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Stretch Glass: The Younger “Cousin” of Carnival Glass. By: Dave Shetlar, the BugDoc. Not “free form” art glass!. Not “swung” vases or forms!. Not “stretched” bottles!. What is stretch glass?. What is iridescent stretch glass?. Press or blown-molded. Spray iridized (doped).
The Younger “Cousin” of Carnival Glass
Dave Shetlar, the BugDoc
Not “swung” vases or forms!
Not “stretched” bottles!
What is stretch glass?
Berry Wiggins (glass historian and author) always stated that Rose Presznick said, “This glass is different from carnival glass because it has no patterns and an iridescent effect that looked like the stretch marks on a woman’s belly!!!”
The “hot metal” drops into the mold and is cut off. This produces the cut-off tail.
The mold with molten glass is pushed under the plunger which forces the glass into all parts of the mold.
The mold is pulled back, opened and the molded glass piece is “turned out.”
The molded piece is placed into a snap, a metal rod with jaws on one end that open and close.
The snapped-up piece is reheated in a glory hole.
The reheated piece is “doped” (sprayed with a metallic salt solution.
The doped piece is REHEATED (this produces the stretch effect).
After reheating, the doped piece is further shaped (this enhances the stretch effect).
The doped, reheated and shaped piece is put in the lehr to remove internal tension in the glass.
So, is iridescent stretch glass really just another form of carnival glass?
Let’s take a historical tour of
American Iridized Glass!
1881 Louis Comfort Tiffany patents his first glass lustering technique. This glass was given the name of Favrille and most was produced between 1890 and 1918.
1903 Frederick Carder establishes the Steuben Glass company in Corning, NY. Tiffany sues Steuben in 1913 claiming patent infringements through Steuben’s use of iridizing techniques. Tiffany agrees in court that Europeans had been iridizing glass before his patents and the case was settled out of court.
1902 (October) - first trade articles indicating that H. Northwood production had begun in Wheeling, WV.
1904 (January) - Dugan Glass Company, Indiana, PA began.
1904 - First Imperial Glass factory production begins in Bellaire, OH.
1907 (January) - first piece of glass comes through the Fenton Art Glass Company lehr at Williamstown, WV.
1904 - a China, Glass and Pottery Review article states that the reporter had seen “iridescent vases” and added, “Of the iridescent vases there is so great a variety of colors and shapes to choose from that one can hardly fail to make up an assortment...” This was referring to pieces that were later called Pompeian and Venetian glass, blown molded pieces infused with iridescent frit. These were well illustrated in 1905 and 1906 Dugan Glass Company advertisements.
Two Dugan Venetian vases, one in pale blue with iridized frit and milk glass frit, one emerald green with iridized frit and a darker frit.
1906 – Northwood introduces Sateena and Khedive lines, a Goofus glass.
1906 – Northwood introduces Verre D’or and Intaglio lines (painted with a liquid gold process).
1907 (January) – Dugan introduces Filigree lines - like Northwood’s lines with extensive gold decoration.
1907 - Fenton becomes the first to reach the market with dope-iridized glass, most likely late in the year. [Used names such as “Golden,” “Green,” “Royal Blue,” “Violet,” “Red or Ruby.”
1908 (probably summer or fall) – Northwood introduces Golden Iris line, most likely a marigold treatment which is described in Northwood’s notes as being made with ferric chloride.
1909 (October) – Imperial catalog page introduces first iridescent ware called Rubigold (a marigold).
1909 (December) - American Flint article states that Dugan has put out a new line called “Pearl Iris” which is “iridescent effect on opalescent,..” (=peach opalescent)
1916 (July) - Crockery and Glass Journal refers to Northwood’s “assortment of Tiffany finish glass...”
1916 (mid-year) – Imperial introduces the Art Glass Line (“Jewels” of today’s collectors): Pearl White, Pearl Ruby, Pearl Amethyst, and Pearl Green.
1917 – Fenton introduces Florentine Line with: Celeste Blue, Florentine Green, Persian Pearl, and Topaz.
1921 – Diamond introduces: Harding blue, Golden Lustre, Egyptian Lustre (with stretch glass descriptions).
Notes: Knowing when true carnival glass began production, the question still remains, “Did the glass companies differentiate stretch glass from carnival glass?” And, “Was stretch glass production at a different time than carnival glass?”
The answer to the first question is pretty obviously – yes. Most of the glass houses that produced doped ware had annual demonstrations of their new lines at the major industry glass shows, especially in Pittsburgh, PA, but also in New York and Chicago. These shows were covered by reporters that wrote articles for glass and ceramic trade magazines. In these trade magazines new lines and names were emphasized. Major wholesale distributors (mainly Butler Brothers) and mail order retailers often featured lines of glass from various companies and decorating firms, but the names used were often not the same used by the manufacturers.
By the time that stretch glass was produced, in the late 1910s into the early 1920s, many of the larger companies were producing their own, well illustrated catalogs. Catalogs, price listings and sales sheets have been found for stretch glass produced by Northwood, Imperial, Fenton, and U.S. Glass. In these documents, it is clear that the companies used different line names and color names to differentiate stretch glass.
One of the best documented companies is Fenton Art Glass, since they are still in business and have never suffered from destruction of their business records through take-overs or closings. Fenton has very good records of molds made and the years that they were used. By looking at the molds made for carnival glass it becomes clear that the hay-day of carnival production was from 1910 to 1915, but carnival molds continued to be produced and used into 1926. This answers the second question! While carnival glass production appeared to decline in the 1920s, when stretch glass dominated, both were being produced.
1907 – first doped pieces (true carnival).
