The element, named after the planet Uranus, was reported by the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth to a meeting of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science in 1789. In fact Klaproth had discovered the oxide of uranium and for a long time it was regarded as a “half metal”. The element itself was not isolated until 1841 when the French Chemist, Eugene Peligoit, prepared it by reducing uranium tetrachloride with an alkali metal. It was not until 1870 that it was realized Uranium was the heaviest naturally occurring metal. (Technically this is probably not true as a natural uranium nuclear reactor is believed to have operated at Oklo in Gabon millions of years ago and if that were the case then traces of plutonium would have been formed). Back in the 1800s the fact that the metal itself had not been extracted did not deter the use of the oxide for industrial purposes, the principle of which was probably for the coloring of glass. We should appreciate that technology, as we know it today, was in its very early stages. (more…)
Collectible Glass » Glass Articles
An entire book could be written about Harry Northwood, using every superlative the mind could summon and still fail to do justice to the man, a genius in his field. Of course, Harry had an advantage in the glass industry since his father, John Northwood, was a renowned English glassmaker.
Harry Northwood came to America in 1880 and first worked for Hobbs, Brockunier and Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, an old and established glass-producing firm. For five years, Harry remained in Wheeling, learning his craft and dreaming his dreams. (more…)
Over its 95-year history, there were two different Westmorelands divided almost equally in the middle. The first, the West period, lasted 48 years; whereas the second, the Brainard period, lasted virtually as long. (Including with the Brainard period the three years following the company’s sale in 1981, for there was no break in the type of glassware being made then.) (more…)
While the Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, Ohio, was first organized in 1901 by a group of area investors, it wasn’t until January 13, 1904, that the first glass was made; and not until nearly five years later the beautiful iridized glass we’ve come to call carnival glass was produced.
In the years between these dates, the mass market was sought with a steady production of pressed glass water sets, single tumblers, jelly jars, lamp shades, chimneys, and a full assortment of table items such as salt dips, pickle trays, condiment bottles, and oil cruets. (more…)
First organized in April 1905, the Fenton Art Glass company didn’t really materialize until the following July. At that time the glass decorating shop was opened in Martins Ferry, Ohio, in an abandoned factory rented by Frank L. Fenton and his brother, John (who was later to found the famous Millersburg Glass Company).
The next few months were occupied in obtaining financial backers and glassworkers, buying land to be plotted into lots as a money-raising venture, and constructing their own plant in Williamstown, West Virginia. At times, everything seemed to go wrong, and it wasn’t until 1907 that the company was “on its way.” (more…)
While the techniques used for carnival glass and stretch glass are very similar, the results have a very different appearance. Both are molded or pressed. Both are sprayed with a metallic salt solution to achieve the surface iridescence. Both were generally made at the same factories.
The main differences that set stretch glass apart from its carnival cousin is the lack of pattern, the obvious onion-skin look, and the time frame of production (stretch glass began about a decade after carnival glass and continued a few years after production of carnival glass ended). In addition, stretch glass was usually sprayed with the salts or “dope” and then shaped, while carnival glass was usually shaped before iridizing. (more…)
Knowledge is the key to both collecting success and a general appreciation of the subject for several obvious reasons. By far the most important is that it gives those who possess it the ability to differentiate one piece from another: the excellent from the good, the good from the average, and the average from the poor.
A guide to the scale of the historic glass industry is provided by Carolus Hartmann’s Glas-Markenlexikon, 1660-1945, whose 1,006 pages are crammed with 18,000 unique marks and signatures. It is important to note that the practice of maker-marking increased dramatically during the 20th century, so a follow-up volume covering 1945-2000 would probably rival, if not surpass, the original in size. (more…)
1887 – 1992
95 Years of Glassmaking
Assembling a Fostoria collection is an adventure with many facets. Not only can we own beautiful glass to use and enjoy, but interest and desire are generated to learn more about all glassware manufactured in America. Our family’s quest for Fostoria actually began at a Texas estate sale in 1969. We left that sale the proud owners of several pieces of honey-colored stemware. We did not know at the time that this was the pattern Vesper or that Fostoria was the maker. After looking through very limited available material showing Cambridge and Heisey glass, we thought perhaps our pattern might be a Fostoria product. It took a trip in 1970 to the Fostoria plant in Moundsville, West Virginia, to establish the correct identify. We were delighted when Hugh Buzzard Sr., the general sales manager, said those magic words, “Yes, that’s ours, we made that a long time ago.” (more…)
Having researched carnival glass for 30 plus years, it is easy to forget there are collectors just beginning, who haven’t learned the fine points of this remarkable glass; so for them, here are some basic thoughts. First comes color. To tell the true color of a piece of carnival glass, hold the piece to a strong light; the base color you see is the color of the piece. The colors given off by the iridescence have little or nothing to do with the true color of the glass. Many have asked me to provide a color chart to aid beginners, but capturing glass colors on paper is nearly impossible. The best advice we can offer on color is to handle as much of this glass as you can, holding it to the light and observing; soon, colors will come naturally, at least the basic colors. (more…)
Much has been written about Augustus H. Heisey and his remarkable achievements in the handmade pattern glass industry.Much more has been said about the A.H. Heisey & Company of Newark, Ohio, producers of “The Finest in Collectible Glassware – Made in America by Hand”. However one cannot publish a book about this fine company without giving a brief history of the man and his factory. (more…)
Inexpensive depression glass was manufactured in massive quantities during the 1920s and ‘30s by dozens of American factories. The depression glass was inexpensive because it was manufactured by a new, automated tank-molded method that made it possible to quickly create thin glassware in many different patterns and colors. Overall lacy patterns helped hide any flaws in the glass. Several glass patterns were molded on the outside of plates and bowls so the surface that held food was smooth. A twenty-piece set sold for only about $2. The glass, sold in dime stores and department stores, was dubbed “Depression glass” by collectors in the late 1960s. Gradually, the meaning of the term Depression glass broadened to include inexpensive glass made after the Depression, including glass that was pressed to resemble earlier cut glass, glass with enameled or silk-screened decorations, and glass made of dark green, cobalt blue, or other deep colors. (more…)