March 26, 2015

Impeccable Tableware Craftsmanship

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Antique-Emerald by Cris d'Arques/Durand is a beautiful pressed glass pattern featuring an exquisite design of arches and ornate, decorative cutting. The intricate and elegant design of Antique-Emerald perfectly complements the bowl design of the accompanying Wexford-Clear glassware and the linear handle design of Crescendo flatware. Antique-Emerald is produced by J.G. Durand, which is the world's largest manufacturer of lead crystal. Cris d'Arques is a Durand line made in the city of Arques, France. As a French company, J.G. Durand is known for exhibiting great national pride via the expression of the grand architectural and artistic heritage of France. For that reason, many Cris d'Arques patterns, like Tuilleries/Villandry and Versailles, are named after castles and chateaus throughout the country.

Produced for over 30 years, from 1967 to 1998, Anchor Hocking Wexford-Clear is clear pressed glass with crisscross cuts, a multisided stem, and round foot with a starburst cut design. The Hocking Glass Company was formed in 1905 in Lancaster, Ohio, and originally produced glass lamp chimneys. As the company expanded, production grew to include a variety of glassware, both plain and decorated, for commercial and home use. In 1928, Hocking Glass was the first company to produce automatic pressed tableware, and became one of the first companies to introduce lines of brightly-colored tableware. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Hocking Glass acquired other glass companies, including the Lancaster Glass Company, the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company, the General Glass Corporation, and many others, before itself being acquired by Anchor Cap Corporation in 1937. Expansion of the Anchor Hocking company continued as new factories were added in Pennsylvania and Texas and a number of other glass companies were acquired, each adding manufacturing innovations and a diverse collection of product lines to the company's portfolio. Today, Anchor Hocking remains a leader in the production of industrial and consumer products.

Reed & Barton's Crescendo is a gorgeous stainless pattern that features a chic ribbed design and a glossy finish. Crescendo is emblematic of its maker, Reed & Barton of Taunton, MA, a company that traces its origins to a jewelry store founded by Isaac Babbitt in 1822. After changes in ownership, the company began to use the "Reed & Barton" stamp on its silver in the 1840s. One of Reed & Barton's best-known patterns is Francis I. Introduced in 1907, Francis I quickly became a favorite of nobility and presidents. No less than four U.S. presidents dined with Francis I - Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Gerald Ford. In more recent years, the company has also been recognized for its high-quality stainless steel patterns, like the Crescendo pattern featured here.

March 24, 2015

Superlative English and American Artistry

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Donovan Bird by Minton features an asymmetrical, exotic floral and bird design, elegantly accented by dazzling gold trim. The floral elements and design of Donovan Bird work beautifully with the graceful Marcella crystal and exquisite Chateau Rose patterns. Minton is one of England's oldest china makers. The company was founded in 1793 at Stoke-on-Trent, in the heart of England's Staffordshire china-producing region, by Thomas Minton, William Pownall, and Joseph Poulson. Along with the rise of the middle class in nineteenth-century industrial England - with greater attention to household finery and more discretionary income - came the rise of Minton. The company introduced patterns and manufacturing processes that made their high-quality china more attractive and affordable to the English middle class. They continue producing luxurious dinnerware and remain leaders in the market of tableware production and design. Replacements, Ltd. carries a number of Minton's patterns, including Haddon Hall (their most popular pattern), Bellemeade, Ancestral, and Jasmine.

Hawkes Marcella is lovely blown glass with a convex bowl, wafered stem, and round foot with a cut design. A graceful leaf and floral design is delicately rendered with polished cuts near the top of the bowl. The balance between design and size is wonderful! Marcella pieces are weighty, yet complemented by a design that is stately and light. The maker, T. G. Hawkes & Co., established in 1880 as The Hawkes Rich Cut Glass Works in Corning, NY, in its heyday epitomized the finest in cut glass production, creating more than 300 beautifully cut and engraved stemware patterns and other pieces. During its 82 years in business, T. G. Hawkes & Co. designed cut glass services for members of royalty and at least two U.S. Presidents. Hawkes pieces are highly prized by collectors.

