Glass Book Reviews
Reviews are done by various friends of the Museum
American Machine Made Marbles Dean Six, Susie Metzler and Michael Johnson An amazing work. This book far exceeded my expectations. It is not simply a catalogue for collectors, although it would be an excellent resource for that, better than I've seen so far in any other book on the subject. It is also and primarily a well-researched cultural and material culture study. Historical archaeologists would find this an interesting and valuable study as well as an excellent guide to the marbles found on sites or for collectors. Their work was fantastic in that they included the human stories and a thorough history of the various companies. I was pleasantly surprised to find that such a seemingly mundane subject was packed with such fascinating stories, including some intrigue that kept me captivated. I commend the authors for a well done and complete treatment of the topic. I would recommend this book to anyone as the best source on the subject.
Kovels’ Antiques & Collectibles Price List 2008 Ralph & Terry Kovel Softbound. 750 pages. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. This massive book covers the large field of antiques and collectibles, not just glass. Under the entry “Glass” is a mere 8 pages of entries listed as art, blown, Bohemian, contemporary, mid-century, and Venetian. However, there are other entries throughout the book including such topics as carnival glass, depression glass, cut glass, Consolidated, Aurene, bottles, Heisey, Imperial, Lalique, pressed glass and many other minor entries. Prices vary and are sometimes interesting such as a Dale Chihuly arrangement valued at $4888!why not $4900 or $5000? However, the book does have many good features, such as tabbed entries for easy location of topics, illustrations and descriptions on the outer 1/3 of each page (in color) and sometimes full pages of illustrations. Color reproduction is fair, but usable in most cases. This is definitely a usable book but one you probably wouldn’t want to carry at a show or outdoor market as it is a hefty weight! It is recommended as a good over-all price guide for antiques.
Miller’s Art Glass: How to Compare and Value Louise Luther This 176 hardcover book is a joy. It literally “bravely goes where none have gone before” and seeks, successfully, to gather into one binding an overview of the immense expanse of Art Glass. Many books have beautiful photographs, as this one does. Many books have good text and solid history, as this one does. Few art glass books are even close to user friendly and fewer still seem to have pondered and worked new ideas into making the information accessible, usable, and visually fun. Broken into distinct sections, with identically formatted two-page spreads for each topic, here are American and European Art Glass and a short section on Contemporary International Studio artists. Perhaps it is the clipped presentation of information as fact bullets that appeals to this reviewer. Yet there are short essays as well so we can explore Honesdale Decorating or Cambridge Glass and turn to Degue or Czechoslovakian Malachite, finding for each interestingly presented facts, beautiful illustrations, the short essay and punchy “need to know” check lists. For each entry there is also a set-apart boxed side story that relates to the topic, building on it and going a bit further. What a great format and how truly entertaining it is to read! However, no book is without some questioning. One wonders why the Durand and Imperial free-hand production are included but not the free-hand works of Fenton Art Glass when the same hands were employed at all locations? For the Heisey entry one wonders why the illustrations are both Verlys forms, not representations of the original US designs of Heisey but of French borrowed designs? Most surprising was seeing Hobbs Drape optics appearing in print one more time. We thought all serious scholarship had agreed Hobbs was definitely not the manufacturer and possibly Phoenix was. However, here is a “Hobbs” drape piece prominent in the Hobbs two-page spread. Overall it is a stunning book. The formatting is so pleasantly fresh after years of look-alike, plugged in images and rambling redundant text that one cannot help but think we would all benefit from this book and, with the small quirks noted and a few more, it is a one we want to add to our bookshelf for the mass of information and insights it brings together so well.
Artristry And Innovation In Pittsburgh Glass, 1808-1902 from Bakewell & Ensel to Bakewell, Pears & Co. Arlene Palmer The book is a paperback catalog for an exhibition that was mounted for an insanely short time (two months). At 206 pages, this book is a joy. While this reviewer has not always been enchanted by the writing or research of Arlene Palmer this is a wonderful and very accessible work. Gone are some of the droll academic litanies and here is a very readable, fact filled, wonderfully diverse telling of a good American tale. And it is both well told and beautifully illustrated. From layout to selection of objects shown, from supplemental images to the well woven narrative this is a solid visually stunning must-have for those interested in American Glass of the “early period.” It also is a solid addition to any American decorative arts or general glass library. If there is any doubt the beauty or quality of ware from Bakewell a single pair of urns illustrated on page 130 should, alone, remove all question and concrete the reputation of the Bakewell firm and of this volume. The remaining other multitude of illustrations serve to only enhance the Bakewell reputation and garner a place of reverence for this book. The scholarship of Palmer shines through in the writing. The access to objects for the exhibition, the same objects now eternally captured in this catalog, shows the commitment to the project that Palmer, the Frick and others involved must indeed be pleased with. Modestly priced here is a catalog/book that, should you be able to find one, you must acquire. For your library.
Blowpipes: Northwest Ohio Glassmaking in the Gas Boom of the 1880s Jack K. Paquette: This book is 550 pages of joy for glass historians. Much less for collectors or others perhaps? This excellent work will have sadly limited appeal due to the absence of images of glass objects, prices, and such. First, it is restricted to a relatively small geographic area in Ohio, then it is limited to a time of little more than a decade or two, and it is not at all about objects. Yet within these covers are the dates, personalities, rise and fall of well over 100 late-19th century Ohio glasshouses. With window glass, bottles and tableware stories all told with equal enthusiasm, this will surely become a standard glass history reference. Paquette, an ex-Owens-Illinois company official, tells the Libbey and Owens stories as only one with access to inside information can. For this Owens-Illinois section alone, the book merits your consideration. Add the other 100 companies, and it's a book you must have if glass history appeals to you. A comprehensive index (are you other authors listening?) and wonderful line drawings of sites and people supplement the text, making it an attractive, useful tome. Looking for identification and pricing info?-look elsewhere. Wanting a good read on glass?-get this.
British Glass 1800-1914 Charles R. Hajdamach If you buy one new glass book this year, consider this one. It can generally be found (as of 2005) on the internet for slightly under $60. But what a bargain at that price. At 460 pages with 430 black and white illustrations and 50 color photos it is a royal tour de force of glass, history and processes. I learned about all types of things I thought I knew about (like silver deposit glass) by reading this wonderful text. If I sound over the top enthusiastic it is because I am. Seldom does a book feed us new information, great history, beautiful images, familiar stories well told anew, and challenge us to be interested in parts of the glass realm we had not previously found interesting. The numerous illustrations and images are crisp, bright and amazingly diverse. The use of images showing pressing on a hand press in New Martinsville, WV inside Viking Glass and others illustrating crimping from Fenton work together to make this wonderfully quirky English book seem familiar and amazingly encyclopedic in it's inclusiveness. Admittedly the text, which is rich and engaging- unlike many illustrated price guides where there is literally NO text- can ramble a bit and there are some significant jumps in the flow. The book has a readable, at times chatty, but all together entertaining cadance to a glass lover. Others beware! It may overwhelm you. Where else will you learn about Anglo-Venetian glass and see various machines and actual production images of threaded glass? Cheroot or cigar holders of glass to how mercury glass is made, hand carved cameo to processes of sand blasting with examples of it all, it's all here. If I were to name a dozen or so Must Have books, this would be one of those.
