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 i...
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 design for plates and bowls has four smaller leaves around a circle center, surrounded by four larger leaves and four grape clusters.
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.
Interviews & Articles
My mother was our inspiration for collecting pattern glass. She collected it, and she died at a very young age. My sister and I in… [more]
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Pattern Glass School
Clubs & Associations: Glassware
Discussion Forums: Glassware
Other Great Reference Sites: Glassware
Top eBay Auctions
Recent News: Northwood Glass
Source: Google News
Police plan to shine a light on park yobsThis is Staffordshire, May 10th
Officers want to put in solar-powered lights at Northwood Park to stop youths gathering in the area. . PROBLEMS: Northwood Park. It follows complaints from residents 1. 'There was lots of broken glass, and black scorch marks': Weston... Thumbnail...Read more
Chasing the DreamMorning Star, May 5th
Division 2 schools that have already confirmed they'll be in attendance include Grand Valley, Ferris State, Hillsdale, Saginaw Valley, Northwood and Wayne State according to Childress. "My partner and I felt like northern Michigan was being overlooked...Read more
Prep tennis playoffs; Carrboro is biggest winner in 1st, 2nd roundsDurham Herald Sun, May 3rd
Erik Lutz/Isaac Lutz (Cedar Ridge) 6-2, 6-4; Chris Cole/Zafer Estill (Northwood) d, Stephen Worley/Jackson Sherron (North Johnston) 6-2, 6-2; Paul Flournoy/Jake Zinn (Carrboro) d. Austin Glass/Rohit Das (Raleigh Charter) 6-2, 6-2. 2nd Round, Mu...Read more
Music, chocolate and even Renaissance poetry all on tap At The Shore TodayPress of Atlantic City, May 3rd
N.J. Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory, Research and Education Center, 600 Route 47, Middle Township, and Northwood Center on Lily Lake, Cape May Point, birding trips, $10 show and go: Belleplain State Forest, 7:30 a.m., meet at forest office; Rea...Read more
Community CalendarHometownlife.com, April 29th
You'll enjoy wine, food, auctions, a hilarious dog-themed comedy act and your very own wine glass and wine charm to take home. This is the group's biggest fundraising event of the year. All proceeds go directly to saving Celebrate A Century of...Read more
Auctions: Hank Aaron card fetches $210Lancaster Newspapers, April 28th
hanging Tiffany-type slag-glass lights, $170 and $120; a forged anvil, $190; a Victorian pram, $325; a Yard-Man snowblower, $160; a lady's slant-front desk and chair, $140; a two-piece tool box on wheels, $140; a star quilt, $120; a Northwood...Read more
16 city primary schools to share £5m cash boostThis is Staffordshire, April 26th
The extra places are being created at Etruscan Primary, Etruria; Sneyd Green Primary; Stoke Minster; Whitfield Valley Primary, Fegg Hayes; Grove Primary, Northwood; Burnwood Primary, Chell Heath; Newstead Primary; Crescent Academy, Meir; and at Weston...Read more
Inspiration from the East for architecture winnerIsle of Wight County Press, April 26th
MALABAR was named winner of the RIBA 2013 new build award at Northwood House on Friday. The house, in West Street, Ryde, was said by Lindsay Mattinson, chairman of the Isle of Wight branch of the Royal "The brickwork extends to the elegant...Read more