Monday, February 18, 2013

I is for Imperial Glass

Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, Ohio, was founded in 1901 by Edward Muhleman. The original factory manufactured jelly jars, lamp shades and imitation cut glass known as near cut. In 1911 and 1912 Imperial introduced its Nucut and Nuart lines imitating cut glass and Tiffany art glass respectively. Many of its products were distributed through F.W. Woolworth Co. until Imperial took a huge leap producing a type of art glass known as Carnival Glass that out shined its competitors.  Rubigold (also known as Marigold) became its most popular seller until it was discontinued in the late 1920s. Imperial's carnival glass had a higher quality to its iridescence due to the addition of metallic oxides. The company was considered one of the largest glass factories 'under one roof', with its well known Candlewick series catapulting it to popularity from 1936 through 1966. It is also considered one of the fourteen premiere Elegant Glass Companies that existed in the United States from 1920 through the 1950's producing high quality glassware with clear finishes, ground and polished bases, and vibrant colorations. As was the fate of many such American companies at that time, a faltering economy coupled with stiff competition from abroad during the early 1970's brought production to an end.  Imperial Glass became a subsidiary of Lenox until it was sold to investor Robert Stahl before going out of business in 1984.

In the course of its 83 years Imperial Glass Company produced more than 700 decorative pieces of glassware, gracing our homes with patterns such as Lace Edge Katy Blue (1930's), Candlewick (1936-1966), Diamond Point (1875-1925), Beaded Block (1930), Twisted Optic (1927-1930), and Crocheted (1943-1950) to name a few.  Since not all pieces are marked, it can be a challenge to identify authentic pieces of Imperial Glass.  It is what makes the hunt all the more fun!

 Diamond Point Pattern

 Twisted Optic Pattern

 Crocheted Pattern

Lace Edged Katy Blue Pattern

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