Front and center: Revs Institute features luxe glass mascots of yesteryear in Naples

Article by Harriet Howard Heithaus of Naples Daily News.

Glass Amazons and gleaming animals roam the display cases at the Revs Institute, a special, sparkling population in the world of car mascots.

That term — car mascots — may be less known to Americans than the common name here: hood ornament. But there’s a difference. In fact, quite a few things make this collection, a Revs exhibition titled “Jewels for the Road,” different:

  • Its figures are the work of sculptors rather than factory designers, with names like Lalique heavily in the mix. And none of them were made for specific auto models; they were purchased separately, and were known as “accessory mascots.”

Those mass-produced for specific car brands or models are called “factory mascots.”

  • The ephemeral creatures in “Jewels for the Road” are among only around 100 models ever created in glass. Pontiac used Lucite  in the late 1940s to give details of its mascots a translucent glow, but glass was gone by then. They were a product of the 1920s and ’30s.
  • Further, even if you’re of a certain age in the U.S., you may never have seen them. Most glass car mascots were designed, made and sold in Europe. At least one glass factory in Corning, New York, Steuben, produced several, however.

The Corning glass matriarch herself had a stunning 6½-pound glass Pegasus mounted on her Rolls-Royce, according to Jon Zoler, a Naples man whose collection of these rare mascots is at the Revs Institute until May 31.

Read more from the article in the Naples Daily News.