1905 Shriners Niagra Falls Red Barrel Toothpick Holder or Shot Glass Souvenir

1905 Shriners Niagra Falls Red Barrel Toothpick Holder or Shot Glass Souvenir


This quaint toothpick (shot glass) is a deviation from the norm. From a distant viewing, one would guess this item to be contemporary glass, purple in color. Closer examination under light reveals the base glass color is a true red. A heavy application of iridescence hides the ruby red base color. There are no manufacturer trademarks or etchings. I am unsure of the origin or glass manufacture date. The Niagara Falls glass piece might have been produced in the 1960’s or early 1970’s. I confess my knowledge is limited as to how many exist.  I simply do not see other examples in the carnival marketplace. Examining the base glass color and iridescence quality, I lean towards Robert Hansen as a possible manufacture.

The Niagara Falls toothpick or shot glass (take your pick) portrays a miniature wooden barrel. The pattern is very detailed as the wooden barrel staves show wood grain and the metal bands holding the staves in place have tiny rivets.

Going back in time it was both stunt showmanship and marketing for Niagara Falls to witness individuals sealed inside large wooden barrels taking a wild ride down the Niagara, with the ultimate thrill or challenge of going over the cascading falls, hoping to survive without injury or death.

The Niagara Falls barrel possesses many Shriner symbols. A sword labelled with the word Syria, crescent and 1905 date are on one side. Pittsburg lettering just above the crescent. On the other side, four names are listed, Brown, Nagle, Willock and Mc Comb followed by the lettering Niagara Falls. An interesting glass specimen for sure. I just wish the craftsmen had kept a closer eye on the apprentice applying the iridescence to the glass. This piece is brighter than a jewel.

The Gerald Thomas Collection