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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Northwood Acorn Burrs Antique Carnival Art Glass Complete 8 Pc. Punch Set~green!Northwood Peacock At The Fountain Antique Carnival Fruit Bowl~electric Purple!!!Northwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Glass ~banded~ Cologne Bottle~purple!Very Very Old Oriental Poppy Carnival Glass Pitcher 1911 -1912Antique Northwood Singing Birds Marigold Carnival Glass Covered Butter DishNorthwood White Drapery Vase Carnival GlassWow! Northwood Carnival Glass Grape Cable Candlesticks Holder Marigold Northwood Grape & Cable Stippled Variant Ruffled Bowl - Black Amst.Northwood Carnival Glass Stippled Three Fruits Lavander Ftd Bowl ~ Super ColorAntique Northwood Singing Birds Marigold Carnival Glass SpoonerKiller ~ Carnival Glass - Northwood Tree Trunk Amethyst/purple 9" VaseGorgeous Northwood Tropical Pink Grape & Cable Carnival Glass Punch Set...outstaFantastic ~ Northwood Carnival Art Glass Corn Vase~plain Base~ice Green~superb!Northwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Art Glass Tobacco Humidor~marigold!Carnival Super Pair Of Green Grape And Cable Powder JarsThree Fruits Medallion - Electric Northwood Amethyst Carnival Glass Ruffled BowlUlt Rare Purple With Ele Irr Carnival Northwood Tricorner Wishbone Bowl Color!!Northwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Art Glass Ftd Banana Boat~marigold! Northwood Singing Birds Antique Carnival Art Glass Spooner~marigold~fantastic!Northwood Strawberry Carnival Glass Plate, Pce, Great Heavy Spray, No Reserve!Superb ~ Northwood Hearts & Flowers Antique Carnival Glass Compote~ Aqua OpalAntique Northwood Singing Birds Carnival Glass Creamer MarigoldAntique Northwood Green Three Fruits Carnival Glass Pie Crust Edge BowlSpectacular Northwood Stippled Blue Slag Good Luck Carnival Glass Pce BowlNorthwood Three Fruits Electric Cobalt Blue 9" Stippled Plate Excellent!!Northwood Hearts And Flowers Marigold Carnival Glass BowlOutstanding Colorful Northwood Amethyst Wishbone Carnival Glass Ruffled BowlGrape & Cable, Center Piece Bowl, Northwood ? Excellent ConditionNorthwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Art Glass Spooner~purple~spectacular!Rare Collection Of Six Carnival Glass Bushel Baskets- Northwood Northwood Grape And Cable ~ Antique Carnival Glass ~ Hatpin Holder AmethystNorthwood Nippon Ruffled Bowl - MarigoldNorthwood Poppy Pickle Dish - Pumpkin MarigoldAntique Marked Northwood Amethyst Carnival Glass Three Fruits Berry BowlNorthwood ~stippled~ Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Two Handled Bon Bon~green!Northwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Art Glass Covered Cracker Jar~purple! Rare Purple With Electric Irr Carnival Northwood Nippon Bowl Full Of Color!!Killer! Northwood Carnival Glass - Fruits And Flowers - Electric Blue - BonbonNorthwood Three Fruits Medallion Antique Carnival Dome Ftd Ruffled Bowl~white!Vintage Northwood Amethyst Grape & Cable Carnival Glass Powder Jar No LidNorthwood Bushel Basket 8-sided, Ribbed Handles, Carnival Glass, No Reserve!Carnival Incredible Purple Northwood Raspberry Gravy Boat Super Iridescence Antique Northwood Carnival Glass, Tree Trunk Vase, Marked With N In A CircleAntique Northwood Grape & Gothic Arches Custard Nutmeg Glass Goblet Tumbler!!!Northwood Carnival Glass Grape & Cable Punch BaseLarge Frank M Whiting Sterling Silver Bowl 10" Across 8.8 Oz.Pretty ~ Northwood Grape And Cable ~ Carnival Glass ~ 3 Piece Table Set ~purple Carnival Glass Amethyst Four Northwood Berry BowlsNorthwood Grape & Cable Stippled Pce Variant Bowl - MarigoldOld Northwood Amethyst "three Fruits" Carnival Glass BowlNorthwood Amethyst "lustre Flute" Carnival Glass HatSet 4 Vintage Northwood Marigold Grape And Cable Sherbet Bowlsthey Bold ColorNorthwood Carnival Glass Grape & Cable Stippled Punch Base Antique Blue White Opalescent Basket Weave Glass Pitcher / CreamerNorthwood Rainbow Compote, Amethyst Carnival Glass, Great Example! No Reserve!Northwood Grape & Cable Antique Carnival Art Glass Two Sides Up Plate~purple!Northwood Purple Amethyst Carnival Memphis Pattern Punch Bowl Base And 2 CupsAntique Northwood Carnival Glass 9" Bowl Amethyst Grape And Cable, Grape & CableNorthwood Carnival Cherry In Pear Pattern Basket Weave DishRare Northwood Scarcedarkamethyst Singing Birds Carnival Glass Mug Beautiful Cup