The Art of Carnival Glass Glen & Stephen Thistlewood The authors have produced a beautifully illustrated book on worldwide carnival glass. Photographs are of a professional quality and often included are close-ups of pattern details. An appendix lists 40 firms known to have made carnival glass. Opening chapters are devoted to topics such as: Inspirations, How Carnival Glass Was Made, and Decorating the Glass along with others. These give depth and interest to the book. The following chapters feature items by shape. Little added notes of definitions of terms help the reader understand exactly to what the authors are referring. In addition to the world-wide diversity of objects presented, there are more modern pieces also shown, including special commemorative items. All in all, this book is interesting in its scope and should appeal to many glass collectors - not just collectors of carnival glass.
Central Glass Company: The First Thirty Years, 1863-1893 Marilyn R. Hallock Marilyn Hallock spent over 10 years writing her book on Central Glass. Her desire to learn more about this glass company comes from being a direct descendent of two of the founders, John Henderson and Peter Cassell. Marilyn has meticulously referenced, in order, over 1000 patterns that were made by this company from its inception to when it joined the US Glass CO. combine. The book is a massive work, totaling 270 pages. The first portion of the book describes the earliest days of the factory, gathered from numerous references. Hallock has traveled far and wide to combine bits and pieces of information, as original catalogs in their entirety no longer exist. Central Glass started their mould numbers with 1 and ran them consecutively. Hallock has used this format to show the patterns as they became available on the market. Very few are not referenced. The book is profusely illustrated with black and white and color photographs, original color catalog illustrations, and original catalog line drawings, showing all of the patterns made. At the end of the book is an “Easy Pattern identification Guide” showing all of the patterns in original catalog illustrations with their corresponding numbers. By doing this, she has increased the function of the book. Once the pattern is identified using this guide, the corresponding text in earlier sections can be accessed more quickly. Central made numerous patterns in colors including blue, amber and canary. These include the famous Log Cabin, Pressed Diamond, Rope, Rope & Thumbprint and Leaf & Rib. If novelty items interest you, Central made the majority of their novelty items in all colors of the day and these are illustrated as well by both actual photos and original catalog illustrations. Up until the time that Hallock completed this work, very little had ever been written about Central Glass CO., even though they were one of the very largest glass producers of the era. Her work is definitive, expertly researched, and will be considered THE book on the subject.
Collectible Glass Bells of the World A. A. Trinidad, Jr. This is his second glass bell book from Schiffer Publishing. Again in his second work the organization of the material by manufacturer is a good job of pattern and style identification that can be used by others not focused just on bells. The research that introduces each manufacturers section probably justifies buying the book. With well over 750 bells from 100 manufacturers from around the globe illustrated and indexed the small histories for each company would be difficult information to find gathered elsewhere. The quality of photographs varies from excellent to questionable. Examples include the good color shown in the Pilgrim cameo bells but the muddy color photography making most Fenton bells blend into their backgrounds with the real glass color being lost. Overall it is another well-done, solidly researched and practical book that should appeal to the collector of glass beyond bells.
The Co-operative Flint Glass Co. of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, 1879-1934 E Earl Autenreith and JoAnne S Autenreith 376 pages. Hardbound. Color throughout. Published by the authors in association with the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia. Any book that identifies half a dozen of my unknown candlesticks and tells me about another dozen (or more) that I've never seen before, has to be pretty darn good! I suspect collectors of many other specialties will have the same response. Drawing on many years of research by the authors, it tells the story of this important but often overlooked glass manufacturer, whose production spanned the years from early American pattern glass to elegant glass of the 1920s. Hundreds of patterns and individual items are identified, many of them for the first time. Fully illustrated with high quality photographs, catalog reprints, and trade journal advertisements, the volume is divided into two parts. The first is arranged by pattern, conveniently sorted by design elements (berries, circles, diamonds, facets, flowers, honeycomb, panels, plain, ribs and columns, stars, and miscellaneous). The second half is arranged by shape, making it easy to find candlesticks, creams and sugars, vases, decanters, tumblers, and much more. In addition to the history of Co-op Flint, this book also includes information about the later life of the molds, with examples of pieces made in these molds by the Phoenix Glass Company, John E. Kemple Glassworks, and LE Smith, among others. Current values are included. The book is well organized, has hundreds of large, clear pictures, and includes an index. Highly recommended!
Corn Flower: Creatively Canadian Wayne Townsend Corn Flower Creatively Canadian by is a wonderful glass book. Published by Natural Heritage/Natural History, Inc., of Toronto, Ontario, in 2001, the book has over 250 pages about the unique Canadian cut glass pattern Corn Flower. The book is that rare blend of readable history, just enough to carry a great story forward, and enough glass information to feed those of us who crave all the glass information we can gather. So many other authors strive for this balance, and here is how it should be done. Perhaps it is his keen interest in the company and in the product that allows Townsend to tell this story so well. Townsend seems to have a strong grasp of the Big Picture of glass, and shows this in caption after caption where the blanks used by the W. J. Hughes firm are correctly attributed to manufacturers. Here are Imperial Candlewick and Pie Crust lines, Tiffin and Lancaster, Heisey and Fostoria, Viking (referenced here usually as New Martinsville) and more. Corn Flower is a major success story of Canadian cut glass. The distinctive cutting was adapted over time to a seemingly endless variety of shapes from an equally impressive list of glass companies. Many collections of Corn Flower exist in Canada and the northern U. S. This book includes catalog pages, vintage advertisements and numerous other photographs. With an unexpectedly comprehensive index, scholarly footnotes and appendices, this is one of the best glass books I’ve seen in some time for its visual power, comprehensiveness and ease of use/reading. It comes highly recommended. The West Virginia Museum of American Glass received a copy of Corn Flower Creatively Canadian from Museum friends, Alice and Norman Thomson, and acknowledges their continued generous sharing.
Elegant Glass in Corn Flower: Imperial Candlewick, Heisey, Tiffin & More Walt Lemiski 8 ½ by 11” full color. 2004 Schiffer Publications, order an autographed copy from Walt Lemiski, PO box 41564, HLRPO, 230 Sandalwood Pkwy.., Brampton, OH, L6Z4R1 Canada. Depression Glass and Elegant Glass dealers and collectors finally have the full-color, indispensable identification and price guide for Camden Corn Flower with this book. The author surveys a wide scope in presenting more than 500 images of this cherished glassware with accurate values, descriptions historical information, and identifications from the major America glassworks including: Cambridge, Duncan & Miller, Fostoria, Heisey, Imperial, Indiana, Jeannette, Lancaster, New Martinsville, Paden City, Tiffin and more. This invaluable volume provides the first major appraisal of the Candlewick-Corn Flower connection complete with original documentation. Also included is the entire 1938 Corn flower Catalogue and images of W J Hughes himself creating the Corn Flower Cut The book is lovely to look at, interesting to read, and worthy of inclusion in any library devoted to collectible vintage glassware.
