Mercury Glass Votive Workshop for Kids


In this fun and festive workshop, kids ages 6 – 12 will use paint and water to make shiny mercury glass votive candle holders. While decorating their votives, Laurie Walker, Museum Educator, will talk with the children about the origins of mercury glass, which was originally created as a replacement for sterling silver, and contains neither silver nor mercury. The children’s second project will be to make their own snack – fruit dipped in white chocolate, decorated with silver dragees. Very jolly!

Wilton Historical Society members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: or call 203-762-7257.

Did you know?
Mercury, or silvered glass, is glass that has a silvery appearance.
Mercury glass actually contains no mercury, although at one point there were several manufacturers who attempted to line glass with mercury. This procedure was short lived due to both the toxic nature of mercury as well as its expense, but may account for the name. Also called silvered glass, it contains neither silver nor mercury. Mercury glass is, instead, clear glass which is mold-blown into double-walled shapes. The glass is then coated on the inside with a liquid silver nitrate solution, through a hole in the bottom.

Mercury glass was first created in Germany in the early 1800s. It was used as a more inexpensive material for candlesticks, vases, goblets, and other objects. Silvered glass quickly gained popularity in France, England, Bohemia, and the United States. The New England Glass Company showed a large display of the glass at the New York Crystal Palace Exhibition in 1853; included in the display were goblets, vases, spittoons, sugar basins, tumblers, and more.

Although some critics dismissed mercury glass as being too showy and looking too mirror-like, most people found it very attractive. Soon, silvered glass began to be decorated with enamel, etching, paint, and engraving. In the twentieth century, the glass was used to make Christmas ornaments and other household decorations.

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