gives a relaxed feeling when looked at.The magnificent visibility is a great advantage to identify the contents quickly. This was purchased by my Grandfather Yenugu Krishna Murthy garu in the year 1916 and it is now 98 years old. Garu is a Telugu word used to address elders with respect. I have a lot of emotional attachment to this bottle as it is a companion to me for several years feeding me with variety of snacks.


Antique glass jar with lid- angle view


I lost my father at a young age and I grew up under the care of my mother and grandfather.Though I used to have my regular food from my mother and snacks like onion pakoda, banana bajji and an occasional sweet item Mysore paak, my heart is to crave for snacks like chocolates, biscuits and sweets. For such items the source is my grandfather. My grandfather’s room used to be very attractive for my young heart. There used to be a bed with high pillows,a writing table full of books,ink bottle with dipping pen, lots of books, an agarabatti (incense stick) stand in the shape of an elephant, a Rudraksha mala(a garland of Rudraksha prayer beads) brass and wooden cymbals for doing bhajan and a huge family portrait of Lord Shiva withwife Parvathi, sons Ganesh and Kumaraswamy, his vahanam Nandi and most interesting thing out of all itemsfor me is two cookie jars one  filled with Tapeswaram Kaja (a type of sweet made in town called Tapeswaram which is very famous in those days and even now for the sweet item Kaaja) and one filled with J.B Mangharam brand biscuits, chocolates and peppermints. My grandfather used to take biscuits along with his morning and evening coffee and used to chew peppermints during afternoon times when he used to feel his mouth was dry .Though he never used to take sweets he used to keep them for me and my sister and other children who used to visit us. Whenever we feel like having some snacks we used to go to his room and he used to give us biscuits peppermints and sweets. So my association with these glass jars are very pleasant and whenever I see these bottles I am immersed with nostalgic memories of my grandfather and his room.


Antique glass jar with lid-filled with Tapeswaram kaaja


Antique glass jar with lid- top view


Antique glass jar with “SGF” letters within diamond mark and ” MADE IN JAPAN “ inscription


It is also interesting how he got these beautiful bottles.Those were the days of British rule in India and some of the pockets like Yanam in present Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry in present Tamil Nadu state were French colonies.My village Someswaram is around 40 miles from Yanam. French used to do their own trading and the foreign shipments used to come to Yanam which has a moderate port. Thehawkers from the villages around Yanam used to smuggle interesting items and sell them in nearby villages carrying them in bamboo basket held on their head. They used to come to our village also and used to come to our house being a regular customer. During one of such visits they brought these beautiful glass jars and my grandfather fell in love with these cute jars at first sight and purchased them.

The imposing antique glass jar   has a stamp embossed on the body as “SGF” with a diamond design around it .Down the diamond design are embossed letters in capital reading as  “ MADE IN JAPAN “. The word SGF stands for the company that manufactured this jar and obviously made in Japan. The lid also has embossed inscription “MADE IN JAPAN”. 


Antique glass jar with lid in inclined position


Antique glass jar without lid


Lid design- showing collar groves lid handle design with knob on the top


The antique glass jar with lid is round Barrel shaped with 6 inches diameter of the barrel and height of 7.5 inches. With the lid it is 9 inches high. The barrel narrows into a neck with an opening of 5 inches diameter at the mouth of the neck. There is a beautifully designed lid to the bottle which fits into the bottle by friction.The neck of the bottle is1.5 inches high and the collar of the lid is one inch high which snuggly fits into the neck of the bottle.There are fine grooves on the surface of the collar which help to have a tight grip and prevent insects.It is almost air tight. There is a beautifully designed knob on the lid with embossed pattern which serves as a grip and decorative appeal. The bottle has vertical mould seems running from top to the bottom of the glass indicating that the glass jar is made with machines around 1915. The handmade blown glass jars will not have the mould seems.

How glass Jars are made?


Glass is made out of sand(silica or quartz), lime stone(calcium) and soda ash. The mixture of these 3 components along with small amounts of ferric oxide, aluminium oxide, sulphur trioxide, barium oxide, magnesia are put is a gas furnace and heated up to 160 degrees centigrade. In some cases boric oxide is added to increase the durability and strength and lead is added for brilliance. The ingredients mix and melt and form into hot glowing molten glass. Normally the furnace runs for 15 years non-stop .With the help of automatic shears the running molten glass is cut into blobs known as “gobs”. The gobs are pushed down into the shape forming machine and the glass is moulded. Air is blown into the moulded glass so as to fit into the mould completely thus forming a jar shape. This partially shaped jar is called “parison”. The final shape of the Jar is done by passing on the Parison to another “blow mould” where air is blown into to get the final required jar shape. Then to make the jar tough and scratch proof, cool air is blown over it and then the jar is coated. The jar is further strengthened by passing it through an oven which is called “Lehr” and by heating it up to 550 degree centigrade.