The Complete Cut & Engraved Glass of Corning Estelle F Sinclaire and Jane Shadel Spillman This is a classic. This volume deals exclusively with the city’s rich or “brilliant” cut glass and was published by the Corning Museum of Glass.
The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation Davis Dyer and Daniel Gross Published in 2001 by Oxford University Press. T this 507 page book is a must for the serious student of American Glass. I repeat, it is a must. The evolution of technology, the emergence of partnerships with PPG and mergers with MacBeth-Evans are but a few of the wonderfully explained elements of this well researched, heavily documented, and wonderfully indexed book. There are wonderful passages that amazed me. How about “the Steuben division, acquired in 1918 for its light bulb capacity…” or the grappling with impact on the glass industry by railroad signal lenses or the spread of electricity across the US. Jump forward to learn about the fusion process, believed to be a failure in the 1960s for automotive windshields. But now paying dividends as the basis for making liquid crystal displays for laptops and hand-held computers and electronic devices for these factories in Harrodsburg, KY and Shizuoka, Japan. From a company with roots in New York to a world power, this book is a significant, if not vital, key in telling glass history in both the focus on Corning and in the larger world of economics, politics, technology, and much more. To understand American glass history, this is simply a must read.
Corning Pyroceram Cookware Debbie and Randy Coe 2009. While surely some will scoff at such a recent product, I well remember the attitudes of dealers when I began to sell depression glass circa 1971. I hear similar comments now about Corning Ware but believe that the Coes are leaders and on the front edge of affordable, collectible glass. As we lament the lack of new and younger collectors, we should give thanks for a book like this that addresses the ware a younger person may recall in use and at prices they can readily afford and prices they might realistically expect to find. With large, sharp photos, period images from literature and other sources, this is an attractive book. The inclusion of really beneficial information like the marks on the bottoms of objects and some original packaging are all the quality of work we have come to expect from the Coes. Arranged chronologically, the patterns read visually like a guild to popular designs and graphic art commencing with the introduction of the Pyroceram line in 1958. My single note of omission is an index in this book, but note that the extensive table of contents works as one, yet not quite as detailed, perhaps. In the name of full disclosure, I acknowledge I contributed images and information to this book. Additionally the Coes continue to give great review and include in their books MAGWV as a valued source and partner in their projects. Thus, when I say it is a much needed and welcomed volume on a popular collectible, my voice may be heard as biased. However, if my belief in the project came first, or my trust in the Coes to produce a solid and usable book, it was never a consideration that this would be anything less than a great asset for the contemporary glass literature shelf.
The Artistic Glassware of Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton Jo & Bob Sanford and Barbara & Jim Payne Published by Schiffer, 192 pages. This volume fills a long-felt need in the Findlay Glass field. Dalzell Gilmore & Leighton was in business the longest of the five table ware factories in Findlay and had the greatest impact on the pressed glass market of the five. Their wares ranged from the almost tiny Euchre Salts to the humongous No. 49 D aka Reverse Torpedo high footed fruit bowls. The company began in Wellsburg, WV as Dalzell Bros. & Gilmore in 1883, moved to Findlay Ohio in 1888, becoming Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton, merged in 1899 with 16 other glass producers to from the National Glass Company, and continued under the National Glass banner until December 1901 when molds, machinery and personnel were transferred to other National works. This book is organized in a chronological manner, the first productions from Wellsburg are first, the production at Findlay is next, followed by the patterns transferred to the National plant at Cambridge, Ohio. Catalog illustrations are used throughout to document the wares and their original designations. Common or aka names are included. Color and black-and-white images are used throughout the book. Some of the more well known designs from this factory are No. 9 aka Two Fruits, or Cornucopia, No. 17 D Six Panel Fine Cut, No. 23 D Quaker Lady, Findlay Onyx and Floradine, No. 61D Alexis, aka Priscilla, No. 75D aka Klondike or Amberette, Genoese aka Eyewinker and Hexagonal Bulls Eye. They are also known for their “Bicycle Girl” pitcher, “Bringing Home the Cows” pitcher and other memorable pitchers. The company's extensive contribution to the Oil Lamp industry is well documented. A study of this volume will aid immeasurably in the understanding of Dalzell Glimore & Leighton’s production throughout their lifespan. Values are noted in image captions and there is a bibliography and an index. Warmans Depression Glass 3rd Edition by Ellen T. Schroy. Krause Publications. 288 pages. 2003. $27.95 This book is full of information and is extremely user-friendly. Its main purpose is as a price guide for all the major depression glass patterns plus a few of the elegant patterns that are also highly collectible. Some patterns included were made much more recently than the depression era; but are also quite collectible. The patterns are listed in alphabetical order and great care was taken to list all available pieces in each particular pattern. Each pattern listing is preceded by an informational write-up detailing the glass company that made the pattern, dates of manufacture and known colors in which the pattern was made. Also included is at least one excellent-quality color photo of a piece in the pattern plus a very clear line drawing of the pattern. The line drawings serve as a great tool for identification of patterns. In the back of the book are two indexes: one by manufacturer and one by pattern name. In the front of the book is a shape guide of the patterns and a feature that makes this book very user-friendly: an index of the line drawings sorted by motif of pattern. This book has a few other informational tidbits. There is a short glossary that focuses on the names of pieces of depression-era glass depending on their use. Another interesting feature is a Company Time line that lists in chronological order major happenings at some of the glass companies such as start-ups, closings and mergers. And also a Color Time line that is an alphabetical listing of depression-era colors with some of the companies that made these colors and the approximate years they were made. This is definitely a book that would be of value to a collector of depression-era glass patterns and should be added to their library.
Depression Glass Dinnerware Accessories Doris Yeske 160 pp. 6”x9”. Softbound, full color. Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA 2005. A pictorial of various depression era pieces and patterns. However there are pieces definitely not from the depression era. While some of the pieces illustrated are unusual, the author overworks the word unique in this volume. Groups include center handled servers , snack sets, candy dishes, punch sets, cake plates, sandwich plates and others.
