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Smith's Old Timer Glass

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    Posted 5 years ago

    artfoot
    (365 items)

    I am in no way an expert on this glass but I seem to be the person with access to the reference resource at the moment. It is not Czech, it is not Murano - though I often see it listed as one or the other on auction sites.

    Some of you may have noticed in my posts that I am somewhat fixated on marks so my first examples of this type of glass are marked Smith's Old Timer. Smith's Old Timer Glass Co. of Fort Smith, Arkansas was the only one of the two dozen or so related glass companies making what Curtis Martin calls OZARK ART GLASS (in his as far as I know only reference work covering this glass) that permanently marked their ware and they only marked a small percentage of their production. Becraft Glass, also of Fort Smith, made identical items to the two end pieces in the picture. An identical to the taller vase was made by the Central Glass Co. of Pocola, Oklahoma. Without the mark they are impossible, or nearly impossible, to tell apart.

    To add a time line to this type of glass (which includes the hand-pulled ware being called "Sooner" glass) - it pretty much began when Orville Hamon brought the Scott Depot Glass Co. to Pocola, Oklahoma in the early 1950s. At one point there were dozens of related glass houses in the Pocola-Spiro-Fort Smith area of the Arkansas/Oklahoma border region, sharing molds, mold-makers, and gaffers. By the 1980s, only a few companies remained, production of this sort of glass was reduced to a trickle and essentially halted by the turn of the century.

    These particular three pieces are mold-blown with crimped floriform rims. Left to right, the orange, yellow, and white vase is 7 1/2" tall and has a 5" diameter at the belly; the tall blue and green vase is 9" tall with a 3 1/2" diameter at the shoulders; the smaller vase is 6 1/2" tall with a 3" belly diameter.

