NetworK ezine Issue 12. May 2016
by Glen and Stephen Thistlewood
Totally Devoted to Carnival Glass
A warm and sunny welcome to our many new readers all over the world - we hope you enjoy this May edition of NetworK. Here in the northern hemisphere, Spring is blossoming beautifully, while Autumn brings its golden warmth to the southern climes. We have a very varied array of features for you this month - and make sure you scroll right down to the bottom of this issue for notice of a surprise arriving in your inboxes very soon.
And now, let's let "The King" take it away (sorry, no, not Elvis ... read on to find out who).
“The King of China”
“The King of China” was the self-styled title given to a flamboyant, Australian crockery (china) and glass merchant who sold his wares in the early 1900s.
The merchant’s name was Reuben (known as Reub) Levy, and his multi-floor sales establishment was in downtown Sydney, close to the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s fascinating to think that while the construction of that remarkable bridge was in its infancy, huge amounts of Carnival Glass were on sale just a few blocks away!
Reub Levy was quite a character, and his personality shone out in his unconventional ads as seen in the Australian press. His main sales thrust was low prices – you couldn’t get your Carnival Glass cheaper anywhere than from “The King”.
Through his contacts, Reub Levy made direct purchases from the Carnival Glass makers in the USA, especially Imperial, and a fascinating array of goods were made available, with descriptive names that make your mouth water, such as Sunkist, Golden Glow and Cloth ‘o’ Gold.
On the immediate right is a 1921 ad from The Sun newspaper, Sydney, Australia. The star buy was an Imperial Grape water set - "THE KING" that Reub even named after his sales alias, “The King of China”.
Alongside it is the real thing: a marigold Imperial Grape pitcher and tumbler, courtesy of Seeck Auctions.
For nearly 20 years, Levy’s store must have been an Aladdin’s Cave of Carnival delights, until its sad and untimely end. One can only wonder how much of the Carnival Glass in Australian collections today might have originally been sold by “The King of China”.
Read the full story of “The King of China” (Part 1), where we feature some of the amazing ads he created to sell his Carnival Glass items that he sold.
As Reub himself stated: "No HUMBUG-no tricks-no excuses-but a fair, square, straight deal"!
It's not difficult to see why Reub Levy imported so much of his Carnival Glass from Imperial - they made some truly stunning items.
So, why not pay a visit to our Imperial Carnival Glass Gallery - a small section is shown on the right. You can browse through some beautiful pieces of Imperial's Carnival Glass. Our Galleries are arranged by maker and by pattern name as a series of "thumbnail" pictures which open up to full sized images.
Visit our Imperial Carnival Glass Gallery
Rose Garden was made by Brockwitz in several different shapes. Eda Glasbruk, however, made just one shape.
And this is where those two makers meet ... in the large oval or "letter" shaped vase shown on the left.
But look! They are different. Although both vases stand around 9 inches high, there are very significant differences in proportion.
Eda's is on the left and Brockwitz' is on the right.
Click on the image on the left to read the full story, and compare the original catalogue illustrations, in the feature article:
"Rose Garden, a Mystery Solved"
Part of our unique Collectors' Facts series.
Montgomery Ward (Parts Two and Three)
In NetworK #11, we showed you some of the Carnival that was on offer in the Montgomery Ward mail order catalogues.
In Part Two we reveal the rest of the pieces that were offered. Part Three provides a light-hearted look at some fascinating stories of life behind the scenes at Montgomery Ward (there's a link from the bottom of Part Two).
Fenton’s delightful and impressive Mikado comport (right) makes an appearance in Part Two, and the spelling of “comport” is intentional - that’s exactly how it was written in the Montgomery Ward catalogue.
The staff who wrote the descriptions for the goods were very inventive, but not necessarily accurate.
Here are three different pattern descriptions which are all for the exact same pattern, as shown in the catalogue. “Colonial shape with grape design” – “Conventional designs of butterflies and daisies” – “Butterfly and floral decorations”. Yes, they were all describing the same pattern, but in different shapes. Which one?
The answer is in the feature article showing the variety of Carnival Glass that was on offer in the Montgomery Ward catalogue.
The Curious Case of the Star Top Perfume
This star or fan top perfume had puzzled us for some time – so imagine how excited we were when we saw this delightful catalogue ad from the 1940s.
Here are two of the perfumes flanking a powder jar in a 4 piece set (a mirror was included) - the ad was in a N. Shure Co. catalogue.
N. Shure was a Chicago wholesaler dealing mainly in premiums and novelties - self styled the “World’s Largest Novelty House” their catalogues were called “Shure Winner”.
There are two schools of thought regarding the maker:
1. Imperial made for Irving Rice (“Irice”) using Rice’s moulds – dating from the 1940s and 50s and sometimes bearing paper labels.
2. Anchor Hocking’s Prescut perfume bottle, according to C. L. Miller in “Depression Era Dime Store Glass”. This source is quoted in several places on the ‘web’.
We can’t verify either maker.
The 1940s N. Shure catalogue shows the perfume, but whether Imperial or Anchor Hocking made it … well … do you have any further verification to help solve the mystery?
An amazing Find - Inwald Jacobean
Alan Henderson recently found a previously un-reported shape in Inwald’s Jacobean in the UK – and what a fantastic shape it is!
It’s an exquisite, tiny vase that stands just 3 inches high.
We located the shape in a special catalogue (c. 1920s) from Inwald’s British agent, Clayton Mayers, where it is called a “Primrose Vase” - see catalogue extract on the left, alongside Alan's wonderful little vase.
The iridescence is typical of Inwald, breathtakingly pastel and shimmery – and the base is smoothly ground with an incised star.
You will recall the recent find of this unusual vase that we showed in NetworK #11 - and identified as Pattern Number 1463 by the "Unknown Maker" (possibly Rosice).
The owners, Lance and Pat Hilkene, have now given it the fabulous pattern name “Prince James”. A splendid choice (which provides a connection to the similar King James vase).
Thank you all so much for the many compliments that we have recently received about our previous issues of NetworK.
We’re so pleased you enjoy them and we’re grateful for the lovely comments you’ve sent us in your emails.