Glass jar with lid is used as Store counter canister to display biscuits in an Iranian restaurant











“Made in Japan“ inscription on the lid


Multiple Uses of Glass bottle

This antique majestic glass jar can be used for storing and displaying many items. This wonderful see-through container with lid is used as Store counter canister to display prominently. This classic jar is a timeless piece that can be used in any room of the house. This can be used to store sugar, flour, candy, cookies, coffee, tea and snacks and many more. They make excellent cookie jars.  This can be used as a hobby jar to keep items like ribbons and wool which stay clean and dry. Ideal for display, in sweet shop that will give the shop an antique touch. The Iranian restaurants in Hyderabad and Mumbai used to keep their famous osmania biscuits in similar jars for counter display and to keep them fresh. These osmania biscuits go well with the Irani Chai (Tea). Any tourist visit to Hyderabad is not complete without tasting Osmania biscuits with Irani chai and Hyderabadi dum biryani in the Iranian restaurants for which Hyderabad is famous.

Types of glass

There are two types of glass production sheet production and container production. Jar and Bottle manufacturing is a part of Glass container production. The modern glass production uses machines while traditional glass making is done by glass-blowing and blow-moulding. Even now for creative art work and custom designed objects, glass blowing methods are used. Containers such as jars, bottles, tumblers, wine glasses, and bowls are made out of container glass. Glass items like window glass, glass doors, and transparent walls like in show cases are made out of Flat glass. Glass fibre is also made out of glass which is used for thermal insulation, fibre glass material and optical communication.


The lid fits tightly into the mouth of the jar- air tight


Grooves on the collar of the lid



How to find the antiquity of glass Jars

The antique jars will give certain clues and specific characteristics by which one can find out the time when the jar is made.

v  All the jars made before 1860 can be identified by their Pontil scar. The glass blower used to hold the hot jar with a devise called pontil rod to protect himself while the jar is in making. This pontil rod leaves a dark indentation mark or a ring of glass on the base of the jar.

v  The glass jars made before 1915 do not have mould seems since they were not using mould to make the jars.The jars made after 1915 were made with machines with moulding technique have mould seams in the form of a line running from top of the jar to the bottom of the jar.So if the jar has mould marks it is made after 1915.

v  If you find scratches and scars on the bottom side of the glass jar,it was most probably made before 1915 by hand and not by mould. The jars made by mould will contain uniform marks.The handmade jars will have rough surface and seems around it.

How Glass gets its colour

The colouring of the glass is both a science and art.The natural glass has inherent shades of green tint, aqua, and light blue. These colours are produced by the iron content in the ingredients that used in the making of glass.Some ingredients are added to alter the natural inherent colours like manganese for purple; selenium for red, pink; cobalt for rich blue. Different host of colours can be produced by adding several elements used to colour the glass.

Use of glass in high technology products

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) glass plates are used as components in products such as computer monitors, mobile smart phones,note books,tablets,television screens,microwave display panel.The latest wearable computer  “Google Glass”like a pair of eyeglasses contains a small glass LCD display panel and the main frame is made out of titanium and quality plastic for a lighter weight.

Some Interesting facts about glass


v  Decorative beads were made with glass as early as 12,000 BC by Egyptians.

v  The amount of iron and other colouring agents in the mixture determine the colour of the glass.

v  Up to 300 tonnes of glass can be produced by a single furnace.

v  Every year 1.4 million tonnes of used-glass is transported for land filling. 4.2 billion Jars and bottles can be manufactured if the same glass is recycled or reused.

v  You can recycle glass infinite number of times without the loss of quality.

v  In the year 2003, the recycled quantity of glass is 8, 90,000 tonnes.  2.7 billion Jars and bottles can be made with this amount of glass.

v  The energy saved by recycling one single bottle can power one television for 1.5 hours.



