Ribbed Spiral Vase - Ring Optic Vase - Opalescent Vase - Model Flint Vase
ID GUIDE, Part 5:
MISCELLANEOUS OPALESCENT VASES (1898-1912):
Vases with Rings and Spirals
A blue opalescent Model Flint Ribbed Spiral Vase
photos by i_deal_it (left) and curculiosglass
This is Part 5 of a seven-part reference guide to American pressed-glass opalescent vases manufactured at end of the Victorian Era, around the turn of the century (1898-1912). Part 1 and Part 2 show vases with drapery and honeycomb patterns, and Part 3 and Part 4 feature ribbed and paneled vases. This section shows vases with ring or spiral patterns: Model Flint's Ribbed Spiral vase; and Fenton's Ring Optic vase. Part 6 shows vases with unique patterns, and Part 7 shows early vaseline-opalescent vases of unknown origin.
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Photographic Gallery of Opalescent Vases
Model Flint's Ribbed Spiral vase, circa 1902,
with detail showing concentric circles on underside of base
photos by curculiosglass
Ribbed Spiral vases were made by the Model Flint Glass Company of Albany, Indiana between 1900 and 1902. The pattern features ascending concentric rings that seem to spiral up the vase; the rings are crossed by vertical lines that run from the vase's rim to its base. The vases narrow slighly in the middle and widen into somewhat flared, ruffled mouths. The best way to identify these vases is to check the underside of the base; as shown above, right, the base of a Ribbed Spiral vase has a distinctive pattern of concentric circles.
Ribbed Spiral Vase.
Ribbed Spiral vases appear in clear glass, as well as in "flint" (white), blue and "canary" (yellow) opalescent. Canary Ribbed Spiral vases glow bright green under a black light, because Model Flint used uranium to achieve the yellow coloring. ("Canary" glass is the early name given to what is now called "vaseline" glass.) Opalescence on both the white and colored vases is concentrated most heavily near the rims, and the vases' bases tend to be transparent clear, blue or yellow glass. Ribbed Spiral show spectacular fiery-red opalescence when held to light, as shown below:
Photo showing fiery opalescence
of a Ribbed Spiral vase when held up to light
photo by i_deal_it
All Ribbed Spiral vases have bases measuring 3 5/8" in diameter, but the vases vary greatly in height and appear in three sizes: mini or "squat" vases measuring 4 1/2" to 7"; standard vases ranging from 8" to 14"; and tall or "funeral" vases, measuring from 15" to 21". Funeral vases, which sometimes fetch high prices, tend to be stretched to a very tall, thin shape such as that shown below.
A canary opalescent Ribbed Spiral vase,
stretched to a narrow 15" size; with detail of interior view.
photos by unclechamps
The Ribbed Spiral pattern is referenced in the sixth edition of the Standard Encyclopedia of Opalescent Glass, 6th ed., at p. 124. (A Ribbed Spiral vase appears in the fifth edition of the SEOG, [p. 131], which also notes that the vases come in mini, standard and tall sizes.)
Ribbed Spiral vases are a precursor of the widely collected Imperial Ripple vase and often appear on E-bay mislabeled as Ripple vases. More extensive information on Model Flint and additional photographs of Ribbed Spiral and Ripple vases can be found in our E-Bay guide on Ripple vases. A true opalescent Imperial Ripple vase is shown farther down in this guide.
One last note: The A.H. Heisey & Co. glass works of Newark, Ohio, issued a pattern called Plaid more or less contemporaneously with the first Ribbed Spiral vases, from approximately 1897 to 1905 (see Shirley Dunbar, Heisey Glass - The Early Years: 1896-1924 [Krause Pub. 2000], pp. 88, 90, 130, 144). It is difficult to determine whether Model Flint's Ribbed Spiral influenced Heisey's Plaid, or whether the reverse is true. Dunbar traces Heisey's Plaid pattern to early Sanford design gas lamps made between 1896 and 1897. Heisey's Plaid pattern consisted of criss-crossing vertical lines and stacked grooves, and was quite similar to Model Flint's Ribbed Spiral, although the Heisey vases lacked the concentric rings pattern on the base. Heisey issued Plaid swung vases between 1897 and 1905, which stood 18" tall with 5 1/2" bases. The vases appeared in clear emerald-green glass, and in a treatment of combined Ivorina verde and canary glass.
photos by goobiedog-antiques
Ring Optic Cameo Opalescent Swung Vase. This pretty vase is of later vintage than other vases covered in this guide, but is nevertheless worth mentioning. Fenton's opalescent Ring Optic vase features a wide spiral of opalescence encircling a beige / light brown body. The vase narrows slightly in the middle and widens at the mouth. The piece shown here is 14" high with a 3 3/4" base, and the base is smooth, without an impressed logo or pattern. The vase's coloring is singular -- the Ring Optic vase is the only early opalescent vase we know of that is found in Cameo Opalescent. A January 27, 1927 Pottery, Glass & Brass Salesman described Fenton's Cameo's Opalescent glassware as follows: "The almost silky appearance of the translucent portion, which invariably is the edge, is strikingly in harmonious contrast with the transparent part which constitutes the body."
Fenton's Ring Optic vase often appears on E-Bay misidentified as an Imperial Ripple vase, although even on cursory inspection the two vase patterns are quite different. As noted above, multiple photographs of Ripple vases can be found in our guide on Ripple vases, but a Ripple vase is shown below, right, for easy comparison:
Fenton's Cameo Opalescent Ring Optic vase (left)
with an opalescent Imperial Ripple vase (right)
photos by shoepassion (left) and curculiosglass
David Doty notes at his website that collectors assigned the name "Ring Optic" to the Fenton vase (ddoty.com/ringopticvase.html). Fenton originally issued the vase only as a numbered, nameless pattern known as #1530, #1531 and #1631 (for 12", 16" and 13" sizes respectively). Margaret & Kenn Whitmyer's Fenton Art Glass 1907-1939, 2nd ed. (pp. 172-173), records that Fenton issued the vases in 12" and 16" vases in 1926-1927. Thirteen-inch vases are documented in William Heacock's Fenton Glass: The First Twenty-Five Years, at p. 72 & 138. Between 1921 and the mid-1930's, Fenton produced the ring optic pattern in several stretch-glass colors and in jade green as well. Photographs of a Ring Optic vaseline stretch-glass vase may be viewed in our guide on Fenton's Topaz stretch glass.
Click here to continue on to Part 6. To access other parts of this guide, click on ones of the links below.
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Table of Contents - Opalescent Vases (1898-1930)
Part 1: Jewels & Drapery vases
Part 2: Vases with honeycomb patterns
Part 3: Ribbed vases
Part 4: Vases with panels
Part 5: Vases with ring and spiral patterns
Part 6: Basketweave and Little Nell vases
Part 7: Vases with maze patterns
Part 8: Canary opalescent vases of unknown origin
Other ID Guides to Early Opalescent Vases (1898-1930)
Jefferson Glass Co. Opalescent Vases
Opalescent Vases with Carnival Twins
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Many thanks to E-bayers i_deal_it, goobiedog-antiques, shoepassion and unclechamps, for contributing photographs to this part of our 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 FEEDBACK ON THIS GUIDE BY PRESSING THE BUTTON BELOW.