Mauzy’s Depression Era Kitchen Glass Barbara and Jim Mauzy Schiffer Books, 2006. Kitchen glass continues to have a growing following and this book adds to the information available. As we have come to expect from Mauzy books, the images are great in color and clarity. The appearance of a number of original boxes and packaging pushes that interesting part of glass collecting, and we enjoyed seeing those and the importance rightly given them. The use of original period ads and imagery was also much enjoyed: ads for the McKee Glassbake line, Sunbeam Mixmasters, or Jewel Tea food serviette. Give us more of that type of information in the future; it’s great to see the items in use and what their original pitch was. Fun, unexpected and enjoyed pieces that appear include the appearance of glass percolator tops, the water bottles from early refrigeration use that have long been traded in the bottle world because of color and interesting design, and glass fruit jar lids in their original box. The appearance of a coffee jar with original label seems to blur the definition of kitchen glass, but maybe in a good direction? Historically, product container collecting was the domain of bottle and jar collectors. This reviewer welcomes them back into the kitchen where they belong, and applauds this effort by Mauzy. A note of caution about pricing product containers is to learn from our fellow bottle and jar collectors who have been dealing these for decades and to not create a new and false price expectation. On the critical side this reviewer found the listing under each individual piece of who (often a shop or dealer) loaned the imaged object to be distracting and would prefer the list of Thanks For The Loans in the front, back or somewhere and not with each piece. The sense that this constant plug becomes an advertisement is bothersome and in no way makes for a better book. We found some really odd stuff for a kitchen book like European advertising ash trays? We were troubled by later period pieces for a book titled Depression Glass. A few examples are Anchor Hocking mugs from the 1960-70s, Pyrex Butterprint bowls that were marketed in the 1960s, or an Imperial bridge ash tray set marked with the Imperial Lenox “LIG” mark used 1973-1982 (a little late for the depression). And several items appear as maker unknown when the maker should have been found with little effort. One example is the boudoir lamp on page 91 is Fenton and it is really out of place in this book as they note, so why use it? The most glaring and troublesome single part of the book was the appearance of roughly twenty variations of the McKee triangular nude vase. First was the question about vases really being proper kitchen glass then the appearance in almost each color section of the vase in all its variations. Over 20 variations of this single form are shown. An amazing variety of an awesome collection but it quickly becomes a book about vases and specifically this one form of McKee vase. The focus of the book seems lost as if there was a struggle to find enough kitchen glass. Thus the almost kitchen or wannabe items sneak in: cocktail shakers, bottoms up naked tumblers, or a commercial product dispenser for an orange beverage not intended for kitchen or individual use. Overall it is an attractive book. If you are interested in kitchen and utilitarian glass you need it. For the larger, curious glass world there is little new information and little documentation here. 158 pages plus index and bibliography.
Depression Glass Postcards Barbara & Jim Mauzey Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, PA. 40 full color postcards to send to glass friends or keep to enjoy. From Anchor Hocking Forest Green Sandwich to Paden City Orchid etching in a variety of colors to Dancing Nymph by Consolidated, this is a visual feast.
Mauzy’s Rare, Unusual and Unique Depression Glass Barbara & Jim Mauzy 96 pages. Hardbound. Schiffer Publishing. Through the years, Barbara and Jim Mauzy have uncovered quite a few wonderful rare and unique pieces of glass. This brand new book highlights all of that special glass for collectors to now see in one volume. The book is divided into three chapters: Rare Shapes, Unusual Colors, and Unique Decorations. Each is arranged in alphabetical order by pattern name for ease in finding your particular piece. In the Rare Shapes chapter, many of the pieces listed are the only ones known to exist. Unusual Colors could be from a variation in chemicals in the batch, changes of temperature or other factors. The last chapter highlights items that were decorated by another company other than the original maker. Many times these pieces were used as an advertising or souvenir item. Some of the highlights include: green Cherry Blossom covered casserole; pink Coronation pitcher; amber Madrid gravy boat and liner; green Royal Lace and Parrot pitchers; platonite Moderntone with a red and black card motif; ruby Ring flat tumbler and an orange slag Rock Crystal footed bowl. There are more than 220 items in over 150 color photos with detailed captions.
Durand: The Man and His Glass Edward J. Meschi The Glass Press. Marietta, OH. 1998.191 pages Excellent historic imagery, brilliant photography and a short but readable history. This is a great introduction to the artistry of Durand. While it leaves us wanting to see and know more, its purchase aspires to exactly that! Far too little is written about this exceptional American art glass but this is a worthwhile and credible book. We never like the Glass Press/Antique Publications book layout of placing all of the color images in the center of the book and placing the captions for them elsewhere, a cost cutting measure, it makes for difficult use again here. And then the pricing is in yet a third section at the end. See the image, chase the caption, go further to get the price. Two steps maybe, not three. But this terrible composition formula can almost be forgiven here because the glass is so wonderfully illustrated. It is far too brief but merits attention or purchase and will be a difficult book to obtain.
Elegant Glass: Early, Depression, and Beyond, 3rd Edition Debbie & Randy Coe 256 pages. Hardbound & full color. 2007. Schiffer Publications, Atglen, PA The Coes expand on their popular book for collectors with this updated volume. Patterns of many companies are included such as: Cambridge, Heisey, Imperial Fostoria, Fenton, Paden City, Central, US Glass, and Consolidated. Patterns are arranged in alphabetical order by pattern name and profusely illustrated. Some of the positive points of the book include close-up photos of pattern detailsthese are especially helpful for etchings and cuttings that are often confusing. Another helpful feature is breaking up long piece lists in patterns into groups of five using alternating colors of red and black, making it much easier to follow the piece description with the appropriate price. As usual in books by the Coes, the photography is excellent and color reproduction good. The authors address the recent price trends in the marketplace with observations as to why some pieces and patterns have decreased in value over the past few years. Additional “extras” for the reader include lists of museums, collector groups, and an extensive glossary of glass terms. A few negatives (and these are not strongly so) are that some of the photos are quite small and it is difficult to see pieces, and photos used throughout the book for extra features do not have captions that would have made these more helpful for collectors. These points seem to be more a function of layout and not the fault of the authors. All in all, the book is an excellent reference and will be quite helpful to you and should be added to your library of glass reference books.
Fenton Art Glass Debbie & Randy Coe 192 pages. Hardbound & full color. 2007. Schiffer Publications, Atglen, PA This is another book of excellent quality by the Coes that collectors have come to expect from this husband and wife team. Fenton glass is covered from 1907-2007Fenton’s Centennial Year. Patterns are presented primarily by decade of production. The book covers all types of Fenton glass and includes carnival, stretch, rare free hand mosaic, Hanging Heart, Dancing Lady, Ming, Robert Barber vases, baskets, animals, lamps and much more. Colors include jade, lilac, mandarin red, Mongolian green, ruby, opalescent, slag and optics, and crests, to name just some of the popular patterns and items. Also shown are hand-painted pieces, rosaline and Favrene pieces that have become highly collectible. As in all Coe books, the photography is excellent, and the book presents a wonderful colorful feast. For the Fenton collector it is a must to own.
Fenton Compendium 1985-2001 John Walk Schiffer Publishing.2003. Lots of decorated and small objects: animals, bells, small baskets but some striking pieces as well. We might wish for larger photographs and some still are a little dark but the overall organization, pricing and wide inclusiveness are all good. If this most recent era from Fenton is of interest this is a solid reference and yet another volume in the impressive line Walk is creating documenting Fenton.
The Big Book of Fenton Glass: 1940-1970 John Walk Schiffer Publishing. 5th edition, updated values. 2005. A book of photos and prices well arranged by “type” of Fenton: Coin Dot (opalescent); Crests, Hobnail, Opalescent patterns, overlay patterns and pastel milk glass. The photos, some dark and with a darker background than we like to see, do not sing like some of the Walk books but others are vibrant and bright. All together it is another in the almost endless out-put of Walk’s Fenton series of usable references. Piece type lists, ware numbers and short text with dates and some observations on the pattern make it more “readable” than the Milk Glass or other Walk-Fenton books. We recommend this one, but remember it is light on history and predominately serves as an organized, attractive price guide.
