Posted 10 months ago
I grew up in Ohio and now live here once again. Around the beginning of the 20th Century the tri-state area of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, with its abundance of necessary raw materials and its transportation network, was the home of many, many glass and pottery companies. Although my decorative arts collecting interests are today broader than that originating in this area/time period, I am very proud of this heritage and my collections include many examples produced “locally”.
Most of the enterprises that made the "local" objects are long gone now, but one that has survived is the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio. Libbey’s origins go back to East Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of the New England Glass Company. William L. Libbey took over that company in 1878 and in 1888 Edward Drummond Libbey moved the company to Toledo, Ohio. In 1892, the name was changed to the Libbey Glass Company.
Today Libbey makes an affordable array of glassware/stemware/vases. As now, mostly functional “utilitarian” items were made in the past, but production was not exclusively so limited and indeed even some of these previously made utilitarian items can today be considered “art glass”.
Here shown are some examples, arranged chronologically:
1. A sugar and creamer set (2.5 inches tall) sold as a souvenir at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The Peachblow coloring very much reflects the New England Glass Company link.
2. A crystal vase (10 inches tall) engraved with floral and geometric designs. This vase appears in a Christmas 1919 advertisement in the National Geographic Magazine.
3. A 1933 Libbey Nash series “K-529” candy jar (10 inches tall). The crystal jar and lid have turquoise-blue filaments/threading, an optic pattern and controlled bubble stem and knob.
4. A 1933 Libbey Nash series “Silhouette” candlestick (5.25 inches tall). The candlestick has an opalescent (called “Moonstone” by Libbey) camel stem.
The Silhouette line was designed by A. Douglas Nash, a previous employee at Tiffany Furnaces in Corona, Long Island. Libbey Nash stemware in 1933 ranged from $15 to $2,500 per dozen. Adjusted for inflation, the stemware (there were several different lines), would cost $265 to $44,150 per dozen in today’s dollars (see https://www.rubylane.com/blog/Mark-Chervenka-Libbey-Silhouette-A-Menagerie-of-Stemware).
The Silhouette line was one of the least expensive lines. There are ten different animals used with thirteen different shapes, e.g. rabbit sherbet and a rabbit vase, a greyhound cordial, an elephant bowl, etc. The stems can be found not only in Moonstone but also in opaque black, frosted, and very, very rarely in ruby. Today most of these stems, when you can find them, range in price from $75 to $200 for a single stem – with a couple of the animals bringing $400-$900 each.