As you can imagine from your own fumbling at the dishpan, there isn’t a lot of genuine 16th century glass left intact. So if you want to know what it’s like to hoist one of these ancients pots to your lips and drink from it, you’re going to have to go repro. There are a number of sources for these, mostly originating in the Czech Republic, an ancient glassmaking region. Most of them seem to be accurately copied from museum pieces.
As a whole, these replica glasses are beautifully made, reasonably priced, paper thin and a joy to drink from. The amazing variations in form and especially in whimsical decoration will make you rethink your image of medieval folks as self-flagellating witch-burners. As is apparent from the glasses, there were some very fun folks among them.
The most accessible sites for non-Czech speakers are Bohemart, www.bohemart.com, which carries a range of hand-blown and hand-engraves replica glasses; and Royal Glassworks, www.royal-glassworks.cz, a medium-size glassworks company with situated in north Bohemia.
Based in Sweden, The Northerner (www.northerner.com) carries all things Scandinavian, including repro glasses and Viking supplies. Navigate to the “historical.”
By the way, if you want genuine 17th century glass to touch (but not to drink out of) check out the eBay store of The Crazy Compulsive Collector. He and his pals fish these out of canals in the Netherlands.
A brewer since 1984, Randy Mosher is a nationally recognized writer and authority on brewing and beer styles.