The GPSA Gazette
monthly newsletter vol. 4 November 2002
It Isn't Thanksgiving Without the Veggies!!
Shawnee Corn Ware
by Irishjune
From the Editor...

The turkey is in the oven, the pies are baked, and the vegetables are bubbling away on the stove.  Time to set your Thanksgiving table!  This month, GPSA members bring you pottery and glass items with a Thanksgiving theme -
turkey dinnerware, cranberry glass and cornware

Add to that some
words of wisdom from our resident sage Jogle and we've got a great issue for you this month!

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are the property of the author of each article unless credited elsewhere.
Shawnee Corn Ware
had its beginnings in 1941.  The first seven pieces were given out as premiums
by Proctor & Gamble.
This early version was known as White Corn Ware (right) and was done with all white kernels and green leaves. 
Photo courtesy of
eBay member chubbyhubby
In 1946, designer Robert Heckman created the Corn King line. Originally, few pieces were produced, but they were so popular that the line was soon expanded to complete table and kitchenware sets. Corn King (left) was the most successful dinnerware line produced by Shawnee.
Photo courtesy of
Louisville Antiques Mall
Sales of Corn King began to decline in 1954. Instead of discontinuing this popular line, changes were made in the color and it was remarketed as Corn Queen (right).
The new color scheme was a lighter yellow with darker green leaves. Once again, it was a huge success. Corn Queen endured until Shawnee closed its doors in 1961.
Many of the corn molds were later purchased by Terrace Ceramics.  The Terrace corn has a brown and beige glaze, called Maizeware, and is slightly smaller than Shawnee corn.  It is clearly marked with the Terrace Ceramics name.
Photo courtesy of
GPSA member logbuyer
Look-alikes and reproductions are common.  However, there is an easy way to spot them. Original Shawnee Corn Ware has a staggered pattern to the kernels, while most of the reproductions have kernels side by side.

While the Corn King remains the most popular of these lines, all are sought after by collectors.
Vegetables have always been a popular motif for pottery.  This is a mid-century Made in Japan
celery dish.

Photo courtesy of
GPSA member febreb
What to Put On That Thanksgiving Table?
A Look at Turkey Dinnerware
                  by wgpaul
Thanksgiving Day became a legal holiday in 1941. Its origins are much earlier, beginning with the establishment of a national day of Thanksgiving by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.  Turkey dinnerware followed a similar timeline, with turkey plates gaining in popularity through the mid-to-late 1800's, and actual Thanksgiving ware becoming popular after 1941.

Many well-known Staffordshire potters produced turkey patterns in the late 19th century.  These were not so much in recognition of Thanksgiving as they were part of the trend toward depicting American wildlife and fowl on dinnerware.  Many well-known manufacturers of the time produced flow blue transfer turkey patterns, including Wedgwood, Myott and Ridgways.   American companies also produced blue transferware, including the plate at right, which was made by the Oliver China plant of the Sebring Potteries.
Photo courtesy of
eBay member velocityville
After 1941, numerous patterns were made specifically for use at Thanksgiving. Johnson Bros. has made several different Thanksgiving place settings, including Woodland Wild Turkey, Barnyard King, Native American Turkey, Wild Turkeys and His Majesty (pictured above left).

A commonly found, but unattributed, Thanksgiving pattern is
King Tom.   The plates and cups are obvious copies of His Majesty, but their origin is unknown.  Pictured above right is the King Tom dinner plate.  In the center is the less commonly found gravy boat.  Both are marked King Tom, An American Tradition.

Most American manufacturers also produced Thanksgiving dinnerware after 1941.  The attractive dinner plate on the left was made by
Homer Laughlin and distributed by Vogue.  It carries both backstamps.  Other American manufacturers with turkey items in their line include Royal China, Taylor, Smith & Taylor, and Salem China.   Turkey platters in the California Provincial pattern by Metlox and in the Thanksgiving Turkey pattern by Blue Ridge are both considered desirable pieces for collectors.

