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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How a die-hard London townie moved to Surrey and fell for the suburbsTelegraph.co.uk, November 1st
Not only its suddenly famous nightlife and music scene but the strange geometrics of the Royal Exchange Theatre, the thundering echoes of Central Library, the shining plate glass and cobbles of King Street. While my parents went shopping in Kendals...Read more
Friday's ScoresAlbany Times Union, October 31st
James Monroe 42, Spotsylvania 7. Jefferson Forest 55, E.C. Glass 14. John Champe 31, Heritage (Leesburg) 14. Kecoughtan 26, Phoebus 16. Kellam 16, Landstown 14. Kenston Forest 35, Roanoke Catholic 8. King George 40, Caroline 15. King William 49...Read more
Week 10 high school football predictionsRoanoke Times, October 30th
JEFFERSON FOREST 47, E.C. Glass 20. Jefferson Forest is two wins away from its first 10-0 regular season ... A lopsided home loss to George Wythe is the lone blemish on Northwood's slate. PH-GLADE SPRING 25, Chilhowie 24. Chilhowie could get back ...Read more
Competition remains open in Iowa's backcourtThe Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines, October 29th
IOWA CITY — There's neither pressure on nor panic from Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery as to who opens his team's exhibition against Northwood (Fla.) at 2 p.m. Sunday. ... We've got to get guys on the glass, we've got to get guys blocking out. They might...Read more
GantDaily.com Police BlotterGant Daily, October 27th
Police received a report about glass on the roadway and notified PennDOT. Police received a report about ... A 43-year-old Northwood Avenue woman reported hearing someone walking around outside her residence on Sunday. Police checked the area and ...Read more
Dispatch center upgrades plannedToledo Blade, October 26th
The dispatch office, in the police department building that connects to the municipal offices, has not been remodeled in 12 years, police Chief Tom Cairl told Northwood City Council's safety committee last week. Upgrades would create more room for...Read more
Plan It calendar: 10-23Toledo Blade, October 22nd
Electric Ballroom Dance Company: Daryl Jarvis Dance Studio, 7375 Sylvan Towne Rd., Sylvania; 283-7377 / 843-9000; Mon.: Waltz, East Coast Swing, 7-8; Tue.: Rumba, East Coast Swing, 8:30-9:30. Northwest Ohio Dance Club: Toledo Yacht Club, 3900 N...Read more
Bellarmine newcomer Kolo shatters backboardThe Courier-Journal, October 16th
The Knights' “Morning Madness,” a twist on the late-night practice kickoffs held by college teams across the county, went to half-court sets only at around 6 a.m. Wednesday after Kolo shattered some glass. ... 14 opener at Northwood University in Michigan...Read more