Erickson Glass Works’ “Flame” Decanter (from “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”)

 

Among the various pieces of barware seen in the third season episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” was a lovely hand-blown glass decanter, positioned at the table between Captain Kirk and Mister Spock. Kirk and Spock had a get-together for the evening with Commissioner Bele of the planet Cheron in Bele’s quarters. The beverages we saw in this scene all came in different colors—red, blue, green, and a couple of golds–and there was even the ubiquitous Saurian brandy bottle. Of course, the drinks were never identified, and of the different colored beverages that were available, it looks like Captain Kirk is the only person at the table who had a glass containing the green-colored drink. You can see this greenish bottle in this shot of Mister Spock–way over at screen right:

Erickson "Flame" Decanter ("Let That Be Your Last Bettlefield")

You can also see it in that high bird’s-eye-view shot of the room:

Erickson "Flame" Decanter ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")

But probably the best shot of it is in the two-shot of Captain Kirk and Commissioner Bele:

Erickson "Flame" Decanter ("Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")

What we have is a bottle made by the (now-defunct) Erickson Glass Works in Bremen, Ohio. The brothers Carl and Stephen Erickson established, owned and operated the company from 1943 to 1961. The famous Blenko Glass Company had employed Carl Erickson as a designer for a decade before he struck out on his own with his brother.  (Blenko glassware remains popular and extremely collectible even today for it interesting colors and designs; some typical examples are below.  You can see how the Blenko influences contribute to Erickson’s design.)

Typical Blenko Bottles

Carl Erickson called his style “flame design,” since much of his work involved his–quite literally–patented tapered gas flame design motif. (For more history on the Erickson Glassworks Company, seek out the book Erickson Freehand Glass, Bremen, Ohio, 1943-1961: In Color by Ramona C. Knower and Franklin Hayward Knower.) (1)

In the case of these flame design decanters, the flame motif is in the bottle’s accompanying stopper. These hand-blown bottles have four applied glass rings on the neck in two pairs of two. The height of the decanter from the bottom to the lip of the bottle is about 10 ½ inches; the flame-shaped stopper adds another five inches as well.
Here are a couple of typical Erickson flame design decanters:

Erickson "Flame" Decanters (Colorless)

In addition to this rarer uncolored (clear) variation, Erickson also made these flame decanters in a number of colors. Subtle tinting was added towards the bottom of the vessel in various colors—including charcoal gray, amethyst, and, of course, emerald:

Erickson "Flame" Deanter (Charcoal Gray)

Erickson "Flame" Decanter (Amethyst)

Erickson "Flame" Decanter (Emerald)

In the case of “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” the characteristic flame stopper was replaced with a simple pyramidal stopper. It’s a little hard to tell, but it looks to be a hexagonal (six-faceted) pyramid. I have no idea if the original stopper had been intentionally replaced to give the bottle a slightly different look, or if it had to be replaced when the original flame stopper came up missing. (It’s also interesting that the stopper matches the stopper on the accompanying amber-colored decanter in “…Battlefield.”) Additionally, since the bottle was filled with emerald green fluid, it’s hard to tell if the decanter was the (rare) colorless variation, or the more common emerald green-tinted variant.

At any rate, here’s an emerald green flame decanter from Erickson Glass Works that we’ve had for a few years now. In this case, the credit for finding this vintage collectible goes to eagle-eyed Trek collector Mr. Roger Romage of Trek Classic. Note that the characteristic flame-shaped stopper has been replaced with a pyramidal-shaped one. (This one has eight facets; I’ll find a six-sided one eventually–and one with a less acute angle at its vertex.) Also note that the bottle has been filled with “…Battlefield”-appropriate emerald green fluid–whatever beverage it is meant to represent.

Vintage Erickson "Flame" Decanter

Vintage Erickson "Flame" Decanter

I’m not sure if and when we will be getting an opportunity to showcase this elegant barware. (It’s not the kind of item that we would routinely see in the ship’s mess hall.) As always, our scripts are the drivers of whether we’ll ever see this item.

As always, questions, comments, feedback, and, of course, “Shares,” “Likes,” or “+1s” are greatly appreciated.  Also as always, this article would be remarkably uninteresting without the benefit of all CBS Consumer Products’ Star Trek images that I have shamelessly harvested from the TrekCore website.  My thanks to them for all their valuable archival work, and for making CBS’s images available.

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Notes:

(1)   Ramona C. Knower and Franklin Hayward Knower, Erickson Freehand Glass, Bremen, Ohio, 1943-1961: In Color (Columbus, Ohio: Franklin Hayward Knower, 1971).

 

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About Gregory L. Schnitzer

Gregory L. Schnitzer is Co-Executive Producer on the fan-based Internet series Star Trek Phase II (formerly known as Star Trek New Voyages). Greg is a Registered Nurse and is generally in charge of Emergency Medical Services at the Star Trek Phase II shoots. He also generally serves as the production's Property Master and on-again, off-again Set Decorator. Born and raised in the beautiful but smoggy San Fernando Valley (which he still calls "home"), in real life, Greg is a Registered Nurse and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, and currently works in the field of Health Information Management at various facilities and in various capacities in the Washington, D.C., greater metropolitan region.