1908 – 4 “carnival” molds created
1910 – 17 new carnival molds
1911 – 32 new carnival molds
1912 – 15 new carnival molds
1913 – 1 new carnival mold
1914 – 8 new carnival molds
1915 – 10 new carnival molds
1917 – 2 new carnival molds
1917 – Florentine line introduced
1918 – 2 new carnival molds
1920 – 2 new carnival molds
1921 – 3 new carnival molds
1921 – Wistaria (sic) introduced (and likely Ruby)
1925 – 3 new carnival molds
1925 – Offhand Art Glass produced (one year)
1926 – Pastel Swan mold made (last of new carnival molds)
1926 – Velva Rose introduced
1927 – Tangerine and Aquamarine introduced
1932-33 – Dope-iridized production stops
True Art Glass:
Tiffany, Steuben, Durand, etc. (1890s
Frit Iridized blown-molded glass:
Dope Iridized press-molded glass (true carnival):
Fenton: 1907 to late 1920s
Northwood: 1908 to early 1920s
Imperial: 1909 to early 1920s
Dugan/Diamond: 1909 to late 1920s
Dope Iridized press-molded glass reheated (true stretch glass):
Northwood: 1916 to 1925
Imperial: 1916 to late 1920s
Fenton: 1917 to early 1930s
Diamond: 1921 to 1931
True Art Glass:
Imperial: 1923-24 – Freehand/Lead Lustre
Fenton: 1925 – Offhand pieces
Imperial #320 “double scroll” console set in Ruby.
U.S. Glass #8076 plate & #151 candleholders in “coral”
Imperial bowl in Green Ice on stand.
Northwood custard bowl on high stand.
Fenton Velva Rose bowl on stand.
Fenton #604 punch bowls on high stands and regular black stand. In Florentine Green, Celeste Blue, and Ruby.
Stretch glass decorated pieces. Imperial handled server in Rose Ice with floral cut decoration, Central handled server with acid cut decoration and gold paint, and Lancaster bowl with enamel floral decoration under an overall enamel cover.
Imperial #727 11-inch cheese & cracker set in pink with decal decoration.
Fenton “dolphin” pieces: #1504 low bowl in Velva Rose, #1602 crimped compote in Florentine Green, #1608 compote in Aquamarine, #1533 candy jar in Topaz, #1503 “spiral optic bowl in Velva Rose, & #1533 “square” compote in Ruby.
Notes:The following pages contain examples of the colors and forms made by the major companies that produced stretch glass.
It is recommended that you use some of your own pieces of glass to show your audience the characteristics of stretch glass, its colors and forms. Nothing can take the place of up-close inspection!
Northwood’s line that included stretch glass was first called Satin Sheen. This name was used in 1916. By 1920 advertising folders used the names “Cobweb” and “Rainbow.”
Under Satin Sheen, descriptive names such as blue, and purple were used to describe “Venetian Blue” and “Royal Purple.” “Pearl” was also used, and it is assumed that this referred to a crystal stretch glass.
Under the Cobweb and Rainbow names, “Blue Iris”and “Blue Cobweb” with “Topaz Iris” and “Topaz Cobweb” were terms showing up in pamphlets. In 1921, Northwood added “Jade Blue” (an opaque, light blue glass with light iridescence), and in 1922 “Russet” (a unique yellow-green) was added. One trade reference of 1923, referred to “white” iridescent pieces with black decoration. A few rare opaque white stretch glass pieces, usually with black enamel designs have been found. By 1924, only Blue and Topaz are listed in catalog sheets as “transparent and iridescent” along with “Jade Green” and “Chinese Coral” which were not iridized.
Beyond these known names, iridized and stretched pieces of Northwood have shown up in custard (an opaque yellow), emerald green (bright, dark green), crystal and marigold on crystal.
White (opaque milk glass)
Northwood Stretch Glass Colors
Imperial used two distinctive sets of names for their “Art Glass Line” (which is often called “Jewels” by collectors), and their “Satin Iridescent Line.”
# 63 bon bon
# 64 bon bon
#62 bon bon
#65 flower bowl
smoke on pink
Imperial Satin Iridescent (“Ice”) Colors
Fenton Art Glass Company introduced their Florentine Line in 1917 with the basic colors of Celeste Blue, Florentine Green, Topaz, Grecian Gold, Persian Pearl, Ruby and Wistaria (sic). Over time, they introduced Tangerine, Royal Blue, Aquamarine, Velva Rose and Amber. These later colors were often produced for only a year or two.
Fenton Florentine Line Colors (early colors)
Fenton Florentine Line Colors (later colors)
Diamond Glassware Company had changed its name from Dugan Glass by the time they began production of stretch glass. Since we have few hard records from the Dugan-Diamond operation, most information has come from trade journal descriptions. It appears that Diamond used the term “Lustre” to refer to dope-iridized pieces, but “Rainbow Lustre” appears to have been more commonly associated with what we would call stretch glass.
Diamond Glass-Ware – stretch glass colors
U.S. Glass was actually a consortium of several glass companies and trying to pin down stretch glass production to one or more of these companies has been very difficult. To make things worse, Tiffin Glass Company became a dominant office for this company in the 1920s and 1930s and it is possible that the Tiffin company may have used molds originally belonging to other companies! Research by Berry Wiggins suggests that Factory K (King Glass in Pittsburgh, PA) may have been the major producer of the consortium’s stretch glass. This consortium produced a wide array of stretch glass colors, including unique opaque and translucent ones.
U.S. Glass – transparent stretch colors
U.S. Glass – translucent & slag stretch colors