Produced from 1940 to 1991, Chateau Rose by Alvin Silver is an exquisite pattern that features a scalloped tip, a glossy finish, and an elaborate floral design presented in crisp detail. With its elegant ornamentation, Chateau Rose is a gorgeous sterling pattern! Alvin Silver was founded in 1886 in New Jersey. One of their first successes was developing a process for depositing pure silver on metallic and non-metallic items like umbrella and cane handles. Another cutting-edge product line included glass items with silver inlays, a design technique subsequently referred to as "Alvin Ornamentation." The company's innovative products were so popular that Alvin had to expand within two years of its formation. In 1908, Alvin bought Simons Brothers and Peter Krider Company silver dies and molds, and also began making electroplated flatware. In 1928, Alvin was bought by Gorham Silver, but retained the Alvin Silver name. Alvin continued operating as a subsidiary of Gorham until Gorham stopped production of Alvin patterns in 1985. Today, Alvin Silver is best remembered for its Raphael, Bridal Rose, Viking, and Fleur de Lis patterns, and there is a continued interest in Alvin silver products among collectors.

March 19, 2015

Flowers for Spring

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A gently scalloped edge with green trim enhances the pink peony and blue and yellow floral designs of Royal Doulton Floradora Green.  The pattern beautifully represents the production excellence associated with the company. Founded as Doulton and Watts in Lambeth, England, in 1815, the company produced both industrial and household ceramics.  John Doulton’s sons, who had joined their father in the business, eventually formed companies of their own.  But turmoil in the British financial markets forced the businesses to dissolve.  In 1853 they reformed as Doulton and Co.  (In 1901, King Edward VII conferred a Royal Warrant upon Doulton and Co. to honor the company’s production of ceramic vessels that successfully filtered pollutants from the water of the Thames River, London’s primary source for drinking water.)

Rogaska Country Gardens crystal features exquisite floral designs and panels cut into the bowl, a multi-sided stem with ball and wafer elements, and starburst cuts on the round foot – this is a gorgeous pattern!  Rogaska was founded in 1665 in the mountains of Slovenia, a region long recognized for its glass making.  While Rogaska uses modern technologies and processes, the heart of the company’s production has been constant since the seventeenth century – the individual glassblower and glass cutter, devoted to the aesthetics of their work.  With generations of skilled artisans in its employ and world-class crystal designers creating new wares, Rogaska is admired in the crystal industry for unwavering quality and magnificent design.

Delicate scroll and floral designs accent the scallop-shaped handles of Irving, sterling produced by Wallace Silver in 1900. Typical of turn-of-the-century sterling, Irving includes blunt-shaped dinner knives with bolsters. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had emigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace purchased a dilapidated grist mill after mastering his trade, and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Irving is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver’s high-quality work.

March 17, 2015

Exquisite American & European Tableware Design

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Pembroke-Gold Trim by John Aynsley & Sons features a sprawling, brilliantly colored floral motif based on an Asian-inspired, 18th-century Aynsley design. Aynsley China is one of the most influential companies in the British tableware industry, producing iconic designs like Wild Tudor, Cottage Garden, and the Pembroke pattern featured here. The company was founded in 1775, when John Aynsley, chairman of a local coal mine in Stoke-on-Trent, England (and a passionate collector of pottery, tableware, and ornamental pieces), decided to open a pottery business. Using local Staffordshire clay and elaborate designs created from his own engravings, he founded a business that quickly prospered.  The firm was carried on by his son, James, but it was Aynsley's grandson, John II, who would take the company to great heights. John II changed the company's focus from producing pottery to making fine bone china. Using a special formula, Aynsley produced bone china that was exceptionally strong, translucent, and white in color. As the Aynsley reputation for creating fine china grew, Queen Victoria herself took notice.  She commissioned Aynsley to produce a set of ornate tableware for her personal use. Having a commission from Her Majesty enabled Aynsley to use the royal family seal in its logo, affirming the company's reputation, and its place in dinnerware history.