The Big Book of Fenton Milk Glass:1940-1985 John Walk Schiffer Publishing. Revised pricing. 2004. 160 pages, all color. Enough Hobnail Milk Glass to appease the absolute most devout fan! With good color photos and a practical division by shape it is a useful and practical illustrated price guide. Includes hard to find shapes, a few pieces of “colored milk glass” and a section on Old Virginia Glass, Fenton’s marketing distinction for wares made for “trading stamp companies, warehouse stores and outlet stores.” Little text but that’s not it’s about- a solidly usable price guide/ book.
Figural Acid Etchings, 1870-1970, Book I – II. By Frank J. Consentino, Jr. Maple Creek Media. Paperbound. 2 volumes, 186 pages & 190 pages, $39.95 each. This book illustrates 225 figural acid etchings (both human and animal) produced from 1870 to 1970, many of them not previously documented. Etchings from 46 companies are included, ranging from all the well known ones – Cambridge, Central, Fostoria, Heisey, Lotus, Morgantown, Paden City, Tiffin – to some so obscure that this reviewer has never heard of them – Rivir Studios (the only example of a decoration on china shown in the books) and Richard E. Bishop, for example – and everyone in between. Not surprisingly, there is also a healthy selection of unknown etchings for which research is still ongoing. Like many of our most dedicated authors, Mr. Consentino has devoted a lifetime to traveling, researching, collecting, interviewing, etc., and these volumes are a tribute to his ability to organize and present a massive amount of information. It is difficult to find anything negative in this work – only the wish that the author could live another lifetime and double the amount of etchings covered. But as he himself says, “It’s not possible to list every figural etching ever made, or even for one author to even find them all.” He discusses various types of etchings: shallow, or fumed, engravings, and deep plate etchings. The photography is superb, focusing more on the etchings than on the glass forms on which they are placed. The photography is among the best this reviewer has seen. All etchings are notoriously difficult to photograph, especially fume etchings. The close-ups of the etchings are excellent, though in some instances it would have been helpful to have shown a second photograph of the overall glass item to give the reader a better perspective of the piece. However, it is also recognized that space and printing expenses were limited. In some instances the photographer, Joseph J. Zaia, used advanced digital enhancing abilities to flatten out a circular etch so as to present to the reader the total picture at once of an etching that spans the circumference of a piece. A one- to two-page description is devoted to each etching, giving its name, etching number (when known), production dates, company name, location and overall dates of the company, the known items the etching can be found on, and a description giving the history and background of the etching, including information about the animal or bird depicted with their natural habitat, species, etc., or the story behind the etch, whether it be Biblical, historical, or mythological. (There is a lot of repetition throughout the book.) Wisely, no values are given, though the author does offer a rarity scale. The print is in a bold black non-serif font on non-glossy paper, which is good for aging eyes. Among the more outstanding features of this work is the indexing and cross-indexing – a feature that so many otherwise excellent books lack. Included are three indexes: by etching name, company name, and by subject matter. He also provides a “Simplified Glossary of Etching and Decorating Terms.” While studying this glossary the reader must keep in mind one of the author’s excellent introductory essays entitled “Acid Etching, the Process and History” as to the important use of the metal plate and resistant wax in the etching process. The 2-volume set is pricy, but no more so than other hard copy publications, and this one is well-bound and printed. These volumes are a notable addition to the library of any glass enthusiast.
Fostoria Glass: The Elegant and Master Etchings Juanita L. Williams Schiffer books. 2005. Just when you think there can be nothing left unsaid or unwritten about Fostoria Glass along comes a really useful and new spin on this once giant glass house. Juanita Williams book is very different from her earlier Fostoria book and infinitely more approachable and practical. Two features distinctly appeal to this reviewer: the extensive use of period ads and the short, poignant and well illustrated listing of the many, many Fostoria etchings. It is a mass of information that has seldom been so well shown and concisely laid out. Search through several books, different organization systems and many pages or use this one good book. Not a tough choice maybe? If you are a Fostoria Glass or 20th century tableware person you need this book.
Fostoria: Serving The American Table 1887-1986 Leslie Pina Schiffer Publishing. 1995. 197 pages A different view of this massive and highly collected company is offered by an author not know for being adept in this time period or topic. Thus, it is a roughly flowing book and not necessarily well organized or easy to follow. It is noteworthy for attractive color images of some of the early pattern glass by Fostoria that is not necessarily well illustrated elsewhere. The extensive chapter is, of course, American and those are often images from late company catalogs. Colored American is represented, in a small way. There is little info that is new here and limited text. If you buy it do so for the images.
Fratelli Tosco Italian Glass: 1854-1980 Leslie Pina 224 pages. Leslie Pina authors yet another book. With a reported "over 60 titles" to her name, they just keep coming. Some are better than others. This volume is good-a large oversized hardback. The images are large, sharp and brilliant. It is a fun book with some usable information and stunning images. If this review seems to keep talking about the images, it's because text is scarce. There is a 4-page introduction, a 2-page chronology...and a glossary, bibliography and index. While it is easy to find fault with some of her books for their complete absence of text (see her Blenko catalog reprints-½ of one page is the total text in the entire book!), this book is so attractive and the images so strong that the lack of text may help it. A companion volume, same publisher, different author, published at roughly the same time on Italian glass, is nearly burdened down with lists and data, not quite text, but words, lists. This volume goes to the other extreme with so little verbiage. All considered, it offers great images, has nicely developed and informative captions, and is an impressive book visually. The diversity of images and quality of product save it from being just a pretty book; and in the end, it is a suggested addition to any glass or art glass bookshelf (or coffee table). One additional note must be the pricing. While the art objects featured throughout the book seem to reflect real prices realized at auction, etc., the section on mass marketed "bowls, plates, ashtrays" seems unrealistic. One wonders again if the prices stated are meant to reflect current values or set them. A quick check of closed auctions on a popular web auction site provided literally dozens of examples of the items shown in this section, sometimes the identical items. Bearing a suggested book value of $100-250, they sold for well under $25 or with several not selling at all. It seems the great objects shown here may indeed merit the staggering prices, but the 1950-60s import pieces can yet be obtained at far, far below the prices suggested. With books often setting the market, it is safe to assume this will influence the value for these more common forms, and in a decade or two, prove to be an accurate estimate of value. It is a fun and useful book. For now, buy this book for the beautiful imagery. Do not buy it for well-researched text or an accurate reflection of current pricing on mid-century imported Italian bowls, plates and ashtrays.
