Five glass tumblers pressed in the "Ashburton" pattern were recovered from the wreck of the SS Republic, perhaps the remains of a larger quantity of table ware either shipped as cargo or possibly intended for shipboard use.
In the 1820s, the success of a hand-operated pressing machine, which pressed molten glass into metal molds, allowed factories to produce better quality glass at a lower cost and in a single step. With subsequent improvements in the pressing machine, American glass companies profited as never before as pressed glass became popular and threatened to take over the market from the more expensive cut and engraved wares. Many of the pressed glass designs mimicked English and Irish cut glass patterns, but were more easily made and required less skilled labor. Efficiency in production produced cheaper wares that by mid-century were more readily available to the modest American consumer.
First made ca. 1840s, the "Ashburton" pattern is said to have been named after Alexander Baring (Lord Ashburton) of Great Britain, whom together with America’s Secretary of State Daniel Webster, in 1842 resolved the long-standing Northeast Boundary Dispute between the United States and Great Britain concerning the Maine–New Brunswick border.
The "Ashburton" pattern was the name used by all of the glassworks that manufactured it. There were numerous variants of the pattern pressed over a long period of time. This popular pattern was produced in a large number of matching table ware forms including bowls, stemmed wine glasses, egg cups, footed tumblers, and decanters. An individual example of the latter (i.e. an Ashburton patterned decanter) was also recovered from the wreck site. This particular glass tumbler style broadly dates from 1845-1875 and could have been manufactured in any number of American glass factories producing bar and table wares during this period. Yet, an especially likely candidate is one of the New England glass factories, quite possibly the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company or its competitor, the New England Glass Company of East Cambridge, Massachusetts whose products were being marketed extensively through New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore.