Highly unusual, seemingly to be, one of a kind silver plate epergne by Meriden Britannia Company of Connecticut. No doubt Circa 1875 manufactured to commemorate the launching of “Le Tricolre Balloon” on June 6th, 1874 in France (I have attached image of actual French hot air balloon; see images). It was thought that mail might be transported across the English Channel and Irish Sea by hot air balloon but the concept never materialized.
The two passant lions in a regal British coat of arms posture proudly balance the hot air balloon, which is beautifully shaped crystal with a raised etched glass floral pattern in white. The pattern consists of an intertwining floral circumference, with floral “teardrops” below; all raised and white. The lions are cast with upturned tail, and intricate detail to the mane and ribs of the body (see images). The base of the holder has a leaf pattern to the 3/4″ base circumference design.
The Meriden hallmark with “Meridan B. Co.” and a set of scales enclosed by a shield with the number “209” are one of the earlier logos used by this company which opened for business in 1865 in Meriden, Connecticut.
The condition is excellent with almost all of the silver plate intact; no breaks or cracks to the glass; and no restoration of any kind. There is very slight chipping to the lip of the opening on the glass at the top.
Dimensions: 9 1/4″ high x 4 3/4″ diameter