|The following article was published in
"The Pioneer" Vol. XI No 2, April, 1998
|U S Glass Company's “State
Bob and Carole Bruce, Charter Members of the AAGSSCS
|Victorian glass patterns named after the states in the Union have
intrigued us throughout our collecting years. We have always wondered
why only some of the states had patterns named after them. Why not
all of the states? Several articles have been written in the past
with information and speculation about these patterns. Some have
claimed or speculated they were not named after states, but that
they were named after battleships of the era that had been named for certain
states. We wondered why all of the original colonies did not have
patterns named after them. We also wondered why some of the
states have patterns named after them even though they were not part of
the Union at that time. We think that we have found answers to most
of these questions. There are still many unanswered questions that
we can only hope will surface as more knowledge surfaces. We just
wish that we had found all of the salt shakers for these patterns.
Our research began with a review of Volume 5 of Heacock's series on Victorian Colored Pattern Glass (1), which we consider the first published comprehensive discussion on these patterns. This research also led us to obtain copies of articles by J. Stanley Brothers Jr. (2). Brothers wrote a series of articles for Hobbies magazine in the late 30’s and published some catalog reprints from the U. S. Glass Company. We were also given catalog reprints from the U. S. Glass Company from a friend that we had not previously seen. Finally, we obtained books from the library on the ships in the U. S fleet during this era.
Our primary interest as collectors is salt shakers. (Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that fact.) At a local antique show, we recently found a New York salt shaker. It was an exciting find for us since it was previously unidentified. Especially since the cost of excitement has risen so much in the last few years as salt shakers have taken their well deserved place in Victorian glass collecting.
The New York state pattern (AKA U.S.Rib) is the last pattern to be identified in the literature as a State Series pattern. Heacock suspected it to be a state pattern in Vol. 5 (1), and stated it as fact in article published in the Glass Collector's Digest in 1987 (3). The confirming catalog reprint that the pattern commonly known as US Rib is the New York State Series pattern is shown in Husfloen’s book (4) and attributed to the research of our own (AAGSSCS) Tom and Neila Bredehoft. The shaker shown was just found by us at an antique show in Southern California. To our knowledge, the shaker has never been reported in the literature. Since only the table set is shown in the catalog reprint, we did not know what shape to look for for the salt shaker. How exciting it was for us to find the shaker, bring it home and compare it to a New York cruet we have and realize that it was indeed New York. We think it might be a hotel shaker and another shape might be available. So our search does continue.
We mentioned in the introduction that some authors have believed this series to be named after US battleships. We believe that this is a misnomer. A literature search was made of all the ships in the US Navy during the time of manufacture of these patterns. Many of the ships that had state names had not yet been commissioned when the patterns of the state series were issued.. In fact, many of these ships were not even on the drawing boards. The last known state patterns were produced in 1903. At least eight ships named after the states were authorized in 1903 or later and didn't see service until four years later. In addition, there was no ship named Delaware, a very popular State Series pattern.
There have been many patterns named after the states by many different glass companies. We have taken the view that only those issued as “State” patterns by the U. S. Glass Company are the “true State Series” patterns. Other state patterns may be more desirable to the reader, and we are not excluding them for any reason other than it is beyond the scope of this article. Here, we are concerned with this particular series of patterns and not one or two isolated patterns that carry a state name.
The series of patterns named after the states were issued by the US Glass Company from at least 1897 to 1903. Some of the patterns are believed to have been issued under a different pattern name earlier (4) and reissued as a state pattern after the giant merger of glass companies to form the US Glass Company. The reader is referred to Reference (1) for a more detailed discussion of the companies forming the conglomerate, the reasons for the merger, and the details about the individual patterns.
When we have seen displays or articles on the states' patterns, we noticed that there were always several patterns shown which we not states at that time. For example, Alaska is a very popular pattern but Alaska was not a state during the Victorian era. So, we know it was not one of the original State Series patterns. So we looked at the dates that each state was admitted to the Union and the dates of issue of the State Series. What we found was that there were 45 states that were in the Union at the time the patterns were issued. The states that were not yet states are:
Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma
Thus, one would not expect to find a State Series pattern for these five states. Subtracting three corresponding to North and South for the Dakotas and Carolinas, and West Virginia, leaves a possible 42 states that could have patterns named after them. Reference (1) identifies 36 state patterns. There are therefore six states that were in the union at that time for which a state pattern is not known. These, along with the date admitted to the Union are:
Arkansas(1836), Idaho(1890), Montana (1889),
It is our belief that these six states did have patterns named after them and they have not yet been attributed. It is very hard for us to believe that these states would not have been included. Reference (1) has conflicting information on a Montana pattern. The pattern is shown in the Ripley catalog on page 123. The table summarizing the U. S. Glass Co. patterns on page 20 lists the Montana pattern as a “little known States pattern” and refers to the reprint on page 123. Comments there state it is not a “State” pattern. Similarly, the Idaho pattern is shown in a catalog reprint on page 121. The same table referred to above (page 19) does not mention it as a “State” pattern. The reason that these are not considered “State” patterns is not totally clear to us. It is noteworthy that the same catalog series has the pattern we now know as Dakota shown (p 119). That would make one believe that perhaps these are state patterns. On the other hand, a pattern called Wyoming is shown that bears no resemblance to the real State Series pattern Wyoming shown in a catalog reprint and clearly identified as Wyoming, number 15081. So, the mystery continues, hopefully to be solved with the discovery of additional catalog reprints. It is fun to speculate that if these did turn out to be “real State Series” patterns, the popular “Nail” pattern also shown in this catalog. Could it be one of the missing patterns?
We have heard some state that the “Snail” pattern is the Idaho State Series pattern. We tried to find some information to support this assertion. All we could find was an article by Brothers (2) showing two compotes and a covered butter. One of the compotes was called the “Idaho” pattern. Careful reading of the article, with comparison of the catalog reprint in Reference (1), clearly indicates he was writing about the same Idaho pattern discussed above. However, the butter dish (called a covered cheese dish) is the Snail pattern. Did the Snail/Idaho attribution come from that article?
A review of the patterns, when they were issued, and by what company of the U. S. Glass Co. combine issued them, can lead one to suspect that some known patterns might be States Series patterns. In our opinion, the most prominent of these is Bohemian. We believe that some day some information will surface that identifies it as a “State Series” pattern.
In summary, we believe that there were 42 patterns in the U. S. Glass Co “State Series”. Of these, 36 patterns are known leaving six to be identified.
As collectors, we are still looking for these “unknown” patterns in salt shakers as well as a few of the other known state patterns that have still escaped us. It is fun, enjoyable and adds a new dimension to our collection. We hope you have enjoyed this article, and would consider adding state patterns to your collection if you haven't already. After you get your pair of shakers, please contact us for disposal of you duplicates, we may not have it yet.
We, of course, solicit any information anyone might have on missing state patterns, or any information that disputes conclusions in this article.
Bob and Carole Bruce
|Addendum to Article:
All of the known shakers have now been found by the authors as shown on the previous pages. No new States Patterns have been identified to date.
A friend recently pointed out that Metz shows a Rhode Island pattern goblet that was issued in the 70's. Further research is pending, but if that was the OMN name, and the company that issued it later became a member of the U S Glass Co, it could be and likely is in our opinion, the reason no other pattern is known for Rhode Island. Thanks Linda!
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