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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 16

Table Glass from the Wreck of the Machault

by Paul McNally


Since the table glass collection from the Machault is precisely dated, it provides firm ground for inferences normally only hesitantly approached in artifact analyses. The large number of French wine glasses in the ship's cargo could reflect the number of relatively wealthy inhabitants of Montreal who created a demand for good table glass. The presence of such a cargo on the ship could also indicate that France did not expect to lose New France permanently.

The sample of English wine glasses, although small, reflects English leadership in the glass industry of the third quarter of the 18th century and is eloquent material testimony to the popularity of English table glass in its rococo period, even though the source or sources of these glasses is a matter of conjecture.

The range of vessel forms of the French and English table glass recovered from the Machault perhaps seem strikingly limited to those who are accustomed to regarding the middle of the 18th century as an age of elegance, but, viewed with some other archaelogical collections of table glass from New France, the range of forms is relatively wide.

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