To know about milk glass, the discovery of glass and many more aspects of the glass please click on this link


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Vintage Burma Teak Wood Trunk Box

Vintage Burma Teak Wood Trunk Box
Vintage Burma Teak Wood Trunk Box


The sturdy handsome teak wooden box you see here is made in Burma and shipped to India by the workers at Burma of Indian origin. This enchanting box is made of pure Burma teak wood, famous for its durability,strength and water resistance.The box is known as ‘trunk box’ since it is made out of the timber planks cut out of the trunk of the Burma teak wood tree. The best quality of wood comes from the trunk and wide planks of wood are required to make a large box which can be obtained from the wide trunk only. The main characteristics of a wooden trunk box are:

  • There should not be any joints in the wooden planks
  • It should be a single piece in all six sides of the box

You will observe that this box is made out of solid wood without any joints in the wooden boards.


Vintage Burma Teak Wood Trunk Box-top view
Vintage Burma Teak Wood Trunk Box-top view


Side view of the box showing the joints of two sides, iron handle
Side view of the box showing the joints of two sides, iron handle


Close up of the joints of the box- wooden planks perfectly cut and fitted
close up of the joints of the box- wooden planks perfectly cut and fitted


The Design of the Box

The box is designed to keep valuable items like gold and silver items, silk garments and any items that need safety and protection. There is a special compartment with a lid inside the box to hold important documents.

The box is sitting on a 3 inch high solid base frame. This base frame takes the load of the box and reinforces its structure.The lid has a 3 inch high inverted tray structure joined to the main box with rotary brass hinges. There is a beautiful brass latch fixed to the top lid that fits snugly into a ring fixed to the main box which can be locked with a padlock. There is an in-built locking system also but I have misplaced the key.

The wooden boards on four sides are skilfully joined with neat symmetrical inter locking design to form the box. This shows the skill of the carpenter who made this box. There are no adhesive used to strengthen the joints. The strength of the joints is achieved by perfect cutting of the joint grooves and tight fitting of the inter locking of the wooden grooves. It should be noted with admiration that no adhesive is used in the joints for tight fitting.It is purework of precision cutting and fitting.


Box sitting on a 3 inch strong wooden base
Box sitting on a 3 inch strong wooden base


Box in open condition showing the storage space and the left side document compartment
Box in open condition showing the storage space and the left side document compartment


Box showing key hole of the inbuilt lock, latch and ring for pad lock
Box showing key hole of the inbuilt lock, latch and ring for pad lock


The Story of the Box

The story of the box is enveloped with the feeling of gratitude of a family for a village head. The story starts in a village named Vanapalli in the Konaseema area in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India during the World War II. Many workers from this village went to Burma (the present day Myanmar) for work including a group of carpenters. In those days, telephones were not available in the villages and the only way of communication with the Burma workers and their families in India was by postal letters. Most of the families in India were illiterates and they did not know how to reply when a letter came from Burma.

My father-in-law’s father, Sri Machiraju Pullam Raju, was a Karanam (government representative) for Vanapalli village. In those days, karan was the virtual head of the village and the villagers used to approach the Karanam for any help they wanted.The families of Burma settlers were coming to Pullam Raju garu (garu is a Telugu word used to express respect) whenever they got a letter from Burma so that he can read the letter to them and exchange family welfare.He was also helping them in writing letters in reply. The families also took his advice on various issues in their families. Thus, Pullam Raju garu became a main link for the families to exchange information between Burma and India.

When the Second World War was declared, India was under British rule at that time. The Indian British troops were moved to Burma to fighting against Japanese army who had created a base there to fight against the Western forces. There was lot of commotion in the village Vanapallias they heard from the newspapers that Burma was bombed. The families were worried about their men at Burma and the frequent letters of exchange made Pullam Raju garu closer to the villagers. During war time,around 1940 some of the workers returned back to India and among them were some carpenters. The workers that returned from Burma were visiting Pullam Raju garu with their families to show their gratitude for the service rendered by him. They gave him some gifts that they brought from Burma. Few carpenters brought him foldable easy chairs. Seven carpenters brought him Burma teak wood trunk boxes; one each in different sizes. The one shown here is one out of them. This box is around 72 years old.

Pallam Raju garu had five children, two boys and three girls. The eldest son,Sri Machraju Bhaskar Rao was married to my aunt (Father’s sister)Machiraju Satyavathi. Subsequently, I married their daughter and he became my father-in-law. Pullam Raju garu gifted one box to each of his children. The remaining 2 boxes he has given to his friends. My father-in-law’s box was kept in our ancestral house in Someswaram since he was moving to Madras (present day Chennai) for his job and he did not have much space in his Chennai rented house to accommodate this trunk box. This box was being used by my mother who used to keep her valuable possessions in this box, including her wedding Banaras sari, my father’s Salem silk pancah and kanduva, her gold jewels, silver items like dinner plates, glasses, bowls, gandhapuginni (sandal wood paste bowl), rose water sprinkler and many more interesting items.