Triomphe is an alluring crystal pattern whose inspiration was drawn from the couture creations of the renowned designer Christian Dior. Christian Dior burst on the design scene in 1946, when he opened The House of Dior in Paris, France. Assisted by the financial backing of Marcel Boussac, Dior designed and introduced his first clothing collection in 1947. The line was appropriately titled "New Look" and featured rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, and full length skirts. In spite of the criticism surrounding his earliest work, demand for Dior designs grew quickly throughout the world. As Dior's popularity increased, he earned the title "The World's Dictator of Fashion." In 1953, Dior took Yves Saint Laurent as his protege.  Upon Dior's death in 1957, Yves Saint Laurent took over as head of the House of Dior. In a little more than a decade, Christian Dior became the most popular fashion designer of the 20th century, with designs gracing royalty and stars alike. Today, the House of Dior remains one of the most popular design houses in the world. Our featured crystal pattern this week, Triomphe, is a glorious example of tableware inspired by Christian Dior's design talent.

A scalloped tip and a delicate, graceful shape make up the beautiful design of Grand Colonial sterling, first produced by Wallace Silver in 1942. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had emigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace purchased a dilapidated grist mill after mastering his trade, and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Grand Colonial is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver's high-quality work.

March 13, 2015

Masterful Tableware Artistry

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The Traditions Series pattern by Spode China comprises a variety of traditional scenes, each in an attractive blue and white color motif. The collection includes such designs as Milkmaid, Castle, Greek, and our featured design this week, Caramanian (first produced in 1809), among others. The scene on this plate is based on artwork by Italian-German artist Luigi Mayer titled, "Sarcophagi and Sepulchres at the Head of the Harbor at Cacamo." ("Caramania" or "Karamania" was the Italian name for a province in southern Turkey; Cacamo was the name for a coastal city in this province.) The opening of Josiah Spode's porcelain factory in the latter part of the seventeenth century coincided with a number of advancements in art and science. The well-to-do industrialists of the time (like Josiah Spode and his family) pursued a variety of fashionable hobbies, including an interest in art. Starting in the early eighteenth century, traditional oriental designs in English pottery were joined by elaborate designs like the one seen in the Spode Caramanian pattern. This was made possible, in part, due to advancements in pottery manufacturing. Spode's formula for bone china and the process for 'under glaze' printing for earthenware (both breakthroughs in tableware history) made Spode china beautifully suited to these more intricate, artistic designs. Today, Spode patterns are used on the tables of royalty, dignitaries, and ordinary families alike. Because of their technical innovations and a continued commitment to excellence in design, the Spode name has become synonymous with quality tableware worldwide.

Dynasty by Wedgwood Crystal is a heavy lead crystal pattern that features a wide flared bowl with a decorative band and elongated vertical "panels." The decorative band is cut above the panels and is accentuated with a horizontal oval motif. A long, multisided stem rests on an elegant round foot. In 1759, Josiah Wedgwood established a pottery at the "Ivy House Works" in Burslem, England. During the company's first ten years, Wedgwood made many advances in the refining of porcelain. One of Wedgwood's most important creations was creamware, true fine china that was easy to produce, relatively inexpensive to make, easily decorated, and desired by royalty and commoner alike. In 1765, King George III's wife, Queen Charlotte, solicited Wedgwood to be "Potter to His and Her Majesty." As a result of his new title, Wedgwood changed the official name of his creamware to "Queen's Ware." Jasperware, a non-glazed porcelain featuring classical figures in bas-relief, was another important invention of Wedgwood's, and has become virtually synonymous with the Wedgwood name.

Murray Hill by Lenox Flatware is an 18/10 stainless steel pattern featuring a glossy finish and a bold geometric motif that perfectly complements the Traditions Series china and Dynasty crystal. Lenox China is a great American success story. It was founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox as "The Lenox Ceramic Pottery Company." Born in 1859, Lenox was named for the nineteenth-century Scottish writer, Sir Walter Scott. Lenox grew up in Trenton, NJ, the "Staffordshire of America" of its time. With excellent transportation and good sources of fuel and clay, the state capital of New Jersey became the nation's leading center for ceramics production. Lenox first organized his company as an art studio, producing one-of-a-kind pieces for a select market. By 1897, examples of the company's work were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and by 1906 the company was producing complete sets of dinnerware. In 1918, President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson commissioned a set of Lenox for the White House, making it the first American china to grace a U.S. president's table. Lenox added hand-blown lead crystal to its product lines in 1966, and, with the addition of Lenox silver flatware in 1991, Lenox became the first American company to offer the complete tabletop. By the end of the twentieth century, about half the china on dinner tables in the United States was made by Lenox.

