What is this glass container?
May 27, 2010 5:45 AM   Subscribe

What is this?

My Pop used to keep two of these in rotation in our freezer when I was a kid. Each contained a martini. I found two of these at the Brown Elephant in Chicago probably close to a decade ago and have moved them with me all over the country without ever knowing their real purpose. Can you shed any light? Is it possible he was using them for their original purpose?
posted by FlamingBore to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
It looks like a Pyrex pitcher from the 60s/70s. I don't know if it was originally made to hold martinis or coffee, but it's Pyrex -- awesomely indestructible. You can see a similar one on this Etsy shop page.
posted by Houstonian at 5:58 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's a coffee decanter/carafe; they usually have a heating stand, and electric coffee pots killed them off in the mid 20th century.
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:07 AM on May 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

It looks almost like a hot tea brewer to me but without the gizmo that holds the tea bags or loose tea, which maybe at one time connected to the neck of it?
posted by 543DoublePlay at 6:09 AM on May 27, 2010

Coffee pot.
posted by kidelo at 6:20 AM on May 27, 2010

Response by poster: Hmmm. Hadn't even considered that. It's small. The bulb is about the size of my fist so the notion of coffee pot hadn't even entered my mind. Thanks!
posted by FlamingBore at 7:43 AM on May 27, 2010

If the bulb is that small, it could be a syrup server. Some of the upscale breakfast places serve the maple syrup in them.
posted by Drasher at 8:04 AM on May 27, 2010

Are there any markings, names, or numbers on the bottom of the glass or on the metal banding anywhere? Usually if you can find a number or something similar, a quick search on that will pull up collector sites with info about it, if such a group exists. And this is the internet, so it probably does.
posted by msbutah at 8:09 AM on May 27, 2010

I was thinking an oil or vinegar carafe. The kind that comes in a set for the salad bar.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:43 AM on May 27, 2010

Best answer: I think it's a fancy version of a hottle. Coffee shops (or diners, as they are called in the eastern US) served coffee in these little pots - they did this as recently as the early 1980s but the practice seems to have died out, at least here in Southern California.
posted by chez shoes at 8:45 AM on May 27, 2010

Seconding AzraelBrown: coffee/tea decanter. Yours is missing its stand. Here's a similar one.
posted by jamaro at 9:22 AM on May 27, 2010

The bulb is about the size of my fist

Really! That's small. I used to see these in the thrift shops, but bigger, maybe a foot tall. I had one just like your photo, but in the larger size, complete with mirrored trim, but it broke. Now I have one of the Erlenmeyer versions; its mirror-trim is copper-colored instead of silver. Sometimes I fill it up with homemade soup, for easy transport to pot-luck parties.
posted by Rash at 10:11 AM on May 27, 2010

Seconding chez shoes, it's a hottle. They were served in coffee shops and fit inside a coffee cup. They generally held two cups of coffee (the amount you were expected to drink before you were expected to get up and leave) and saved the waitress from having to come around with a pot asking about refills. They were something of a failure because they didn't really keep the coffee hot and the waitress didn't pay enough attention to the customer.
posted by Old Geezer at 11:03 AM on May 27, 2010

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