Warman’s Glass: A Value & Identification Guide, 4th Edition Edited by Ellen T. Schroy 433 pages. Soft bound. 8½”x11”. 2003. Krause Publications. This massive volume contains at least 135 different glass categories with listings, excellent descriptions and prices. Categories range from Advertising to Whimsies. Extensive lists are given for bottles, Cambridge, Cameo, Cut, Fostoria, Heisey, Paperweights, Pattern and Steuben glass. It is a pleasure to see many newer collectible areas of glass presented such as New Martinsville, Tiffin, Paden City, and others. While concentrating on American-made glass, there are also numerous entries for European, English and other glass. An eight-page color section is included showing a variety of glass items and types. As applicable, entries under each category include a short history, references, periodicals (such as newsletters from collector clubs), clubs and reproductions. These make this more than just a “price guide.” A helpful section in the front of the book is devoted to comparison of glass types with tips on how to identify each type, including cut, pattern, depression and carnival. Also most interesting is a timeline of important dates in glass. While some of pricing is debatable, and some of the entries (especially in the reproduction boxes) are missing text, this is a good reference for values for anyone’s library.
Glass Animals & Figurals Debbie and Randy Coe Schiffer Publishing. 192 pages. 2003. This new book is a treat for the eyes. It is in full color throughout its 192 pages. Animals were made in a multitude of colors and this makes the book visually wonderfully attractive. Hundreds of animals and figural items are pictured. The Coes have gathered and presented many animals not before pictured in previous books on animal figurines. Values are given for each animal illustrated. The items are grouped by company so that it is easy to see the scope of a company’s production. The index provides pages on which each type of animal is featured. The photographs of the pieces of glass are excellent. The animals show well in full detail. Some of the more recently made animals are shown in various decorations available—this is especially true of the very collectible Fenton animals Lest anyone think that only a few companies made animals and figurals, this book quickly changes that opinion. There are 68 companies represented. The old familiar, well-known companies that made animals are present such as Imperial, Heisey, Duncan & Miller, Fostoria, Tiffin and others. But also animals from many lesser-known companies are also included such as Barth-Art, Beaumont, Enterprise, Federal, Gibson, Hemingray, Kanawha, Kemple and Wheaton. When companies closed and molds were sold to others, confusion can arise for the glass collector. The Coes often tell if an animal was made from another company’s original mold, thus lessening the confusion for collectors Another valuable feature of the book is the chapter on similar molds. For example, various rearing horse bookends are pictured side by side so that the differences are easily seen—something very hard to do if one must go from page to page to try to determine small differences. Considering the extensive scope of this book, there is a remarkably short chapter showing animals that are unidentified as to manufacture. An extensive bibliography is included which offers possibilities for other information to collectors This book is a valuable one for those interested in glass figurines. Be aware that several Victorian animal related items are featured as well as contemporary pieces currently available. Add this book to your collection, you will not be sorry.
Glass Elephants Myra Coe-Hixson 136 pages, soft bound, 8½”x11”. 2004 from Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen PA. Glass elephants from many US companies are shown in excellent color photographs. Victorian-era companies are represented by a few entries, but most of the information presented is on modern glass elephants. Some of the attributions may cause confusion. For instance, the Elephant Head toothpick is shown under Boyd Crystal Art Glass. The text mentions that the mold was purchased from Degenhart, but there are no entries for the Degenhart production. No mention is made that the original Elephant Head was made by the Findlay Flint Glass Co. in 1889. The Heisey entry is also confusing. Many of the elephants shown were made for the Heisey Collectors in Heisey molds but in non-original colors and by such companies as Fenton and Dalzell-Viking. These would have been better placed under the companies that actually made the glass. Pricing is always a subjective topic, but some of the prices seem conservative. Overall, collectors of glass elephants should find much information in this book—its strong points being the excellent color photographs and the company histories. Glass Tumblers 1860s to 1920s, By Tom Bredehoft, 288 pages, Collector Books, Paducah, Kentucky Hardbound. $29.95. The introduction gives the history of the blown tumbler and the pressed tumbler. This book has one of the best Contents pages to be found in any volume. Although this book also contains an index the Contents page is more important for finding a tumbler for which the collector does not know the name. Under the Pressed Tumblers are thirteen categories and under the Blown Tumblers are eighteen categories. This certainly makes for very easy location. Starting with page 9 and continuing through page 235 are found the photographs and all of the pertinent information about each individual illustration. The information includes the maker, date of manufacture, colors made, values and any other information available. There are probably some patterns that are not listed as it would be a rare book that would have everything but it is as complete as anything on the market Appendix A begins on page 236 and continues to page 282. This is where the Glass Companies are listed and many of their catalog reprints are illustrated. This section alone would be worth the price of the book There is a glossary on page 284 that should be one of the first things read. It gives valuable definitions to the various terms in glass production This book should be a valuable asset to every collector’s library.
A Collector’s Guide to Heisey Orchid Etch Donald R Oksa 160 pp, softbound, full color. By Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, Atglen, PA This book is visually attractive with large, well-focused pictures showing many pieces of Heisey glass with Orchid etching. It will be helpful to many to help identify exactly what piece they may have in their collection. The book, while extensively showing pieces, does have some drawbacks and errors. When listing the patterns with Orchid etching on page 5, the author lists Covington, not a known Heisey pattern. He also either renames or misspells Duquesne (Duquenne) and Velvedere (Velvedure). While minor to some, it is confusing to the novice. This reviewer found it difficult to interpret what the author was suggesting when showing pieces such as Tyrolean and Graceful saucer champagnes, sherbets and cocktails side by side. Since these pieces are the same in both patterns, it was not apparent whether the author was suggesting there were differences or emphasizing that they were the same. Notes in the captions would have cleared this up. Also the photo of the “sherries” shows the Tyrolean and Graceful wines rather than sherries. And on page 23 the sherry listed as Coventry is actually Tyrolean. More confusion is raised with the pictures of various bells on pages 30-31. Heisey made only one dinner bell, the others shown are reworked damaged stems made into bells to create a salable item. A term not familiar, and not used by the Heisey company, is the Crestina handle. The designer of the Waverly pieces referred to this only as a cresting wave, and the company did not call it anything. It does give a descriptive term to this handle, but that should have been noted as coming from the author. On pages 66 and 67 the captions are reversed on the dressing bowls. And on page 82 the Queen Ann bowl shown does not have dolphin feet as stated. On page 104 the mustard shown and identified as Queen Ann is actually Crystolite. Other pieces are shown without the etching but with the caption that these were found with Orchid. Some of these were done with Orchid etching, but some were not especially the Waverly plume salts and the Lariat one-light candlestick. With all the above said, the book is still very helpful and should make Orchid collectors happy since it is the first time many of the pieces have been photographed and published.
McKee Kitchen Glass of the Depression Years Barbara Mauzy 160 pages. Hardbound. Schiffer Publishing. The major part of the book is divided by colors with the following being represented: black, blue, caramel, crystal, French ivory, green, pink, Seville yellow, and white. There are many wonderful examples of canisters, shakers, refrigerator containers, reamers, rolling pins, and mixing bowls. Within each listing is a variety of patterns. Each photo caption describes the items and gives a value. The last small section covers the two major dinnerware patterns made by McKeeLaurel and Rock Crystal. Laurel was made in French Ivory, Skokie Green, and Poudre Blue. Rock Crystal, while normally found in crystal, can be found in red, cobalt, pink, amber, green, blue, and vaseline. Three charts provide a detailed listing of pieces made along with a corresponding value in each color. The book has over 320 color photographs and is indexed.