February 19, 2015

Ornate Design, American Craftsmanship

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The Ming-Birds pattern is a gorgeous representation of Lenox China's exquisite artistry. This fine bone china, produced from 1917 to 1963, features gold trim and a spectacular, multicolor scroll design around the rim of the plate interspersed with scenes of two colorful birds. The center design showcases an exotic flowering tree and flitting butterflies. Founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox in Trenton, NJ, the "Staffordshire of America" of its time, the Lenox Ceramic Pottery Company produced art-quality pieces. By 1897 examples of Lenox's work were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  In 1918, President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson commissioned a set of Lenox for the White House, making it the first American china to grace a U.S. president's table. The Wilson Service was designed by Frank Graham Holmes, chief designer for Lenox from 1905 to 1954, who also designed the Ming-Birds pattern featured here. During this tenure with Lenox he collected numerous awards, including the Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the silver medal of the American Designers Institute. In 1928, he became the first and only American to have his porcelain designs displayed by the National Museum of Ceramics in Sevres, France. According to Lenox literature, Holmes "possessed a remarkable ability to blend contemporary style with timeless 'good taste.'"

Minton by Tiffin/Franciscan was produced from 1960 to 1973, and is a stunningly beautiful crystal pattern. The design of Minton features a convex bowl that flares at the top, a knobbed, multi-sided air-bubble stem with an hourglass shape, and a round, clear foot. The upper half of the non-optic bowl is adorned with a gold encrusted band with an ornate floral design. The Tiffin Glass Company was founded in 1888, when the A.J. Beatty & Sons Glass Factory in Steubenville, Ohio, announced that it would be moving its facilities across the state to Tiffin, Ohio. The new plant began production in 1889, and just three years later, A.J. Beatty & Sons merged into the United States Glass Company. By 1963, USGC had gone into bankruptcy, but a year later, Tiffin Art Glass was born, reviving the company's tradition of quality stemware. When Tiffin Art Glass was acquired by the Continental Can Company two years later, it was renamed the Tiffin Glass Company. Tiffin became a division of the Interpace Corporation in January 1976, and introduced the Franciscan Ware line to its manufacture of pressed glass, sandwich glass, white milk glass, and stemware. In 1979, Leonard Silver Manufacturing Company, a division of Towle Silver, purchased the glassworks. Tiffin Glass Company remained under Leonard Silver's control until closing its doors in 1983. Tiffin/Franciscan was long noted for the high quality of its crystal, and the gorgeous Minton pattern featured here is a showcase of craftsmanship and design.

Delicate scroll and floral designs accent the scallop-shaped handles of Irving sterling, first produced by Wallace Silver in 1900. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had emigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace purchased a dilapidated grist mill after mastering his trade, and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Irving is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver's high-quality work.

January 29, 2015

Organic Designs, Beautiful Effects

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Wedgwood Cream Color on Lavender is scallop-shaped, with rim, the blue (lavender) color contrasting with the elegant Wedgwood cream-colored grapevine design in bas-relief on the rim, and delicate, embossed fluting on the outside edge. (The bas-relief design was introduced in Wedgwood's "Jasperware," the unglazed porcelain featuring classical figures in bas-relief that is virtually synonymous with the company name today.) In Cream Color on Lavender the embossed rim design is called "Shell Edge," reflecting company founder Josiah Wedgwood's passion. Wedgwood (1730-1795) was fascinated with conchology, a branch of zoology that concentrates on the study and classification of mollusk shells. A regular on the beaches of England, Wedgwood often searched for rare shells to add to his collection. He used these organic shapes to fashion new designs in china and figurines for his company.

Fostoria Colony is a pressed glass design, with a concave bowl and broad swirls on the side, giving the design a wonderful feeling of motion, with a wafered stem, and round foot. For more than 100 years, Fostoria produced glassware of exceptional quality and beauty.  New technologies developed during World War II provided glassmakers with machines that could produce pressed glass of the elegance and high quality associated with traditional, hand-blown glass. Fostoria was a leader in implementing these innovations. And in contrast to the ornate designs popular during the first half of the 20th century, Fostoria's creations began to reflect "minimalist" design, with polished, smooth surfaces and sensuous curves. Colony was a very successful pattern, and was produced from 1940 to 1973.

