Monday, April 26, 2010

E is for Elegant Glass

Elegant Glass
is the name given to the high quality glassware made in the U.S.A. from 1930 through the 1950's. Sold in fine department stores and marketed toward wedding registries, it proved a more affordable alternative to china and crystal. Elegant Glass is of superior quality and identified by its dense weight and sparkling clarity. Pressed Elegant Glass is available in vibrant colors and has a more polished finish without the flaws (straw marks and air bubbles) commonly found in Depression Glass. Embellishments include acid etchings, cut intaglio, enameling, and silver overlay with a ground, smoothly polished base. From the 1900's through the 1940's, preferences for glassware changed from pressed to blown, and from colored to crystal, with fewer items produced in each pattern line. Following is a list of the dozen or so Manufacturers of Elegant Glass, located in OH, WV, IN (Diamond), PA (Duncan&Miller), and MA (Pairpoint):

Cambridge Glass Co. (1901-1940's) Imperial Glass Co. (1901-1984)
Central Glass Co. (1867-1891)- merged w/ US Glass Morgantown (1899-1971)
Central Glass Works (1895-1939) New Martinsville Glass Co. (1901-1998) to Viking Glass
Consolidated Glass Co. (1895-1939) Paden City Glass Mfg. Co. (1916-1951)
Diamond Glass Co. (1913) Pairpoint Mfg. Co. (1837-1880)-merged w/ Mt. Washington
Duncan & Miller (1865-1955) Tiffen Glass (1889-1980)- merged w/ US Glass
Fenton Glass Co. (1905 - Present)
Fostoria (1887-1983)
Heisey Glass Co. (1896-1957) -Imperial Glass bought molds

A.H. Heisey encompasses all the best qualities of Elegant Glass. Its founder Augustus Heisey was born in Germany in 1842 and moved from PA to OH, opening his company in 1886. Heisey glass is known for its high quality finish and beauty. All pieces made after 1908 are marked with an 'H' inside a diamond Logo. Upon Augustus' death in 1922, his son E.Wilson, trained as a chemist, introduced a cool line of colors into production: Hawthorne (pale lavender), Alexandrite (deeper lavender), Moongleam (light green), Steigel Blue (cobalt), Sahara (the first true yellow), Flamingo (pink), Zircon/Limelight (aqua), and Tangerine (orange/red).

Prices of Elegant Glass vary considerably depending on the Manufacturer and availability of a particular pattern. I recently came across a Heisey 'Empress' pattern serving plate in the Tangerine color, priced at $3,395.00.....Happy Hunting!

Colonial pattern (1907-1957), Puritan pattern (1905-1933), Medium Flat Panel pattern (1905-1929)

Priscilla pattern (1904-1929)

Pointed Oval and Diamond pattern (1896-1906)

Empress pattern - Sahara color (1930-1950), Crystolite pattern (1930-1957)

Victorian pattern (1933-1953)

Heisey Glass Patterns

1900 - 1920 Colonial Line introduced. Heavy, pressed glass with ribs, scallops, and pleats. Over half of Heisey's glass is derived from one of the Colonial patterns. Many molds were melted for the WW I war effort. Blown, Etched and Cut glass began in 1917. Candlesticks and candelabras introduced.

early 1900 Beaded Swag 1907-1932 Banded Flute
1899-1933 Peerless (first Colonial line) 1907-1957 Colonial
1903-1938 Puritan (Old Williamsburg) 1908-1935 Narrow Flute
1904-1929 Priscilla 1909-1924 Colonial Scalloped Top
1905-1929 Medium Flat Panel 1910-1935 Wide Flat Panel
1905-1933 Patrician 1912-1930 Greek Key
1907-1913 Queen Anne 1913-1957 Revere
1913-1957 Yeoman (Imperial Glass)

1920-1930 Table service patterns introduced. Blown, decorated, etched and cut elaborate designs. Colonial revival with color.

1920-1933 Phyllis 1923-1944 Rib and Panel
1930-1937 Mayflower 1925-1937 Pleat and Panel (first luncheon plate)
1922-1933 Sharon 1926-1935 Charter Oak
1928-1937 Twist (Art Deco)

1930-1940 Repeal of Prohibition (1933): drinking & smoking = glassware and ashtrays. Cool colors introduced: Sahara, Alexandrite - 1930, Steigel Blue, Tangerine - 1932, Zircon - 1936.