It seems there's a turkey dinnerware for everyone's taste and pocketbook.  The shapes, colors and styles vary, as do the countries of origins and the manufacturers.  But, all of these dinnerware items have one thing in common - turkey!  Let's eat!
Photo courtesy of
eBay member daddysgirl101646
Who'll Be First to Feed(back)?
by Jogle

One of the most asked questions in regards to eBay "procedure" is this: Who leaves feedback first - buyer or seller? The short answer: There is no right answer. Remember, the eBay feedback system is completely voluntary. eBay couches their feedback advice in deliberately vague terms; so don't expect any help from them.

There are two schools of thought for sellers. One is that the seller leaves feedback as soon as
payment is received. The buyer has done what was required of them, so it is now "time". The other thought is to wait until the customer acknowledges receipt of the item and expresses their satisfaction with the transaction through email or through feedback of their own. Both have their merits, both have their drawbacks. How "well" feedback works is all in your interpretation of just how important feedback is.

Some sellers are very rigid in their views, often refusing to leave feedback until the buyer leaves feedback first. Some buyers are very rigid in their views, often refusing to leave feedback until the seller leaves feedback first.

See a problem here? 

While I don't discount the need for feedback as a reflection of you as a potential trading partner
to a scrutinizing bidder, if a seller is investing large amounts of time in determining who "owes" them feedback, their priorities are in the wrong place. We're here to make money, folks. Not everyone is going to leave you feedback - that's their privilege (usually an oversight or disorganization, but their privilege nonetheless). Take the high road; leave feedback when you deem appropriate, and if you receive the same from your buyer, consider it a bonus rather than your right. The good comments will come, your reputation will grow, and wear your feedback difference (I've received 1486 and left 1930 feedbacks - I'm "owed" almost 500!) as a badge of honor -  and another indicator of the great seller that you are!
Cranberry Sauce, Cranberry Juice Cranberry Glass!
by covhouseteex

Thoughts of Thanksgiving bring to mind a traditional meal of turkey and favorite side dishes, with a special place reserved for that holiday classic -- cranberries! That beautiful rose-red color can grace your home all year in cranberry glass, a favorite among collectors.

What Is Cranberry Glass and How Is It Made?

Color in glass is achieved by adding coloring agents, or metallic oxides, to the molten combination of silica (a refined sand), an alkaline flux (usually potash or soda), and lime, which makes the glass more durable. Cranberry glass is closely related to ruby or red glass as both use gold as the coloring agent.

There are stories of red glass being accidentally discovered when a gold ring was dropped into a batch of molten glass. It's a romantic notion, but we know today that this would have only resulted in a puddle of melted gold sinking to the bottom of the molten glass, leaving it unchanged!  In order for the gold to be properly mixed into the liquid glass, gold is ground into a fine powder and dissolved in "Aqua Regia" (a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acid), before it is added to the batch. The solution of gold dissolved in Aqua Regia is called gold chloride.

The amount of gold chloride that is present in the glass determines whether the glass will be a deep ruby red in color, or the more delicate transparent rose-pink color we call "cranberry".  Not much is needed to create the deep ruby-red color for glass, only about one-tenth of 1% by volume! So while pure gold is expensive, only about one ounce of gold is used for every sixty pounds of molten glass, and even less produces the diluted pink/red color we call cranberry. Even with so little gold in the glass batch, it remains a difficult color to produce. If the formulation isn't just right, the glass batch will turn out muddy and be useless.

In addition, the color is not achieved until the glass is reheated. The gold chloride makes the glass "heat-reactive," and when the blown or molded glass is placed back into a small opening in the glass furnace, the color begins to change to red. Differences in glass formulas, including the amount of gold chloride in the batch, and the timing of the reheating process, helps explain the many subtle differences in the cranberry color among glassmakers.  It's a difficult art to achieve this popular color!
Varieties of Cranberry Glass

Front row (left to right): mold blown thumbprint vase,  mold blown swirl shaker, opalescent vase, ribbed vase.
Second row: cut-to-clear vase, mold blown solid shaker,and vases with applied crystal.
A Short History of "Gold Ruby" and Cranberry Glass