Standard Encyclopedia of Millersburg Crystal Bill Edwards and Mike Carwile Collector Books, 2001. 144 pages. This qualifies as one of the Do Not Buy glass books. Let's look at the volume's strengths first. The essay and illustrations on history are acceptable, maybe even good. Images like a 1909 parade float with punch bowls that distributed punch along the parade route are wonderful and a joy to see. The end papers feature a neat, early factory image. The use of Butler Bros. illustrations are always a pleasant addition to books on glass of this era and some interesting ones appear here. Then some elements in this book are just confusing. Like a color photo of the entry sign to where John Fenton, Millersburg's driving force, is buried. The caption tells us the sign says "Village of Millersburg." But the sign shown clearly does not. At some point the book begins to seem more of a Holmesian mystery. Why is this clue there and what does it REALLY mean? Images of glass begin on page 22. Pages 25-32 are of a Jefferson catalog from Toronto, Canada where some Millersburg moulds went. Oh MY- almost a dozen examples are shown of Millersburg's signature Hobstar and Feather pattern in the Toronto Jefferson catalog. Does this mean my Millersburg glass may in fact be Canadian Jefferson!? It surely does. Millersburg glass images finally begin on page 34. Still perplexing are points made in the text like the catalogs describing an item as "full finished crystal pattern," and then we are told this indicates it "has been polished piece by piece and by hand. This was an extra step to indicate the pattern was top of the line." The very next image shows the same pattern and notes it bears the mould modification to make it read "Compliments of Bijou Theatre." Of course such advertising pieces are fun to collect and desirable. But do we not see the obvious contradiction in the identical piece and pattern being called both "top of the line" and then being given as a free premium! No doubt it is often good glass, interesting pattern sometimes, and particularly desirable when it bears advertisement. But do we really need to try to convince ourselves this is a high end product? Who is fooling whom here? Then there are the suggested values or prices. Millersburg glass may be uncommon to rare. But are there ANY circa 1905 pressed colorless glass plates in a common form worth $100? Add the Bijou Theatre and the same piece escalates, we are told, to $350. Without getting all caught up in specifics, this reviewer prices glass professionally for other vendors and while the nuances of Millersburg are not my strengths, the constant pricing of a small, crimped bon bon seems excessive at $350 (page 47). My simplest suggestion is No Way. I might feel I am writing without support for my arguments. Yet I monitored the e-bay marketplace for some months and feel affirmed in spades for my concerns. Accepting that e-bay is not the final word, I saw strong indications of low interest and low prices for Millersburg crystal. Noted is that the pieces I tracked were all listed as Millersburg, and if found un-attributed might fetch even greater bargain prices! A creamer in Ohio Star got no bids and went unsold at $9.99. This book suggests its value is $150! An Ohio Star Cider glass sold for $30 and lists in the book for $100. The Hobstar and Feather pitcher was a sale at $7.25 yet booked at $100 and was called in the text "rare." A really interesting handled nappy with advertisement sold for $20.50 when the book suggests such pieces are worth hundreds of dollars. I found the e-bay prices in line with what I would expect for interesting, colorless early 20th century pattern glass. And a small fraction of the suggested book prices. This is a harsh review. But it is a book driven by the desire to create a market and desirability. Observations at major glass shows and elsewhere support that Millersburg glass, beyond the truly desirable carnival glass, is not yet a strong market and no amount of pricing in books can move the value to these inflated prices. An amazing suggestion is that the typical use of a single mould (see page 59) being turned, crimped, folded or otherwise manipulated into a variety of Victorian forms was "Millersburg Ingenuity." This is either naïve or pompous. The practice was (and until recently continued to be) that a mould was potentially a dozen or three dozen shapes in any glass house. The illusion to this being somehow Millersburg "magic," as it is called, is fluff. Perhaps a broader view or exploration of the bigger glass industry would dispel this idea for the authors and any unfortunate readers who fall into this book. And it is this narrow view, this naiveté, that inflates both the history and the prices to superman proportions when a more humble, honest telling of an otherwise worthy story would have been more credible and useful as a book. Let me add a short few closing notes: The book is sparse with at times one item shown per page. The typical layout is two items per page. The images were of dubious quality (out of focus) and the layout of bright, busy blue pages was, to these eyes, a great distraction. There is simply not enough glass shown to make a good or desirable book (two patterns fill 55 of the pages, almost half of the book!). While these authors do well with several other topics and those books should be on your shelf, this is, for many reasons, one you can do without. Do not buy this book. Buy something else by the same authors, but not this one!
Share the Vision—The Morgantown Etching Plates Larry Baker and Bert Kennedy Privately published. 215 pages, spiral bound. Order from: Bert Kennedy, 12700 Eastgate, Mesquite, TX 75181-2002 This long-awaited book on Morgantown Etchings was well worth the wait. Existing Morgantown etching plates were cleaned and photographed to illustrate this book. In the cases of some incomplete etchings, computer enhancement was done to make a more recognizable image. The book is divided into two main chapters: Decorative Etchings and Client Etchings. Decorative Etchings comprise the etchings done by the company on its wares. Client Etchings are those done for commercial customers using their designs. This division is very helpful in visualizing the scope of Morgantown etchings. The Decorative Etchings show many etchings that have had researchers wondering about for years, but also show many not yet found on glass—making the hunt exciting. The lists are alphabetical. If there is any shortcoming to the listings, it is that there are no notations given for names that are company names and those given by researchers. In the history of companies, original names are important and need to be preserved and noted. However, this is a small complaint considering the massive amount of information contained in this book It is always a challenge for authors to present material in a usable form. These two authors have succeeded in doing this very well. Much of Morgantown’s history has not been preserved in catalogs or advertisements, so it was necessary to document these decorations. Documenting known company etchings will also help to identify actual glass items made by the company. The etchings help collectors identify new, previously undocumented pieces. Thus, this book provides a double identification tool for collectors and researchers. This is an excellent book to add to your library.
PyrexThe Unauthorized Collector’s Guide Revised 4th Edition Barbara Mauzy 175 pages. Softbound. Schiffer Publishing. This new 4th edition would make a nice addition to your library. Shapes and uses are shown alongside original ads and packaging. The book is organized into five chapters: Pyrex Ovenware, Pyrex Flameware, Pyrex Colors, Pyrex Technical Glassware, and Pattern Identification. For me, the best part was the last chapter that gave all the pattern names and showed a closeup shot of each pattern. Just having a pattern name will greatly enhance being able to find a particular piece. This should prove to be a very handy book. Pyrex was introduced in 1915 and Flameware was introduced over 20 years later and was made until 1979. A huge variety of coffeepots were made. The most vibrant chapter is the Pyrex Colors section. The pattern identification is a new chapter in this edition. Over 50 different patterns are now identified with original company names. An additional 13 unknown patterns are shown that the authors are still looking for original names. The book has over 450 color photos. All captions are detailed with descriptions of each item along with values.
