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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Lucas, Ottawa Counties under severeToledo Blade, September 3rd
The University of Toledo versus Stony Brook football game is under a weather delay nine seconds into the second quarter Thursday at the Glass Bowl. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo. The National Weather Service in Cleveland ...Read more
What's Happening for September (UPDATED Sept. 3)SunHerald.com, September 2nd
Will display paintings, fused glass, jewelry, pottery and photography of interpretations of Don McLean's lyrics. Refreshments and music. .... Beautiful Women's event: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Northwood Church, 14281 O'Neal Road, Gulfport. Designed for young ...Read more
Key penalty turns tide as Raiders roll past PauldingThe Paulding County Progress, September 1st
Jim Bowers/Paulding CountyProgress 6541 Paulding's Zach Buchman #15 tries to get past Wayne Trace's Noah Glass #44 last Friday night in the Black Swamp Bowl. .... The Rams walloped Liberty Center 33-3 and Ayersville rolled past Northwood 27-7...Read more
Friday's ScoresSFGate, August 28th
Greensville County 41, Weldon, N.C. 14. Gretna 40, Randolph Henry 8. Grundy 30, Twin Valley 8. GW-Danville 60, Raleigh Athens Drive, N.C. 0. Halifax County 38, Patrick County 18. Harrisonburg 14, E.C. Glass 0. Heritage (Leesburg) 55, James Wood 21...Read more
N&O roundup: East Chapel Hill snaps its losing streakNews & Observer, August 28th
Charlotte Latin 48, Northwood 13: The Chargers fell to 0-2 on the season. East Wake 40, Fike 27: The ... George Washington (Va.) 60 Athens Drive 0: The visiting Eagles from Danville, Va., were up 40-0 at half thanks in part to N.C. State recruit Tim Glass...Read more
Cupertino Blotter: Two juvenile suspects cited for stealing items from a storeMilpitas Post, August 26th
Theft--Aug. 15, 5:13 p.m. Penegrast Avenue. A glass water pipe, $1,200 cash and various items were reported stolen some time between Aug. 12 and Aug. 17. Theft--Aug. 15, 4:28 p.m. ... 12, 11:25 p.m. Northwood Drive. On Aug. 10 two suspects entered a...Read more
Grand Rapids-Area College Football TalentMLive.com, August 24th
Houston Glass, Buffalo; Elliot Jordan, Western Michigan; John Keenoy, Western Michigan; Ricky May, Hope; Kaelin McKenzie, Alma; Phil Morrow, Michigan Tech; Jose Rodriguez, Albion. FOREST HILLS CENTRAL -- Hunter Folkertsma, Bowling Green; Ben...Read more
Rosie O'Donnell Picks Up West Palm Beach Waterfront SpreadVariety, August 7th
enemy of real estate tycoon and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump — shelled out $4.975 million for a waterfront residence, along with the vacant parcel next door, in the affluent and gay-friendly West Palm Beach nabe of Northwood...Read more