UNIQUE AND SPECIAL PURPOSE STRETCH GLASS EXPLORED ON FEBRUARY 11, 2016
The discussion of unique and special purpose stretch glass on February 11, 2016 included Mary Elder & Reg, Joanne, Bob, Gary, Michael, Charlie, Jeff, Roger, Cal, Dave, Russell & Kitty. It was a lively and informative discussion.
The Velva Rose Cupsidor/Spittoon is a rare example of stretch glass. A nearly identical one is known in Celeste Blue, but these are the only two of this shape of which we are aware at this time. Dave mentioned that this is made from the Fenton #647 mold but apparently a larger gather of glass was used for these than for the bowls made from this mold as the spittoons are quite heavy with extra glass in the base to keep them from tipping over. Kitty commented that they could be used for weight lifting! These spittoons do not appear in the Fenton catalog, but it is possible that they were made “in the line” since we are now aware of two examples in the same shape and size. We thank Mary Elder and Reg for sharing photos of this item.
Russell & Kitty led the discussion of car vases noting that most were made by Diamond Glass Company with a few also made by Jeanette with a marigold-embossed exterior (not stretch glass). Diamond made vases with both cupped and flared tops as well as other shapes. Some of the Diamond vases were apparently made for Benzer, an after-market auto parts company, since some of the vases have the Benzer name on them. These vases are typically cupped in at the top. The car vases were originally sold in pairs; Russell & Kitty mentioned that they are known in original boxes with the metal mounting brackets and paper flowers. Cobalt blue is the rarest color in stretch glass and is hard to find. They were also made in green, topaz, crystal, blue and wisteria stretch glass. The vases typically have an indentation for the set screw in the mounting which holds the vase in place when it is mounted in a car.
Next we turned our attention to Bath and Vanity items. Cal pointed out that Fenton made a wide variety of these items in many shapes and sizes and a wide range of stretch glass colors. The cologne with the diamond optic interior is among the hardest to find. Dave mentioned that a matching powder puff jar with diamond optic interior is known to have been made by Fenton, but it has not been found in stretch glass.We discussed the “flower top” stoppers which appear in colognes and bath salt jars. The stoppers were sometimes painted by Fenton while at other times they are in the matching color of stretch glass. Charlie reported that a Celeste Blue tall cologne with a painted flower top stopper is known as well as Topaz one pictured. Items with the flower top are hard to find and often command a premium price.
Dave commented that most of the vanity items are available with any of the four stoppers: wafer, nipple, pagoda or flower top. To collect all or most items in all or most of the colors with all of the stoppers would be a significant challenge.
We also noted that some of the colognes, powder puffs and trays have a more pronounced diamond optic interior treatment. Refer to the photos or to American Iridescent Stretch Glass for examples of both diamond optic treatments.
In addition to the items made by Fenton we noted that US Glass made a pin tray (which is sometimes referred to as an ash tray).
Next we turned our attention to smoking items – clearly a line of very specialized items made in stretch glass. Smoking was very much in vogue in the vintage stretch glass period and Diamond, Fenton and Northwood made items to accommodate smokers ranging from cigarette holders and boxes to ashtrays and match holders. Some of the cigarette holders and boxes are available for purchase today while most of the ashtrays and match holders are much more difficult to find. It should be noted that the Fenton ashtray set is really 5 pieces – the basic ashtray and the 4 inserts. The basic ashtrays in Celeste Blue and Topaz are available but finding the complete set of inserts is much more of a challenge. The square US Glass ashtray is a rare item as is the Diamond match holder.
We talked about the selection of nut sets and the related salt dips noting that the individual Fenton nut cups and salt dips are from the same mold with different shaping. It is also to be noted that the Fenton master nut dish is from the same mold as their Mayonnaise comport. The Northwood nut set in Russet is the most difficult to acquire. It was noted that the “pen holder” is often referred to, and collected, as a toothpick. The four-flared pen holder is believed to be a whimsey, not an item that was “in the line” at Fenton.
Dave led the discussion of the center-handled servers noting that the lemon server in Topaz is often found with the painted decoration as shown. The lemon server is also known in Celeste Blue, Velva Rose, Persian Pearl, Wisteria, Marigold, Florentine Green and Tangerine. Most of the servers other than Topaz are not decorated. He also mentioned that the Topaz lemon server was sometimes sold with a lemon fork.
Next in size is the butter ball try, available in round and oval shapes. Dave noted that Tangerine oval butter ball servers are found more often than other colors. The dolphin center handled butter ball server is known in Celeste Blue, Velva Rose and Florentine Green but not in other colors, with Celeste Blue being quite rare.
Moving on to center handled sandwich servers and fruit servers, Dave noted that these were made by a number of companies with the sandwich servers being more common than the fruit servers, which are not available in all colors. Again Dave mentioned that finding center-handled sandwich servers and center handled fruit bowls in all colors would be quite an undertaking.
We then reviewed a few other special purpose items including the Imperial and US Glass bread trays and the assortment of Cheese & Cracker sets which were made by a number of companies in a number of colors and finishes, including some with decoration and others with cuttings. Bob mentioned that he recently used his Russet cheese & cracker set to serve shrimp cocktail and it was very attractive and functional. We all agreed that this was a great example of how vintage stretch glass can be used for entertaining today.