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    Comments

    1. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 5 months ago
      Thank you for your accuracy in this lost ark . My grandfather is Alvin Becraft as his wife’s sister Bettyann was married to Ralph smith sr who lived a few blocks over only to move across town later. My grampy would walk to school everyday in Oklahoma where his parent moved from West Virginia Ira and Nellie anyways he would peer through windows in a glass factory and watch soon to be an employee working side by side of OC conditions got bad in Oklahoma so he came to Arkansas and built his Becraft glass factory a large tin shed in his back yard to be continued ......mrsleannb@gmail. Com Leann beaumonte Vernon
    2. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 5 months ago
      Anyways he soon had Emmitt Craig and OC (Okey)
      Working side by side in his factory which I have a video of this. Only to be leaked out there on the internet to ones who are trying to sell it. Anyways my grampy never signed his glass he actually designed but not swift enough to patent his designs like the swan the marigold the chickens the Jack and the pulpit and his decanters ashtrays only to have OC to patent it to keep good with OC no harm no fowl. He sold his glass Sunday’s in front of his factory to fill orders and passer buyers. His wife Levenia Holland Becraft Fields would pack and unpack faithfully I was 8 when I remember he had a bench out side factory and the guys would sit around kicking a blob of practice glass and laugh at it. Late Ralph Smith Jr and I thought they were crazy.Now I get it . I remember there would be African American men in back breaking up the glass and going door to door to get neighbors old glass I walked with them once only to get a whipping when I returned. It I wish I new their name they were so kind to me. There pockets were full if candy and I would get some. I would bring them cold lemonade my grandmother would make and apple pie. I blew my own glass it was light blue but never made it home it broke on the ride back home. Though I remember my grampy was a jolly funny guy with a lot to laugh about he was a bit naughty because my granny would always say “Alvin not around the kid “
      He would make me bring his spittoon to him I would sit on his chair with him and eat peanuts . He took me to the lake fishing once and saved me from a water snake. He would open up the kiln and throw gold nuggets in one side of the first red hot glass and end up with a pink vase beautiful though I did not appreciate it as much as I do now. To be continued..
    3. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 5 months ago
      Continued.. wow that’s a lot you probably are not even reading this. Let me know if you want more Leann Beaumonte Dolores Becraft Vernons daughter.
    4. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 5 months ago
      To clear up the name to this early glass it was Becraft glass by Emmitt Craig and Alvin Becraft OC would visit and worked along side my grampy as well Ralph smith did not blow glass with my grampy he did not do any glass until after my grampy died in 1972 don’t hold me to exact date but Ralph did not get molds until after my grampy died. It only makes sense sense they were on the outs is why him and his wife Betty Ann my granny’s sister moved across town census shows that . Anyways it was my gramps unsigned glass that put him on a back burner he trusted everyone and never thought he would become a famous glass blower in the turn of the century he was robbed of his designs and his originality . Ralph Smith learned everything watching my grampy maybe blew a few pieces like myself but not everyone help that pipe Ralph Smith worked at Dixie cup factory along side his wife his whole life . It was called end of the day glass because at the end of the day people would get off work and drive by all of these factories and gather the odd and end or what they ordered days before . Some would drop their kids off to help clean up for the factory blowers . Or feed them water while they worked.
    5. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 5 months ago
      To clear up the name to this early glass it was Becraft glass by Emmitt Craig and Alvin Becraft OC would visit and worked along side my grampy as well Ralph smith did not blow glass with my grampy he did not do any glass until after my grampy died in 1972 don’t hold me to exact date but Ralph did not get molds until after my grampy died. It only makes sense sense they were on the outs is why him and his wife Betty Ann my granny’s sister moved across town census shows that . Anyways it was my gramps unsigned glass that put him on a back burner he trusted everyone and never thought he would become a famous glass blower in the turn of the century he was robbed of his designs and his originality . Ralph Smith learned everything watching my grampy maybe blew a few pieces like myself but not everyone help that pipe Ralph Smith worked at Dixie cup factory along side his wife his whole life . It was called end of the day glass because at the end of the day people would get off work and drive by all of these factories and gather the odd and end or what they ordered days before . Some would drop their kids off to help clean up for the factory blowers . Or feed them water while they worked.
    6. MarigoldGlass, 4 months ago
      Hi, my name is Cheryl Hamon -Jackson.
      I want to clear up the above comments.
      OC. Orville Clinton Hamon came to Okmulgee in 1941 and he and his two brothers
      Okey and Otis opened a glass factory called Hamon glass. They were already making this type of glass then. He later bought a large piece of land in Cedars Oklahoma, in 1944 and that same year built and opened Scott Depot glass. Alvin Becraft and MANY other men trained under him and worked for him and they worked on glass designs together in OC Hamons glass factory. He later did patent a few of his and his son Joe Hamon’s designs. He was a man of great integrity and anyone who know him would stand up for his great character more than anything.
      In about mid to late fifties no less than 22 other small back yard shops popped up in the area, all within just a few miles of OC Hamon's factory, by this time he started branding his glassware Marigold glass. He taught these men , many of them at very young ages some as young as 12 and 13 to work glass. Smiths old timer glass did not start until much later. The dates are not correct in the above article. Orville, Okey, and Otis brought this type of glass to Oklahoma in 1941. And OC trained these glass workers at his plant from 1944. They did share moulds, tools, ideas and helped each other. Orville was known for his generosity and helping all of them, he would hire them back in the winter months to fulfill contract work. And he never wanted anything but success for them, the problem was that gas prices steadily increased and made it difficult for them to continue in the manner they were. The reason Orville was able to stay going was that he had three gas wells on his property and owned the rights to all of that gas.
    7. artfoot artfoot, 4 months ago
      For those who have read this far - what Cheryl Jackson says above is correct. Information about this style of glassware is still in the formative stage but we are learning more every day. Smith's Old Timer Glass began production around 1973 and only remained in business for about 5 years. Smith used Becraft's equipment and supplies (which were just picked up and moved down the road) and most likely, the same workers.
    8. Watchsearcher Watchsearcher, 3 months ago
      Interesting reading….
    9. Alvinsgrandaughter Alvinsgrandaughter, 3 months ago
      Can someone please tell me the address of Ralph Smith Sr.’s shop when he was in production by himself or someone else. Thank you

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