Elegant, fluid curves are features of Reed & Barton's Eighteenth Century sterling silver. With a scroll design on the edge near the utensil, and a ribbed design that flares toward the end of the handle to a scallop-shaped tip, Eighteenth Century is a marvelous pattern that echoes the organic, curved shapes of both Wedgwood Cream Color on Lavender and Fostoria Colony. Eighteenth Century is emblematic of its maker, Reed & Barton of Taunton, MA, a company that traces its origins to a jewelry store founded by Isaac Babbitt in 1822. After changes in ownership, the company began to use the "Reed & Barton" stamp on its silver in the 1840s. The Reed & Barton Eighteenth Century sterling pattern maintains the same high quality customers have praised for nearly 200 years.

January 22, 2015

Popular Designs, Alluring Craftsmanship

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The Ming-Birds pattern is a gorgeous representation of Lenox China's exquisite artistry. This fine bone china, produced from 1917 to 1963, features gold trim and a spectacular, multicolor scroll design around the rim of the plate interspersed with scenes of two different, colorful birds. The center design showcases an exotic flowering tree and flitting butterflies. Founded in 1889 by Walter Scott Lenox in Trenton, NJ, the "Staffordshire of America" of its time, the Lenox Ceramic Pottery Company produced art-quality pieces. By 1897 examples of Lenox's work were displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  In 1918 President and Mrs. Woodrow Wilson commissioned a set of Lenox for the White House, making it the first American china to grace a U.S. president's table. The Wilson Service was designed by Frank Graham Holmes, chief designer for Lenox from 1905 to 1954, who also designed the Ming-Birds pattern featured here. During this tenure with Lenox he collected numerous awards, including the Craftsmanship Medal of the American Institute of Architects and the silver medal of the American Designers Institute. In 1928, he became the first and only American to have his porcelain designs displayed by the National Museum of Ceramics in Sevres, France. According to Lenox literature, Holmes "possessed a remarkable ability to blend contemporary style with timeless 'good taste.'"

Duncan & Miller Indian Tree is a lovely blown glass design with a concave bowl, flared top, a knobbed, multisided cut stem, and a round foot.  The intricate Indian Tree design etched on the bowl does a wonderful job of tying together the Asian-influenced Ming-Birds design and the intricate scrolling found on Lucerne sterling. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Duncan & Miller got its start in 1865, when George Duncan bought the Ripley & Company glass factory and created Duncan & Sons, a partnership between Duncan and his sons, Harry B. Duncan and James E. Duncan, and his son-in-law, Augustus H. Heisey. Later, John Ernest Miller joined the company as a designer, and, during the next 52 years, would become world renowned for his glass designs. The period from 1893 to the closing of the plant in 1955 is generally known as the Duncan-Miller period, although the partnership was not official until 1900, when the firm was incorporated as Duncan & Miller Glass Company. The handmade glass at the Duncan & Miller Glass Company was distinguished by the artistry of design, the skill of the workers, the batch formulas, and the lovely colors of their glassware. Many of the Duncan & Miller pieces required ten or more people to create each piece. Duncan & Miller ceased production in 1955, as machines and assembly lines made the production of handmade glass not profitable. Duncan & Miller glass is now highly sought by collectors.

The elegant and popular Lucerne pattern was produced by Wallace Silver for 100 years, from 1896 to 1996. Lucerne sterling features a geometric blocked design with lavish scrolling along the edge, a cameo/frame tip design, and a glossy finish. Wallace Silver, established in Connecticut nearly two centuries ago, has long been recognized for excellence in tableware craftsmanship. The founder of the company, Robert Wallace, was born in 1815 into a family of silversmiths who had immigrated to New England from Scotland. Apprenticed to William Mix, a renowned Connecticut spoon maker, Wallace purchased a dilapidated grist mill after mastering his trade, and began to produce his own silver flatware in 1833. Lucerne is just one of many examples of Wallace Silver's high-quality work.

