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I have a number of hobbies, and shotglass collecting has given me a way to combine a number of them. One of the first ones that I combined with shotglasses was woodworking. As I got more glasses, I needed a way to display them, and I could not find any shelves that were what I wanted. I started looking around for the various types of wood that I could use, and have built shelves of various sizes and shapes from different materials. Along the way, I have learned a few things about building shelves that are perfect for displaying glasses, such as "what is the easiest way to build a shelf" (make it out of 1x3 lumber, and use a cassette tape box to determine the space between the shelves) and "how long is too long?" (a four foot long shelf made of 1x3s will bend when only supported at the ends)


Some time before I had 100 glasses in my collection, I started entering their descriptions into a spreadheet, so that I could keep track of what I had. As my collection grew, I tried to think of new ways to organize and present the information. One of the first things that I did was to come up with a way to print out the list in a half-page format so I could easily take the list with me when I went on trips.

I have been working with web pages almost since the web was invented, and the web seemed like the perfect way to combine the types of data that I have been gathering. A number of people have asked if I was going to write a book about shotglasses, but if I were to write one, I would want color pictures, which would make an expensive book -- putting the information on the web is much less expensive. Designing a web page is a way to share my collection with others, and to make connections with other collectors.


Another hobby that I have combined with shotglass collecting is photography. One of the hardest things to do with some glasses is to describe them in words (as I have tried to do in my database). There have been many times where I have described the same glass in two different ways, or missed some detail which did not seem significant when I only had one of them, but was important to distinguish between two or more. One of the biggest challenges to photographing shotglasses is their size: they are so small that it is difficult to capture the details without special equipment. Almost every photographer has an item called a macro lens, which is the primary tool required to take photographs of small objects. Other items that are required is lighting, and possibly a place to "stage" the glasses (more woodworking!)

I am slowly learning the best way to photograph these tiny treasures, how to light them and how to stop the design on the front of the glass from merging with the design on the back. Since I am still learning, one of the difficulties that I have encountered is the time lag between taking the picture and seeing the result. The size of my collection also helped force me to look at alternatives to standard photography. I have over 3000 glasses in my collection, and just taking one photograph of each would require over 50 rolls of film. Since many of the glasses have designs on more than one side, and I would still need to experiment with technique, I would have needed many more rolls of film.

As an alternative I looked into digital imagery. I started by scanning the glasses directly into a computer using a hand scanner, but this technique left "artifacts" in the image. After investigating the various types of cameras that were available, I decided on the Kodak DC120. It has the best resolution (at the moment) of any camera under $1000, has macro capabilities, and the ability to take photographic accessories such as filters. One of the best features of using a digital camera is the ability to take a picture and view it immediately on the computer. If you like what you see, you can move on to the next glass; if you do not like it, you can make a minor change and take the picture again.

Other Connections

There are many other collections that I can tie together with shotglass collecting. One of the more obscure connections that I made recently was with stamp collecting. When I was younger I collected United States Postage stamps, and I remember one that was issued to commemorate "A Century Of Progress - 1833-1933." I recently came across a shotglass that was made to commemorate the same event, and (if I remember correctly) it has the same design as the stamp.

Shotglasses may end up being purchased for a number of reasons, and often end up in the collections of people who do not collect shotglasses:

  • Many are purchased as a souvenir of a visit to someplace like a zoo or an amusement park
    #0096 - star trek adventure
 This glass might also be of interest to a fan of star trek
  • A glass with the logo of a sports team might be purchased for a fanatical sports fan
 #0073 - Miami Dolphins - football helmet (upper case letters)
  • A glass from the Coca Cola company might be purchased by a collector of Coke memorabilia
 #0268 - Coca-Cola Refreshes You Best
  • A glass with the name of a Fraternity or Sorority might be sold to as a fundraiser.
 #1525 - Phi Gamma Delta
  • A glass might be given to guests at a wedding
 #0827 - angie and chalie
  • A set of glasses might be given as a christmas present
 christmas 1953
  • A doctor might collect old medicinal memoribilia
 #0766 - Worlds Dispensary Medical Association - embossed
  • Boy scout memorabilia
 #1048 - two fingers
  • As part of a larger set of glassware
 #0427 - greco-roman
  • black memorabilia
 #0198 - A Pick Me Up - native and rhino [violet tint]

The christmas present listed above is the type of thing that I really love to find. Other than the obvious reason to purchase them (they are glasses), this set tells me so much more. The fact that they are still in the original box tells me how many were in the original set, how they were packaged and where they were made. (Sometimes the box will have the original price on it, but not in this case.) This box has a unique feature on it's bottom. The person who recieved this set as a present wrote on the bottom the year, and the name of who gave it to them.