Carnival and Opalescent Glass Doubles
Northwood Leaf & Beads Rose Bowls
photos courtesy of ralphieroseantiques and dontuloveit
If you're a carnival glass collector, every now and then you must run into an eye-catching piece of old pressed opalescent glass whose pattern you recognize, but which you can't categorize as carnival because it lacks iridescence. This occurs because several manufacturers of carnival glass produced non-iridized opalescent glass around the turn of the century; accordingly, pressed opalescent glass designs often supplied patterns for later and contemporaneous carnival glass pieces. This is especially apparent in the case of vases, where the list of twins in carnival and opalescent glass includes more than twenty patterns.
I've always thought that a great idea for a carnival glass collection would be a collection of doubles -- in which each piece of carnival stood side-by-side with an unusually fine opalescent glass twin of the same pattern. Somehow, I've never got around to this, but maybe one of you out there will. Exquisite early opalescent glass from Dugan-Diamond, Fenton, Imperial and Northwood abounds. It's our object in this guide to provide just a few examples of such glass doubles for the pleasure of carnival and opalescent glass lovers and collectors. This guide has been made possible only through the collective effort of the many E-bayers who generously contributed photographs to this project. The guide thus has come to serve as a testament to the power of E-bayers to gather and assemble information -- photos have arrived from all over the United States, and from as far away as Australia. The guide also evidences the volume and quality of opalescent and carnival glass that flows through E-bay every year.
The world of carnival glass is a highly documented one. Thanks to David Doty's website, any E-bay buyer, no matter how new to carnival, can ascertain easily the fair market value of any American carnival piece. The many well-known writers on carnival glass -- Doty, Hartung, Schroy, Thistlewood, Carwile and Edwards, to name but a few -- have been meticulous in recording which carnival glass patterns have been reissued, forged and reproduced, so that verifying the age of any given specimen of old iridescent glass is usually possible. Early opalescent glass is trickier: no David Doty has nailed down every opalescent pressed-glass pattern on a comprehensive website, and there are many contemporary opalescent pieces out there that mimic the early ones. (New opalescent vases abound.) I confess, though, that one of the things I like about opalescent glass is that it still lies in that murky realm where seedy reproductions rub shoulders with fine originals, so that many pieces are still puzzling and mysterious. Collecting turn-of-the-century American opalescent glass thus can be a real adventure, and because old opalescent specimens still tend generally to be less pricey than their carnival glass counterparts, the risks of the adventure are usually well worthwhile.
E-bay guides are limited to 10 pictures; therefore, this guide has several parts. Part I focuses on spectacular examples of Northwood opalescent and carnival doubles. Parts II, III and IV provide information on Northwood, Dugan and Fenton opalescent vases with carnival glass twins. Part V is about carnival Ripple vases and their opalescent precursors made by the Imperial and Model Flint glass companies.
Part I: Sensational Doubles from the Northwood Glass Company
In 1902, after several failed attempts to establish an enduring glassworks, Harry Northwood founded H. Northwood & Co. in Wheeling, West Virginia. According to Carl O. Burns in Northwood Carnival Glass 1908-1925 (p. 9), during the next six years the company produced "a dazzling variety of glass" that included opalescent pieces in a broad range of patterns. In 1908, Northwood began carnival glass production, right on the heels of the Fenton Art Glass Company, which had issued the first carnival glass in 1907.
Many carnival glass collectors would be surprised by the long list of well-known Northwood carnival patterns that were copied from older opalescent glass patterns. These include Acorn Burrs, Beaded Cable, Bushel Basket, Daisy & Drape, Dandelion, Grape & Cherry, Greek Key and Scales, Hearts and Flowers, Interior Poinsettia, Lattice and Poinsettia (Poinsettia Lattice), Lustre Flute, Maple Leaf, Paneled Holly, Peacocks on a Fence, Poppy, Rose Show, Simple Simon, Singing Birds, Swirl, Three Fruits, Three Fruits Medallion, Waterlily, Wide Panels and an array of vase patterns noted in Part II. Northwood also purchased molds from the Jefferson Glass company that had been used earlier to make opalescent glass patterns: Fine Cut & Roses, Meander, Ruffles & Rings and Vintage. Northwood later issued Fine Cut & Roses on carnival glass nut and rose bowls, while the other three Jefferson patterns became hallmark Northwood carnival glass back patterns.
