Confusing PaperweightsBy

Confusing Paperweights

Several paperweights are available with names of famous 19th century glass companies embedded in the glass. The names –Tiffany, Sandwich and Dorflinger (shown here)– were formed in script from copper wire. Although collectible for their own merits, these weights do not date from the periods those companies were in production.

The weights are the modern works of glass artist Joe Zimmerman of the Zimmerman Art Glass Co. of Corydon, Indiana in the 1970s. A thick molded letter "Z" dates the glass. The first weights Joe Zimmerman marked were made in the 1960s and were identified with a tiny wire Z. After a few years, a thin molded Z was stamped in the base. By the late 1960s through the 1970s, the thicker and wider Z shown in Fig. 2 was used.

Some weights from the 1970s with the heavy molded Z can be also be found marked KZ or BZ in diamond point engraving. Those initials were used by Joe's sons Kerry and Bart. Joe died in 1986. Production is still carried on by the sons using a molded KZ or molded BZ. Some current pieces with polished bases, such as perfume bottles, are signed in diamond point only. Callie Zimmerman, Joe's widow, said the weights with glass company names were most likely custom work for a private account.


Fig. 1 Paperweight made by Joe Zimmerman, ca. 1970s. "Dorflinger" in copper wire embedded in the 3½-inch diameter weight.


Fig. 2 Thick letter "Z" molded marked used by Joe Zimmerman, ca. 1970s.