Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jefferson “Northwood Block” Pattern Celery Vase

This pattern features perpendicular lines that form a grid on the middle section of a curved vase. The vase narrows at the top and then widens into a ruffle. This vase measures 6 inches tall, with 3 1/4 inch round base and 3 ½ inches across the white opalescent frit.

There is an area on one of the block ridges that has a smeared appearance and is rough to the touch and also some scratches on the bottom of the vase. Once thought to be a Northwood product and even known as "Northwood Block," this vase pattern has been attributed to Jefferson in recent years after being found in old Jefferson advertisements. Jefferson issued Block vases were produced between 1900 and 1907 in clear, white, blue, green and canary colors.

The Jefferson Glass Company of Steubenville, Ohio, circa 1900-1906. To date, there are no comprehensive guides on the history of the Jefferson, a glassworks that produced wonderful and original pressed glass novelty items, and which exerted enduring influence on the Northwood glass company and invented several patterns Northwood used in carnival glass. By far, the best summary of the history of Jefferson Glass can be found in David A. Peterson's Vaseline Glass: Canary to Contempory (2002), pp. 181-184.

According to Peterson, the Jefferson Glass Company was founded in 1900 by four partners -- Harry Barstow, George Mortimer, Grant Fish and J.D. Sinclair. Initially the company was located in Steubenville, Ohio, the county seat of Jefferson County, from which the company took its name. The company remained in Steubenville until 1907. From 1900-1906, Jefferson specialized in the making of opalescent pressed glass. An early advertisement Jefferson placed in the December 13, 1900 Crockery & Glass Journal proclaimed that their opalescent glass was "better and cheaper than imported". The January, 1901 China, Glass & Pottery Review announced that "the company was formed to manufacture fancy glassware, which heretofore has had to be imported. There is nothing too fine for the Jefferson capacity."

William Heacock has chronicled Jefferson's brief history in Harry Northwood: The Wheeling Years 1901-1925 (p. 157). Heacock writes that in 1906-1907, the Jefferson Glass Company changed location to a site five miles away in Follansbee, West Virginia. Jefferson leased its old Steubenville plant to the Imperial Glass Company, but at the end of the year, the plant was destroyed in a fire. After Jefferson's relocation from Steubenville, its Follansbee site specialized in producing non-opalescent crystal until closing its doors in 1933. Jefferson also briefly operated a plant in Toronto called the Jefferson Glass Co. Ltd. of Toronto, which produced the same lines of glass as the Follansbee plant from 1912-1914.

According to Heacock, Jefferson sold many of its opalescent glass molds to the Northwood Glass Company upon relocating to Follansbee. For this reason, quite a few of Jefferson's early opalescent glass patterns are familiar to carnival glass collectors -- Vintage, Fine Cut & Roses, Meander and Ruffles & Rings are all Jefferson patterns used later on Northwood carnival glass. Many of Jefferson's opalescent vase patterns, however, vanished with company's relocation and never resurfaced in the carnival era. Jefferson's early opalescent vases thus tend to be quite distinctive and unlike anything that appeared later in a century of American glass production: EBay Review and Guides.

To view more pictures of this piece or other vintage and antique glass visit Midwest Sales Court at: http://www.tias.com/stores/midwestsalecourt/

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