Harry Northwood, son of esteemed English cameo glass maker John Northwood, came to the United States in 1880. He first worked for Hobbs, Brockunier and Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, for five years, getting hands-on experience in the glassmaking trade. After a brief stint as manager at La Belle Glass Company of Bridgeport, Ohio, he moved on to Buckeye Glass Company of Martin's Ferry, Ohio.
Finally, in 1896, he struck out on his own, forming the Northwood Company in Indiana, Pennsylvania, where he introduced his famous Northwood custard glass. Between 1899 and 1901, Northwood joined the National Glass Combine, but because of that group's financial problems, Northwood left to manufacture independently again. In 1902, Northwood purchased the old Hobbs, Brockunier plant and started to make his glass in two factories.
It was one Northwood's students, Frank L. Fenton, who came up with the techniques for iridizing glass, in which a piece of pressed glass is sprayed with metallic salts while it is still hot to give it a color-changing shimmer. His Fenton Glass Company of Williamston, West Virginia, introduced this "iridescence ware" or "Poor Man's Tiffany" in 1907. Today it is known as carnival glass.
Even though Fenton's product was not a smashing success, Northwood quickly followed in his footsteps, introducing its own iridescent ware called Golden Iris, which was known for its marigold color. Waterlily and Cattails, Cherry and Cable, and Valentine were among some of Northwood's early carnival glass patterns.
Unfortunately, most customers at the time didn't see iridescent ware as top-notch glass since it was so cheap to make, and they refused to pay good money for it. That's why these shimmering glass pieces—from vases and pitchers to goblets and candy bowls—were given away as prizes at carnivals, or as promotions at movie theaters or in grocery stores. Still, this supposed failure turned into a lucrative business for many companies.
Northwood succeeded because it was innovative, experimenting with splatter patterns and previously unseen colors. While all pieces of carnival glass appear to contain multiple colors, iridized glass tends to be identified by the base color of the glass that's treated. Northwood invented many signature colors for its iridized glass, including amethyst, cobalt blue, and green, as well as in pastels, ice blue and ice green, and white. Its esteemed marigold color, however, was an exception to the glass-color-naming convention: It was made by spraying clear glass with an orange-metallic color.
One of Northwood's most popular patterns is Grape and Cable. It was in such high demand, many mold variations were made, and it can be found in plain or stippled. The standard de...
In one variation, a large band replaces the cable—these rare pieces are highly sought by collectors. These include a hatpin holder in amethyst, blue, or marigold, a fruit bowl, a banana boat in marigold, green, blue, or aqua, and a dresser tray in marigold. Another variant found on ruffled bowls or rare double hand-grip plates features one leaf in the center of the circle instead of the four small ones. Colors include amethyst, green, blue, ice blue, aqua opalescent, smoke, and marigold. Grape and Gable with Thumbprint, meanwhile, is seen in berry sets, table sets, cookie jars, tobacco humidors, ruffled hat whimsies, and a water set.
Another well-received Northwood pattern is called Good Luck, which came in bowls and plates. It had a horseshoe in the middle and the words "GOOD LUCK" around the top of the center circle, surrounded by a floral pattern. Good Luck had three variants, could be stippled or unstippled, and usually had ribs or a basketweave texture on the back.
Collectors also love Northwood's peacock patterns, including Peacocks (or Peacocks on a Fence) found on bowls and plates; Peacock and Urn, found on a chop plate, an ice cream set, a large ruffled bowl, and a small plate; and Peacock at the Fountain, which was used on pitchers, tumblers, bowls, water sets, punch sets, table sets, berry sets, butter dishes, and creamers.
One of Northwood's most esteemed creations is its Tree Trunk vase, which came in five sizes, several design variations, and multiple colors. These vases range from 5-to-22-inches tall and are called, in order of smallest to largest, "squat," "standard," "mid-size," "elephant's foot," and "funeral." These come in marigold, amethyst, green, cobalt blue, ice blue, ice green, white, teal, aqua opalescent, lime green, marigold in custard—particularly rare is a vase with an iridized blue slag treatment.
Though widely copied, Northwood pieces can be identified by a circled or underlined “N.” The company went out of business in 1925, eight years after the founder's death.
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CRIME LOG: Northwood Man Arrested While Prowling at Penuche'sPatch.com, March 10th
Brian J. York, 34, of Northwood, was arrested at 3:56 a.m. on Feb. 8, and charged with prowling and possession of controlled drugs. 10, on Modena Drive involving a glass coffee pot. Defosses turned herself in to police and had a court date on March 10...Read more
Pioneer Previews: Bohemia on tap at First LutheranBemidji Pioneer, March 8th
The sessions are from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Northwood Bank Community Room, Northwood Bank, Highway 24 at County 6, Park Rapids. A free will donation is appreciated. Saturday. •Balachine's “Jewels” as danced by a premiere classical ballet company, The ...Read more
TV host presents home remodeling seminar at home showMason City Globe Gazette, March 8th
He said nowadays there are gloves made just for handling cardboard boxes or glass. Kent Mitcher, of Northwood, was one of those who attended the seminar. Mitcher used to be a full-time carpenter and still does it part time. Even with his level of...Read more
LIVE UPDATES - Forest Green v Cambridge United and Histon v North FerribyCambridge News, March 8th
5.20pm - Other full time scores: AFC Totton 3 Cambridge City 2, Truro City 2 St Neots Town 3, Slough 1 St Ives 0, Northwood 3 Royston Town 1, Soham 4 Maldon & Tiptree 2. 5.15pm 4.23pm - Still 1-0 to North Ferriby at the Glass World. Meanwhile Jake ...Read more
Histon loan ranger Matty Waters is enjoying spell with St Ives TownCambridge News, March 6th
A dream debut for the Calor League, Division One Central outfit against Leighton Town saw him grab a goal and earn the man-of-the-match accolade, and he followed that up with a hat-trick in the 5-4 defeat at home to Northwood last weekend. Anyone who...Read more
CalendarTallahassee Democrat (blog), March 6th
“Visitors”: Filmmaker Godfrey Reggio (“Koyaanisqatsi”) and composer Philip Glass are back together again when the Tallahassee Film Festival and FAME present the trance-like, meditative movie.A special live musical performance of a Philip Glass piece...Read more
Northwood men determined to avoid another one-and-done showing at GLIAC ...Midland Daily News, March 3rd
Senior forwards Wes Wilcox and Darvin Ham scored 31 points and 25 points, respectively, as Northwood stormed back from a 19-point second-half deficit to edge Walsh 91-88 in overtime in North Canton on Dec. 12. Rekeweg said he hopes his “His effort...Read more
A big glass of thank youKIMT, February 28th
NORTHWOOD, Iowa – It's a great night for Northwood Fire Chief Rick Hanson and his crew. Not only are they enjoying a few beers with each other on a Friday night and the drinks are for free. “We couldn't believe it. Matter of fact I had some guys...Read more