1930 Revere 1933-1935 Ipswich
1930 Tudor 1935-1936 Ribbed Octagon
1930-1957 Crystolite 1935-1944 Ridgeleigh
1931 Saturn 1937-1941 Fern
1930-1941 Carcassone 1938 Sunflower
1930-1950 Empress 1938-1950 Whirlpool
1931-1956 Old Sandwich 1939-1955 Minuet
1933-1941 Victorian 1950-1957 Provincial (Whirlpool)
1933-1952 Tally Ho 1950-1957 Queen Ann (Empress)

1940-1950 Etched and cut patterns coordinate with silver and china. Heisey animals introduced as seen on the movie, The Glass Menagerie starring Jane Wyman (1950).

1940-1952 Waverly (Oceanic) 1948-1957 Plantation Ivy
1940-1957 Orchid 1949-1957 Rose
1941-1957 Lariat 1950 - 1957 Thistle, Bee Hive

A. H. Heisey & Co. closed its doors in 1957, a victim of cheap imports and the preference towards china and crystal place settings. Yet, due to its remarkable quality and prolific numbers, Elegant Glass can still be had to grace your home with grand style and history.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eiffel Tower and Patriots Day

I recently returned from a glorious trip to London and Paris with some of my favorite people. La Tour Eiffel is certainly breathtaking, designed and constructed by the engineering firm of Gustav Eiffel, Eiffel et Cie, for the International Exhibition of Paris - 1889 World's Fair. It commemorates the Centenary of the French Revolution (the collapse of centuries of Monarch Rule) and was initially criticized by the French artistic community as a "truly tragic street lamp". At 1063' and 100 stories, it was the world's tallest building until 1930 when the Chrysler Building, NYC, surpassed it (1048' + 180' spire), followed shortly thereafter by the Empire State Building, NYC, (1250' + 222' spire). Construction took just 300 steel workers a little over two years to complete, with 1652 internal steps, 7,000 tons of steel, 18,000 pieces of wrought iron, and 2.5 million rivets! As a feat of engineering wonder, the tower sways up to 4.7" during the occasional 100 mph wind, as well as accommodates height fluctuations of up to 5.9" due to ambient temperature changes. This lovely steel beauty was almost torn down in 1909, but for the antenna and its importance to the military.

Every 7 years the Eiffel Tower is repainted with 40 tons of paint (a milk chocolate color known as 'Eiffel Tower Beige') in 3 tonal colors - darkest at the top - to accentuate its height. It is painted by hand, which takes two years to complete, and it is visited by millions annually, requiring 2 tons of paper tickets. The Tower is illuminated with energy-efficient sodium-discharge lamps producing the most lovely orangey yellow light and contributing spectacularly to La Ville-Lumiere - The City of Lights. (Paris earned this name in 1828 as the first European city to utilize gas lamps along the Champs De Elysees.) On a clear day 40 miles of panoramic views of Paris can be experienced making the Eiffel Tower a Parisian marvel not to be missed. Gustav Eiffel's firm, known today as Eiffel, still specializes in complex steel construction.

To add more interesting history to this story, it was Gustav Eiffel who engineered and built the framework for the Statue of Liberty in France and shipped it over to the U.S., piece by piece, for its unveiling in 1886. At that time, it too was the tallest structure in NYC, standing at 305'. Its French sculptor and designer - Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi - had this to say: "Everything in America is big....Here, even the peas are big." (It is funny that all the references to things being bigger and taller seem an important consideration to success....But is it really true?!..) The Statue of Liberty symbolizes our "sisterhood" with the French people, who provided arms, ships, money and men to the American colonies during their defeat of the British. About 100 years after the American Revolutionary War, a French intellectual, Edouard Renee de Laboulaye, who opposed Napoleon III's oppressive regime, discussed his admiration for America's success in establishing a democratic government and noted the "flow of sympathy" between France and America. He hatched the idea "to give the U.S. a great monument as a lasting memorial to independence and thereby show that the French government was also dedicated to the idea of human liberty." Today, the statue known as Lady Liberty stands tall as a "keeper of the flame of liberty...holding it high for the world to see." And so on this Patriot's Day, we commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord (the first Battles of the American Revolutionary War, 1775) which symbolize the turning point in the long struggle for Independence between the American Colonies and Britain. Let Freedom Reign!
( A most heartfelt thank you to Audrey for insisting the 3 hour wait - in line, with wind, without dinner - would be worth it. You were SO right!!!! And, a Happy Patriots Day Birthday to my Hubby!)

