The c.1886 cut glass and gilt-bronze pachyderm carrying liquor decanters in its howdah and glasses at its side, was commissioned from the French factory by the American entrepreneur, engineer and inventor George Westinghouse (1846-1914).
It was a gift for his wife, Margaret Erskine Walker Westinghouse whose initials MEWW appear to one of the glass elements. It is thought a similar model was designed for display at the 1878 Exposition Universelle (world’s fair) in Paris.
The 2ft 1in (63cm) high tantalus had been in the Westinghouse family for more than a century and consigned for sale to local British Columbia auction house Lunds.
A number of elements were missing or broken but, estimated at Can$50,000-100,000, it sold to a US bidder for a house-record sum. With 20% buyer’s premium, the price on April 26 was Can$144,000.