I and my sisters would flock around the box whenever my mother opened it to peep into various items that were stored in it. There used to be a small lakkabharani( lacquer box) in red colour in which my mother used to keep small items like gold rings, ear drops, locket with Anjaneya emblem and few silver coins. Sometimes my mother used to allow us to touch and feel them till our curiosity was satiated. Then she would put them back into lacquer box .The lacquer box goes back into the trunk box and is locked. My mother would then tie the key of the lock to the corner end piece of her sari.

My father-in-law never claimed the box. As an engineer, he used to get frequent transfers in his job and this heavy box was an inconvenience. The box has made our house its permanent home. My mother stayed in our ancestral house in Someswaram till the death of my grandfather in 1970 and thereafter she was living with us at Chennai. When she came to Chennai she brought with her the Burma teak wood box also along with her baggage.  Since then this vintage box is with me as a symbol of the noblest feeling called gratitude.


Young Teak would tree with flowers
Young Teak would tree with flowers


Teak wood logs– trunk side view
Teak wood logs– trunk side view


About teak wood and teak wood tree

Teak wood can be crowned as the strongest and most durable wood in the world. Teak wood has highest oil content and hence this wood has the power of rot resistance and protection from the infestation by the insects.It is the ideal wood for making boats since it is water resistant.It is widely used for making outdoor furniture for it can withstand any kind of weather.

The wood name “teak” is derived from Tamil word Thekku. The botanical family name is Verbenaceae and belongs to the sub-category of Tectona. The teak wood tree can grow up to 150 feet high and can live for 100 years. It is native to Asea and mainly grown in plantations in  countries like India, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand and also Philippine islands. The fragrant white colored flowers of the tree bloom in clusters and bear fruits  by insect pollination. The seeds of the fruit are used for plantation. The tree has big leaves with hairy structure underneath the leaf.

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Antique Copper Water Storage Pot – Pani Ka Ghada

The dimensions of the pot: 15” diameter at the belly,  4” diameter at the mouth, Height – 12”

This antique copper water storage pot is from the state of Rajasthan, India. Most part of Rajasthan is a desert or arid land and water is a scarce commodity. It is a common sight in rural Rajasthan that women carry up to 3 pots full of water at a time on their head from a long distance.  The water acquired with such a trouble is very precious and has to be protected by all means. Keeping the environmental conditions in view, the artisan has designed the pot in such a way that maximum amount of water can be carried at a time and stored with minimum chance of spillage. This is evident from the thoughtful design of the pot with big belly of 15” diameter and a small opening at the mouth with 4”diameter. The big belly helps in carrying the large amount of water and a narrow mouth helps preventing spillage. The big belly also helps in keeping the balance of the pot on the head of the women carrying it. This antique copper water storage pot is known as Pani ka Ghada in Hindi, Neella Bindi in Telugu and Tavalai in Tamil languages respectively.

Design of the Copper Water Storage Pot

Antique copper water storage pot made out of 4 sections.
Antique copper water storage pot made out of 4 sections. Notice the 4 joints.

Antique copper water storage pot is a masterpiece of design. The spherical pot is made out of 4 sections.

Section 1: A convex bowl at the bottom.

Section 2: Concave upper part of the pot like an inverted bowl with a hole for the neck.

Section 3: Two inch ring for joining the upper part and bottom part of the pot and also to provide height to the pot.

Section-4: The neck with narrow opening with a solid brass rim. All the parts are assembled separately and welded jointly to give a perfect shape to the pot.

Antique copper water storage pot
Antique copper water storage pot – Decorative ridge at 2 places – neck joint and belly joint.

There are two decorative ridges provided to camouflage the welding joints. One ridge is provided at the joining of neck with the top of the belly and the second ridge is provided at the joint of upper part of the pot with the lower part.

Top view
Top view with embossed lotus flower with 10 petals design and 3 mini knobs in triangular position.

There is a beautiful lotus flower design embossed on the upper part of the belly of the pot. The lotus flower has 10 petals and at the end of each petal there are 3 decorative mini knobs in triangular position. The rim of the mouth is made with solid brass although the entire body is with copper. This may be because brass is stronger than copper and a strong rim is required to hold and lift the pot with water inside. There are two beautiful grooves on the brass rim. These grooves are deliberately designed to give better grip to handle the rim.

 Brass ring on the opening of the neck
Antique copper water storage pot – Brass ring on the opening of the neck with two grooves.

