What is the exact meaning of "of a lost mould" in the sentence below?

“Club decanters, of a lost mould, contained his sherry, his port, and his cinnamon-spiced claret; while his beverages were refreshingly cooled with ice, brought at great cost from the American lakes.”

Excerpt From
Around the World in 80 Days
by Jules Verne
This material may be protected by copyright.

  • not sure, but it could be referring to the manufacturing process of the decanter? the wiki page for lost-wax casting lists "lost-mold" as a similar process where something other than wax is used. – katatahito Jul 25 '19 at 7:40

Quoting Google:

noun: mould; plural noun: moulds; noun: mold; plural noun: molds

a hollow container used to give shape to molten or hot liquid material when it cools and hardens.
"the smith would pour the molten metal into the shaped mould"
synonyms: cast, die, form, matrix, shape, container;
framework, template, pattern, frame
"the molten metal is poured into a mould"
"a pudding or savoury mousse made in a mould"
"a lobster mould with a sauce of carrots and port"

a distinctive and typical style, form, or character.
"he's a superb striker in the same mould as Gary Lineker"
synonyms: character, nature, temperament, temper, disposition, cast/turn of mind, mettle

So what the sentence seems to mean: it was of a form/shape that is no longer in use ('lost'). Glass is not actually 'moulded' (1st definition), but I think the author's choice is more in line with the second meaning (derived from the first one, probably).

  • +1 but the statement "glass is not actually moulded" is incorrect. Most glass objects are formed by "blow moulding" in a similar way to plastic, and you can sometimes see the mould marks on cheaper objects. Float or sheet glass for glazing is made by floating molten glass on a flat surface, such as mercury and allowing it to set. Sometimes decoration is cut into the glass. – Weather Vane Jul 25 '19 at 8:48
  • Also, the decanter in the OP's quote need not necessarily be made of glass. – Mr Lister Jul 25 '19 at 13:21
  • I think the sentence means what you says it means, but I also think the reader is supposed to gain an inference from it. Because these decanters were "of a lost mould," we are supposed to think that they might be very old (and therefore perhaps quite valuable), or maybe the person who owns these decanters is very set in his ways and not interested in buying a newer set. – J.R. Jul 25 '19 at 15:25
  • 1
    And we have to remember that this is a translation. Trying to infer Verne's exact intent really requires asking native French speakers how they interpret Verne's language, not some translator's attempt to capture in English every potential subtlety of 19th century French. – Jeff Morrow Jul 25 '19 at 15:35

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