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Four Examples of Imperial Free Hand Art Glass

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    Posted 6 years ago

    VioletOrange
    (125 items)

    Imperial Glass Company (1904-1984) of Bellaire, Ohio made Free Hand Ware for less than two years. Free Hand was introduced in 1923. A June 7th, 1923 article in the Crockery & Glass Journal heralded "New Imperial Line Rivals World's Finest Glassware" and a design patent for the FH paper label was obtained on December 12th, 1923.

    This art glass was the fulfillment of the two decade dream of Victor Wicke, President of Imperial from 1910 until his death in 1929. His goal was to add a profitable "art glass" line to Imperial's prodigious output of utilitarian wares. Wicke was always attuned to the public's ever-changing tastes in glassware. He was a sophisticated business man as well. Knowing that Quezal was using skilled immigrants to create art glass similar to that of the great European glass houses, e.g. Loetz Witwe & Sons, he wanted to compete for a share of that market. He reasoned that retail store buyers would "Buy American" if they not only got a comparable quality product, but also got it cheaper and quicker than shipments from Europe.

    Although of artistic merit, Free Hand was not a financial success and production stopped in December, 1924.

    Free Hand decors can be grouped into thirteen categories: Abstract, Cut Crystal, Drag Loop, “King Tut”, Leaf & Vine, Lily Pad & Vine, Verre de Soie, Mirrored, Lustred , Stretch, Threaded, Spider Webbing and Undocumented

    The four examples shown here are:
    1. Free Hand #247, “Leaf & Vine” Décor, 8.75 inches tall
    2. Free Hand # Unknown, “Abstract” Décor, 8.25 inches tall
    3. Free Hand #10, “Lustred” Décor (with Carnival Glass colors), 8.00 inches tall
    4. Free Hand # Unknown, “Leaf & Vine” Décor, 6.5 inches tall

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    Comments

    1. inky inky, 6 years ago
      I really like the examples you have shown..thank you!...:-)
    2. VioletOrange VioletOrange, 6 years ago
      inky, Thanks for your comments
    3. inky inky, 6 years ago
      Very informative..always wanting to learn...thank youuu!...:-)
    4. LOUMANAL LOUMANAL, 6 years ago
      Hi VioletOrange! I love that Green "Fishscale" one the most!! RER
    5. VioletOrange VioletOrange, 6 years ago
      Loumanal, It's a very unusual/rare one. I particularly like the green rim.
    6. LoetzBuddies LoetzBuddies, 6 years ago
      Yummmm.
    7. VioletOrange VioletOrange, 6 years ago
      Weirdpuckett,
      2. Free Hand # Unknown, “Abstract” Décor has the FH label; the others do not. Most pieces no longer have them - but pieces with the FH label did turn up from time to time.

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