Shattered Dick Francis G.P. Putnam's Sons 2000. (paperback Jove edition 2001) Here is a rare treat in that it is popular fiction built around the themes of horse racing and studio glass! It is a respectable read just for fun (a New York Times bestseller!) BUT the use of a studio glass artist as the main character in the book ads a special perk for all of us who love glass. And, with a skeptical eye, I report that the language and the references to making glass, the studio and all things glass related seem very right. If you love glass allow your self this indulgence into a Who-done-it that spins around a glass artist and his studio. [Another voice] This Francis doesn't have enough glass for a glass addict, but it has far more glass than horse, a departure for Mr. Francis. He obviously spend a fair amount of time in a hot shop and has a feeling for the workers of glass.
Slag & Marble GlassThe Prominent Years 1959-1985 Nathan Taves & Don Jennings 176 pp. Softbound. Full color. Schiffer Publications, Atglen, PA. This book concentrates on slag glass produced by four major companiesImperial Glass, Westmoreland Glass, LG Wright Glass and Fenton Art Glass. The book is divided into these four major categories and within each chapter, subcategories such as covered animal dishes, vases, bowls, and others are grouped together. Readers will be pleased with the excellent photography and the good color reproduction in the book. An added help are notes about pieces known to exist but were unavailable for photography. This gives the reader a comprehensive idea of what items are available to collect. Captions include the names of pieces, sizes, and company line numbers when known and values. The authors begin by defining the term slag glass and giving some other names by which it is known. They also go into good detail describing how slag glass is made. This helps the reader to understand the wide variations in the swirling patterns distinctive in slag glass. The photography in the book is excellent, and most collectors will find this book quite helpful (and colorful!). The authors accurately indicate the use of Heisey molds by Imperial Glass, but do not follow up with the molds used from other companies, e.g. molds of US Glass and Duncan & Miller by Fenton. This information would have been helpful to collectors.
Murano Magic: Complete Guide to Venetian Glass, its History and Artists Carl I. Gable Schiffer, Publishing Co. 2004. Oversized format (9 ½ X 12), hardcover and beautiful Big, Bold, Expensive, Nice. This is a good treatment of the diverse firms producing Italian glass In the 19th and 20th centuries. I encountered some difficulty in following the numerous and lengthy firm names and keeping them untangled as I read. The organization is not just like a family tree, but actual line drawing of family descents are commonly used. These aid greatly in making sense of the complex story and the many interconnections. The photography is generally stunning, with a few less impressive examples—Buzzi for Venini photo at page 124 being one not so good example of the imagery. Overall there is no fault with the photos, which, by necessity, have come from an amazing number of sources and are well credited. As a reviewer I cannot comment on the scholarship, it being far from my field of knowledge; but it appears thorough, well presented and organized. I found the biographies, which are a major part of the text, interesting but would have preferred more information on the glass. What special types of objects or what process was most employed by certain firms—I read who made it and saw some inspiring examples—but were these typical (probably not) – what was typical production? Few catalog illustrations if any exist. Group shots would have helped me as a novice to grasp the type of production, of influences, of a designer or master glass blowers. I would have enjoyed a view of the glasshouses themselves: where do these men work and where do these objects come from? A few of those images would have answered some of my points of curiosity. But I am struggling to find positive critical points. Overall it is beautiful, complex and a reference work bound to be a standard, widely quoted for generations to come. My conclusion: not necessarily for the casual glass collector who has a beginner’s interest in the subject; a must for the middle to advanced collectors, curators, and the serious art glass buyer. Well done.
Tiffany Desk Sets William R Holland Schiffer Publications 2008. Hardbound & full color. 280 pages. At first glance the glass collector will say there is little to interest him in this book. However, on closer inspection, he will find that many of the primarily metal desk objects, including lamps, have glass components. The book is lavishly illustrated with large, color photographs. Details are easily seen and make it possible to identify items quickly. The book covers 24 different desk set patterns. The author does not give values for items, citing the changing market value. However, he does assign a rarity rating from one to seven depending on what he feels will be the time frame in which an item might come on the market. Surprising to most collectors will be the fact that most, if not all, of the glass in the desk sets was not made by Tiffany but by the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Co of Kokomo, IN. Probably the most helpful to collectors are the Master List of Tiffany Studios Items and the Master List of Tiffany Furnace Items. The lists use the original Tiffany number designations for items. The glass enthusiast will appreciate and use the list for Tiffany Furnace Items as most of the glass items are listed here, including much Favrile. While the book is expensive, it should be a must for anyone interested in Tiffany.
Victorian Glass Novelties Jo & Bob Sanford 192 pages. Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA. Hardbound. Following a brief introduction, this book begins with a 39-page chapter devoted to the manufacturers of Victorian novelties. The authors have given brief histories of almost 60 glass companies. These histories are abundantly illustrated with original catalog reprints and ads featuring novelties in glass The remainder of the book is devoted to glass novelties, all illustrated in color photographs. The photographs are grouped according to type, such as transportation items, animals, people, etc. Because of the authors’ access to several collections of rarities, many of these are presented that are only occasionally seen. It is a treat to see all of these together in one volume. This is the first book since the 1948 book by Bessie Lindsey, Lore of Our Land Pictured in Glass (reprinted in 1968 as American Historical Glass) to focus on the figurals and novelties made by US companies. The only things the book lacks are chapter designations of types of novelties and an index. Both or either of these would make the book easier to use. However, this should not deter anyone from adding this book to his library. It is a well-done volume showing many items not illustrated in any other reference currently available. The authors should be commended for doing in-depth research on this topic and making it available to collectors.
Viking Glass 1944-1970 Dean Six Schiffer Publishing. Soft Bound, Full Color. 160 pages. This book is the first devoted to the products of this interesting company. A delight for the eyes, it contains brilliant colors throughout. The Viking Glass Co.’s vivid array of colors offers a wide range of beautiful items for the collector. The cover gives the reader a tantalizing taste of the color range of this company. The Viking Glass Co. of New Martinsville, WV is the successor, both in location and glass patterns, of the New Martinsville Glass Co., well known for many years as a producer of fine glassware for the table. While Viking continued making some of the old New Martinsville patterns, several new ones were introduced by this energetic company. Probably due to the post World War II lifestyles, the products of Viking are mainly decorative items rather than tableware service, although both were produced at Viking. This book is well arranged by type of item, that is, animals, baskets, candlesticks, tableware and so forth. This arrangement makes it easy for the user to locate his particular piece of glass for identification. The introductory color section is a great help in identifying Viking colors. Most colors are shown and others are accurately described using the original company names for them. A chapter is devoted to the decorations such as etchings and cuttings done at Viking. Another very helpful chapter is one devoted to look-alikes, or as the author calls them, “confusibles and want-to-be’s.” Similar shapes and colors help define just what is and what is not Viking glass Period ads, original catalog pages, and other visual presentations add to the information contained in the book. The history section makes clear the transition from New Martinsville Glass to Viking Glass. The author, Dean Six, has succeeded in focusing attention on this heretofore little recognized glass company. Now is the time to start looking for this Swedish-influenced, brightly colored glassware of fine quality.