The inside of the pot is coated with tin metal and this process is called Kalai in Hindi and Tagaram poota in Telugu. By providing this coating, the artisan declares that this pot can be safely used for other liquids also that may react with copper. The second purpose for tin coating is that the additional metal coating adds to the strength of the pot and gives a rock like firmness to the otherwise soft copper pot.

Kalai,and Tagaram poota
Antique copper water storage pot – Coated with tin metal also known as Kalai,and Tagaram poota.

My Ownership of the Copper Water Storage Pot – The Story

I have collected this wonderful vintage copper pot from an antique dealer in Delhi. This handmade pot has excellent craftsmanship and lovely shape. It has marks like minor dents which are indicative of years of wear and tear. It has beautiful hammer marks but most of them were smoothened due to constant use and antiquity. When I purchased this wonderful pot some 25 years back, it had a natural copper patina (verdigris), greenish spotty patches on the body indicative of aged copper that was not cleaned for a long time. I cleaned the entire patina several times to bring it to the present colour of shining copper. It is with me since 25 years and I guess its total age could be more than 100 years.

 Side angle view
Antique copper water storage pot – Side angle view.

The Tradition of Copper Pot Making

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is a major centre for making vessels with copper and brass.  Jaipur was a new capital established by King Sawai Jai Singh II in the year 1727. He invited craftsmen, artisans, and traders and encouraged them to make the vessels of daily use and instituted trade centres. The utensil makers are called ‘Thatherey’ in Hindi  language. There is one street in Jaipur dedicated to the art of making Brass and Copper vessels called ‘Thatheron ki gali’ and this street exists since as old as the year 1727. The ‘Thatherey’ craftsmen had a booming business of copper vessels for water storage in the growing city and from rural Rajasthan. People preferred copper pots owing to the age old belief that water stored in copper pots known as Tamra Jal gives health benefits. You could read more about the benefits of storing water in copper pots here. Food items (both solid or liquid) stored in these vessels remained fresh for a long time compared to the other metals like aluminium and iron.

Inclined position view
Antique copper water storage pot – Inclined position view.

Making of the Copper Pot

To make the pot, a square or round piece of sheet is cut from the flat metal sheet and constantly beaten till required shape intended for the vessel is attained. The thickness of the sheet (gauge) is selected depending on the proposed vessel to be made. To achieve the controlled bending, the craftsman uses a solid iron metal ring firmly placed in the ground which is called “Bangad” to serve as a seat for the metal piece to work on it. The cut metal piece is placed on Bangad to work on the metal piece to get the shape of either concave or convex curve that is required for making a water pot. The beating is done by  iron hammers or by mallets of various weights and shapes known as ‘Khachara’ in Hindi language. The mallets have wooden handles to facilitate the beating with the right amount of pressure to get the desired shape. The wooden handles also provide better grip and control for making right dents on the sheet.

Left side tilted view
Antique copper water storage pot – Left side tilted view.

The craftsman first fabricates the required sheet metal sections and finally joins all the sections to give a final shape to the pot. The joining is done either by physical joining and beating technique or by welding using the brass welding rods. The welding is normally camouflaged by forming a decorative ridge over the line of welding thereby giving the vessel an aesthetic look and extra strength. After the fabrication, the pot is given an acid wash to give it a shining finish. The pot retains the beautiful hammer stroke marks that shaped the pot. The hammer marks give enormous beauty to the pot and enhance its form and texture. In fact, these miniature dents on the surface of the pot make the sheet metal of the pot stronger and do not give scope for others to manipulate the surface of the pot.

Copper pot or Ghada – As a Folk Musical Instrument

Antique copper pot or Ghada used as a folk musical instrument.
Antique copper pot or Ghada used as a folk musical instrument.

Ghada is also used as a folk musical instrument in certain parts of India like Punjab and Gujarat. Ghada can also be made with brass, silver and earth. The musician keeps the Ghada in his lap or in front of him and uses metal rings worn on fingers to play crisp notes on the sides of the Ghada. The tonal part of the sound is manipulated by closing and opening the mouth of the pot alternately with one hand placed on the rim of the mouth. Musicians in South India use similar pots made with earth known as Ghatam as a musical instrument. In the classical music of South India known as Carnatic music, Ghatam, Violin, Mridangam are standard accompaniments to the singer and the team performance  is called Sangeetha Kacheri.

Neck down and belly top view
Antique copper water storage pot – Neck down and belly top view.

Antique copper water storage pot - Bottom view.
Antique copper water storage pot – Bottom view.

You can read in detail about the benefits of using a copper jug or pot to store drinking water: