M997.45.7 | Banada dish

Banada dish
Jefferson Glass Co. Ltd
1912-1925, 20th century
18.5 x 24.5 cm
Gift of Dr. Huguette Rémy
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Dish (42)
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Keys to History

Judging by its shape, this pressed glass dish was used to display bananas.

In the late19th century, technological advances and improvements in transportation conditions made it possible to import various products to Montreal. The first refrigerated ships, which appeared towards the end of the 1870s, were used to transport perishable goods over long distances, to export meat to Europe and to import various plant products from the southern countries of the Americas and elsewhere.

At the end of the 19th century, wealthy Montrealers discovered a fragile exotic fruit: the banana. In the 1890s, new products such as fruits from the southern United States and smoked salmon from British Columbia were also available. Montreal then laid claim to being the commercial hub of the country.

Bananas were no longer a novelty, however, after the 1910s, the period around which this pressed glass dish was manufactured. By this time pressed glass was an inexpensive mass-produced material.

  • What

    Pressed glass was produced by machine.

  • Where

    The Jefferson Glass Co Ltd., where this banana dish was manufactured, was located in Toronto.

  • When

    Starting in the 1910s, various objects of pressed glass, an economical material, were sold mostly in department stores and given as wedding presents.

  • Who

    A luxury good, bananas were not part of the unvaried diet of working-class families, who instead ate apples. Montreal was famous for the quality of its apples.