"To the sculptor, form is everything and is nothing. It is nothing without the spirit - with the idea it is everything." - Victor Hugo, 19th C poet & novelist - Les Miserables & The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Monday, April 12, 2010

D is for Depression Glass

Imperial Glass Co., Laced Edge "Katy Blue" pattern, early 1930's

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Beehive pattern, 1930's

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Colonial Block pattern, late 1920's - 1930's

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Ribbon pattern, 1930-1932

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., New Century pattern, 1930-35

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Newport "Hairpin" pattern, 1936-1941

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Aurora pattern, 1937-1938 & Anchor Hocking Glass Co., Manhattan pattern, 1939-1941

Indiana Glass Co., Old English "Threading", late 1920's, & Hocking Glass Co., Queen Mary, 1936-1940

Imperial Glass Co., Twisted Optic pattern, 1927-1930

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Starlight pattern, 1938-1940

Paden City or Jeanette Glass Co., Pattern unknown, early 1930's

Federal Glass Co., Colonial Fluted pattern, 1928 - 1933 & Hazel Atlas, Starlight pattern, 1938-1940

Federal Glass Co., Columbia pattern, 1938-1942

MacBeth-Evans Glass Co., American Sweetheart pattern, Monax (translucent white), 1930-1936

MacBeth-Evans Glass Co., Petal Ware pattern, (Monax and Cremax), 1930-1940

Jeanette Glass Co., Floral "Poinsettia" pattern, 1931-1935

Hazel Atlas Glass Co., Moderntone "Wedding Band" pattern, (sugar bowls-platonite green fired on color), 1934-1942
Manufacturer and Pattern unknown, Jadite simplycoolstuff box

Depression Glass is the quintessential Made in the U.S.A. product. It was distributed free, or at low cost, in the U.S. during the time of the Great Depression (1929 through the early 1940's). Food manufacturers like Quaker Oats, put a piece of glassware in their boxes as a Marketing Incentive and movie theaters and other businesses distributed pieces for free. Most of the glassware was made in Central and Midwestern U.S., where access to raw materials made manufacturing inexpensive. More than twenty Companies produced over 100 (!) Patterns in colors ranging from clear, pink, pale blue, green, amber, yellow, jadite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue), cobalt, red, black and white (milk) glass. In order to focus your efforts, decide which Pattern and Color grabs your fancy and GO FOR IT...The 1960's through the 1970's saw box loads of Depression Glass available at fairly low cost; not so today. Yet despite the relative scarcity of in-tact sets, beautiful items are still affordable and fairly easy to find. HAVE FUN!

The following is a list of Depression Glass Companies, each one containing a myriad of patterns and colors from which to choose from, all affordably priced :

Anchor Hocking (Jade-ite; Fire King) Indiana
Cambridge Jeanette (Jadite)
Diamond Glass-Ware Lancaster
Federal L.E. Smith
Fenton (Jadite; Carnival Glass) Mac-Beth Evans
Fostoria McKee (Jadite)
Fry New Martinsville
Hazel Atlas Paden City
Hocking Glass U.S. Glass
Imperial Glass Westmoreland

Monday, April 5, 2010

Downside Up

Pseudacris crucifer, Spring Peeper

Helleborus x. hybridus, Herronswood Double Mix Hellebore

Helleborus orientalis, Lenten Rose

Mertensia virginica, Virginia Bluebells

Anemonella thalictroides, Rue Anemone

Lathyrus vernus, Spring Bush Pea

Tulipa greigii 'Albion Star', Species Tulip

Chionodoxa forbesii, Glory of the Snow

Scilla sibirica, Siberian Squill

St. James Park, London, abloom in crocus

Cornus officinalis, Japanese Cornel Dogwood

Fenway Park, Boston

Today feels like a Downside Up and Outside In kind of day....One of those days whereby anything attempted seems out of order and not quite right. Here in New England we have been deluged with rain, teased with summer-like temperatures, and dropped back into the bellows of cold. Yet despite the schizophrenic effects of it all, the promise of this vernal season is fulfilled. Even Opening Day for the Red Sox was a triumph over the Yankees - GO SOX!!!!
Enjoy these harbingers of Spring, all displaying their loveliness IN THE MOMENT...right now.

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