January 06, 2015

Kirk Silver "Repousse" Tea Caddy

This gorgeous sterling silver tea caddy in the "Repousse" (Full Chased-Landscape design) pattern by Kirk Silver features a stunningly detailed landscape design, and is a beautiful example of the chased repousse style that became widely popular in 19th-century America. Repousse is an ancient form of metalworking, where artisans hammer a design into the inside surface of a piece of metal, so that the ornamentation appears in relief on the outside. Most often the design is then worked from the outside with a pointed or patterned punch. This technique, called "chasing," sharpens and defines the repousse ornamentation and enhances the three-dimensional effect of the design. Some of the best-known pieces of this type of metalwork date from antiquity.

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The purpose of a tea caddy is, of course, to store tea. Aside from water, tea is the most-consumed beverage in the world, and has been enjoyed for thousands of years. Although it's unknown how we first started drinking tea, one popular legend states that Chinese emperor and herbalist Shen Nung was the first person to drink the beverage, around 2737 BC. As the story goes, Shen Nung was boiling a pot of drinking water underneath a tea tree when some leaves from the tree blew off and fell into the pot. Shen Nung decided to drink the infused concoction, and the practice of tea drinking was officially begun. Although there's no way verify this legend, it is believed tea was at least being consumed by around 1500 BC in the Yunnan province of China (where the tea tree, Camellia sinensis, originated).

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Tea at this time was prepared by mashing and pressing the tea leaves into a brick, which was then dried and ground as needed. Much later, during the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD to 1644 AD), loose tea leaves were cured or roasted and then crumbled, boiled, and strained - the basic method still practiced today.

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Tea was not known by Europeans until the 16th century, when Portuguese missionaries in Asia witnessed the practice of tea drinking. In 1606, the Dutch were the first to import tea to Europe, where its popularity spread - although it was considered a luxury item, and mostly bought by the wealthy. Tea started appearing in English coffeehouses in the 1650s, where it was enjoyed by not only the upper class but also the middle and working classes. As English and European settlers brought tea with them to their colonies, drinking tea became a common practice around the world, eventually achieving the popularity it has today.

December 16, 2014

Stag & Holly Bowl by Fenton

Stag & Holly by Fenton is a charming glassware pattern with a playful holly leaf and deer design. Here, we're showcasing a three-toed, crimped Stag & Holly bowl in the "Marigold" carnival glass color. This pattern was first produced a century ago, in 1912, shortly after carnival glass itself was created.

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Carnival glass is a form of pressed glass that appears in a wide variety of iridescent colors. Introduced in 1901 as a more affordable version of the expensive iridescent glass produced by companies like Steuben and Tiffany & Co., carnival glass showcases a colorful sheen that comes from the application of metallic salt vapors added to the surface of the molten glass as it cools from its initial pressing. In 1907, Fenton was at the forefront of carnival glass production, and labeled their first line of iridescent glass "Iridill" (the term "carnival glass" was not used until adopted by collectors in the 1950s and '60s, since this type of glassware was sometimes given away as prizes at amusement parks and carnivals). Over the years, Fenton produced around a 150 different carnival glass patterns. The initial popularity of carnival glass began to decline in the early 1930s, but it remains highly desirable among collectors today.

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The Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 by brothers John and Frank Fenton in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The company initially focused on decorating glass blanks produced by other glass companies. But within a couple of years, the brothers had difficulty acquiring the glass blanks they needed, and decided to open their own glassware factory. The first Fenton factory opened on January 2, 1907 in Williamstown, West Virginia. Fenton quickly became known for producing a beautiful assortment of glass with striking colors and decorations. Over the next several decades, this creative edge would keep Fenton at the forefront of the glassware market.

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While many other art glass manufacturers struggled during the Great Depression, Fenton survived by producing more utilitarian glassware that could be used in the home, including mixing and serving bowls. In 1939, the company began producing its tremendously popular line of "Hobnail" milk glass; this line was later referred to by Bill Fenton as the company's "bread and butter." Following World War II, Fenton Art Glass began to grow again, and was passed down to two successive generations of the Fenton family during the second half of the 21st century. In 2007, Fenton Art Glass announced that their hot glass production would cease, but, due to a flurry of increased sales, the company remained active until turning off the fires in their glass furnaces in 2011.