Details of Center Patterns in Northwood Opalescent and Carnival Three Fruits Bowls
photos courtesy of E-bayers scott0228 and scaredy_cat_ 2003
Northwood's Three Fruits. The Three Fruits pattern features a leaf design interwoven with peaches, pears and cherries grouped around a trio of cherries. Three Fruits is a lovely pattern on opalescent bowls, where the three central cherries appear well-defined and translucent, while the bowls' edges look slightly frosted. The sky-blue opalescent bowl shown above and below left is referenced in the Standard Encyclopedia of Opalescent Glass, 6th ed., p. 150. According to the SEOG, Three Fruits was issued in opalescent glass in "limited amounts" in 1907, in white and blue bowls only. William Heacock recorded in Opalescent Glass from A-Z, p. 110, that he believed green bowls also existed in this pattern. Whichever authority proves right, Three Fruits is considered scarce in opalescent glass and is a good find in any opalescent color. Three Fruits opalescent bowls bear the Thin Rib pattern on their exteriors, and should not be confused with the related pattern, Three Fruits with Meander (called Three Fruits Medallion in carnival). Three Fruits with Meander is more common; it too was issued in blue and white, but bears the Meander pattern on the back.
carnival version: Northwood re-issued the Three Fruits pattern (shown above and below, right) in carnival in 1915 and 1916. The carnival pattern is found on stippled and unstippled bowls and plates, in more than twenty colors and with varied edge treatments and bases. Its beauty and variety make it a favorite among collectors. Stippled pieces are the more valuable. Aqua opal, clambroth, horehound, lime green, smoke and teal are rare and especially prized colors in carnival glass bowls and plates bearing this pattern. According to Doty's field guide, plates and bowls sometimes show wear on the fruits, and buyers should check for this before purchase. Even in the more common colors, however, iridescence on Three Fruits carnival bowls and plates is often spectacular.
Three Fruits Bowls in Blue Opalescent and Cobalt Blue Carnival
photos courtesy of scott0228 and scaredy_cat_2003
Northwood's Leaf & Beads. A series of Northwood opalescent and carnival rose bowl pairs would make a fine collection, as is evident from the stunning photographs of the two sets of rose bowls featured in this guide. The first of these is the striking pair of rose bowls shown at the very top of this page. These feature Northwood's Leaf & Beads pattern. The opalescent rose bowl at top left is a translucent blue with a milk-blue leafed edge and transparent blue feet. Referenced in the Standard Encyclopedia of Opalescent Glass, 6th ed., at. p. 91, Leaf & Beads was issued in 1905 on opalescent twig-footed rose bowls, and in 1906 on a variant with a dome base. A rose bowl identical to the blue rosebowl shown at page top was featured in a 1906 Lyon Brother's catalog advertisement of Northwood's "Venetian Assortment" -- the catalog page can be viewed in William Heacock's Harry Northwood: The Wheeling Years 1901-1925, p. 33. Northwood also issued the pattern in opalescent glass on whimseyed rose bowls and on ruffled and open candy bowls that are frequently seen on E-bay. Both rose and candy bowls appear, in order of highest value first, in blue, green and white opalescent.
carnival version: Northwood's beautiful Leaf & Beads aqua opal rose bowls, such as the right-hand piece featured at the top of this page, are a carnival glass favorite. According to Burns' Northwood Carnival Glass 1908-1925, carnival glass production of this pattern began in 1908-1909 and resurfaced again in 1919-1920. The Leaf & Beads pattern appears in carnival on twig-footed rose bowls, dome- and twig-footed nut bowls, plates flattened from nut bowls, and tri-corner ruffled bowls. The rose bowls appear with varying edge treatments and interiors; sunflower interiors, smooth edges and extremely rare beaded edges add to the pieces' value. Leaf & Beads rose bowls also come in a vast array of colors -- David Doty's website records at least twenty-one, with ice-green and lime-green opal being the rarest and most valuable. The rose bowl shown at page top, right, features the rich butterscotch iridescence found on many aqua opal samples. Carnival nut bowls are less common than rose bowls in this pattern; they appear in marigold, amethyst, green, blue, white and aqua opal.
Beaded Cable Rose Bowls in Green Opalescent and Aqua Opal Carnival
photos courtesy of plk4000 and apacherille
Beaded Cable. Carl O. Burns relates in Northwood Carnival Glass 1908-1925, p. 29, that Northwood first issued Beaded Cable in purple slag glass in 1903. Three years later, Northwood issued the pattern in opalescent glass. Beaded cable is referenced on p. 19 of the Standard Encyclopedia of Opalescent Glass, 6th ed. The pattern is found on opalescent card receivers, open bowls and rose bowls. Rose bowls may have top edges that fold inward or, as shown above left, straight-up, crimped edges. The early opalescent rose bowls appear more whimsical and lighthearted than their carnival counterparts. The former's feet are smaller, giving the opalescent rose bowls a less ponderous appearance. The opalescent rose bowls tend to show milky opalescence at the top ruffles, and to be transparent toward the base, and this combination sets off the Beaded Cable pattern's elegant simplicity to great effect. Beaded Cable appears in opalescent blue, canary, green and white: blue is the most valuable, followed by canary and green, and then white. Pieces may have a plain or rayed interior, and are more valuable with the interior pattern. A rose bowl identical to the one shown above, with crimped edges, is featured in a 1906 Butler Brothers wholesale catalog, which can be found at p. 32 of William Heacock's Harry Northwood: The Wheeling Years 1901-1925.
