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Radio Chipstone: The Mystery of the Ruby Red Glassware, Part I

Ashley Kuehl

Anyone who's tuned in to Milwaukee Public Television is familiar with the program Antiques Roadshow, in which hopeful lay people bring items of unknown worth to a team of experts to uncover the value of (and story behind) the object.

Radio Chipstone recently uncovered a woman who would benefit from a roadshow of sorts. 

For the holidays, Ashley Kuehl did what most people do, travel to spend time with her family. With her relatives in Michigan, she dined on a lovely meal and exchanged brightly wrapped gifts. However, it was a plain brown box that contained the most precious gift of all.

Credit Ashley Kuehl

Inside, Kuehl found very deep, ruby red, hand-blown glassware, from the 1960s. The two pieces were from Kuehl's 97-year-old grandmother, one piece, a wine carafe and the other, a very unique bowl.

Kuehl says that, growing up, she never saw the items used. 

"I would like to know more about them. These were pieces that my grandmother really cherished," Kuehl says. "To give them to me when I'm 31, she was really excited that someone else was going to enjoy them. So, I need to know the story behind it."

She says that her grandmother is still coherent, but very hard of hearing. "The first step [to get the story] would be to ask my mom a bunch of questions..." Kuehl explains. "Based on the town and the year maybe I can track down who the artist was and the value of this amazing glassware."

Material culture contributor Gianofer Fields curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is funded by the Chipstone Foundation, a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.

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