carnival version: Beaded Cable first appeared in carnival in 1909, and continued for at least three more years -- the pattern is displayed on a page of a 1912 Butler Brothers wholesale catalog featured in Burns' Northwood Carnival Glass 1908-1925. The only carnival shapes in this pattern are a rosebowl and a three-footed candy dish fashioned from the same mold as the rose bowl. Pieces may have a plain or rayed interior, like the opalescent bowls, and are also more valuable with the interior pattern. Rose bowls may have folded in edges as shown above, or straight-up edges. David Doty has recorded Beaded Cable rose bowls in twenty iridescent colors. The most common colors are marigold, amethyst, green and blue, and the rarest and most valuable ice blue, ice green, peach opal and ice-yellow vaseline; one example of a damaged sapphire rose bowl is known. Like the aqua opal Leaf & Beads rose bowl at page top, the Beaded Cable piece shown above right exhibits the butterscotch iridescence found on many Northwood aqua opal samples.
Waterlily Tumblers in Blue Opalescent and Marigold Carnival
photos by alittlegilt and jdlcat
Northwood's Waterliliy and Cattails. A number of opalescent tumblers were issued by major glassworks in the early 1900's in a striking blue bordering on what carnival glass collectors call "celeste". Among these were Dugan's blue S-Repeat tumblers and Northwood's Waterlily and Cattails. Such tumblers, paired with their carnival counterparts, would make an eye-catching collection. Northwood produced a variety of opalescent tumblers in the early 1900's in patterns now well-known to carnival glass collectors: among these were blue and vaseline tumblers in its Swirl pattern; blue, green and white tumblers in the Interior Poinsettia pattern; and blue and white Drapery tumblers. All of these have their carnival glass counterparts, although Drapery carnival glass tumblers are extremely rare.
More commonly seen is Northwood's 1905 Waterlily & Cattails tumbler, shown above left, which is referenced in the Standard Encyclopedia of Opalescent Glass, 6th ed., p. 158. The SEOG notes that no Northwood matching pitchers have survived, and thus these tumblers are the only known examples of this early Northwood opalescent pattern. The tumblers tend to have a deeply-colored transparent base and milky top edge; the sides are translucent to transparent, showing off the Waterlily & Cattails pattern well. These pieces are quite striking and consistently sell well on E-Bay. Note: This pattern was made by Fenton as well as Northwood in opalescent glass -- however, while Fenton produced opalescent Waterlily & Cattails in a wide variety of shapes and in several colors, Northwood issued only a blue water set. Northwood's blue tumblers are distinguishable from Fenton's because the latter have a basketweave pattern just above the base. Northwood's have short vertical lines. (These are small and are rarely visible in E-Bay photographs).
carnival version: According to Carl O. Burns in Northwood Carnival Glass 1908-1925, p. 141, Northwood issued its carnival version of Waterlily and Cattails tumblers and pitchers in 1909. Northwood's carnival tumblers are usually seen in marigold. Rare cobalt blue tumblers exist, which frequently have a name and date etched around the top band, with names and dates varying among tumblers. Both Dugan and Fenton made marigold tumblers as well, but again Northwood's can be distinguished by the short, vertical lines around the base; Dugan's have no pattern and Fenton's have the basketweave.
Some of the the most striking pairs of opalescent and carnival twins are vases made in the same pattern in both kinds of glass. Parts II - V of our guide feature such opalescent-carnival vase doubles from Northwood, Dugan, Fenton, Imperial and Model Flint. To go to Part II, click here: Carnival & Opalescent Glass Twins 2 - Northwood Vases.
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Guide Table of Contents
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Many thanks to E-Bayers alittlegilt, apacherille, dontuloveit, jdlcat, plk4000, ralphieroseantiques, scaredy_cat_2003 and scott0228 for generously contributing photographs to Part I of this guide. Rights to all photos belong to the photographers, and pictures should not be used without their permission. Text is (c) 2007, 2009 curculiosglass, all rights reserved. To locate any E-Bay seller mentioned here, just click on "Site Map" at the bottom of your E-Bay screen, and then click on "Feedback Forum" at the right top corner of the large menu that pops up. Type or copy the seller's name into the Feedback Forum's search blank. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK ON THIS GUIDE BY PRESSING THE BUTTON BELOW! To see all of our guides on opalescent & carnival glass, go to GUIDE INDEX.