As early as the 4th century A.D., the Romans made a red glass using both gold and silver. An example of this "gold ruby" glass is the Lycurgus Cup at the British Museum. The formula for red glass seemed to be lost for centuries, but glassmakers' experiments in the 17th century rediscovered this elusive color. Historians mention Italian and French glassmakers creating red glass in 1612 and 1668, but most attribute the formula for "gold ruby" glass to Johann Kunckel in Germany in 1680. Regardless of the source, it was and difficult and expensive to make at the time. The earliest examples were highly prized, often mounted in silver or gilded silver, and originally only available to the wealthy.
The amount of gold in the glass and how long the heat-sensitive glass is reheated, determines the depth of color:
cranberry (left)  vs. 'gold-ruby' (right).
Later, Bohemian glassmakers found that by blowing a layer of clear glass in a thin layer of red so that the layers fused together, they could create the look of the ruby color but use far less of the colored glass. This two-layer glass, called "cased glass," was often engraved with designs of popular buildings or hunting scenes through the red layer, exposing the clear glass underneath.). This technique is referred to as "(color)-cut-to-clear", with the quality and detail of the engraving determining value.

Glassmaking techniques improved in the 1800's, and by late in the century, British and American glassmakers were able to make red and cranberry glass less expensively and in large quantities to meet demand for this popular color. While many pieces were still hand blown, pressed glass pieces in cranberry also appeared.  A hybrid technique, mold blowing, creates patterns such as "thumbprint," ribbed, hobnail, swirl, etc., when the glass is blown into a mold. Cranberry glass was combined with other techniques, such as opalescent glass, enameling, threading, or were decorated with applied crystal handles, feet or ruffled rims.

A less expensive but similar color can be achieved by using copper instead of gold oxide, but this tends to give pieces a more bluish-purplish tint. To meet demand, cheaper alternatives to cased glass were developed, which are known today as "flashed" or "stained" glass. This type of glass has only a very thin layer of color permanently fired onto clear glass. Flashed or stained cranberry glass was often used for inexpensive souvenir items, and today is frequently found with scratches to the thin cranberry color, or even peeling away. Remember that cased glass will not show flakes of the color wearing away, as it is a much heavier layer of colored glass fused to a clear layer.  
Collecting Cranberry Glass Today

What really makes cranberry glass so collectible is its appealing and distinctive color. Antique or vintage pieces can be found from the best-known names in glass -- Northwood, Pairpoint, Mt. Washington, Hobbs Brockunier, Sandwich, and many others. Knowing whether the article is solid glass in the cranberry or ruby color, or cased glass, or the less expensive flashed or stained color will help you judge quality, rarity, and value. 
Cranberry glass is still being made today.  Contemporary studio glassmakers can buy this color in glass rods from specialist manufacturers. Newer or contemporary factory-made cranberry glass is often made with a thin layer of cranberry cased with clear crystal on the exterior.

Whether vintage or new, there's a piece of cranberry glass for every taste and budget. May your search for cranberry glass lead you to your own special "piece of gold!"
Inexpensive staining imitated the color on more expensive pieces and was often used on souvenir items..  The vase on the left is circa 1940.  The miniature pitcher on the right is circa 1910.

Photo courtesy of
GPSA member wgpaul

The Glass Encyclopedia
Collect a Crop of Cranberry
Antiques Roadshow of Britain
Online Glass Museum, New Zealand

The Antiques Collector's Guides: Glass,  Ruth Hurst Vose
American Cut and Engraved Glass, Martha Louise Swan
The Collector's Encyclopedia of American Art Glass
, John A. Shuman III
Need to save for the holidays?

Start socking away the cash at Thanksgiving in these Austrian and German turkey banks, made from the turn of the century to 1920

Photo courtesy of
GPSA member PAJewel.
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in October.  As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the
Glass & Pottery Sellers' Association











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Archived Issues
October 2002
Steigel Green, Slag Glass, Fraud
September 2002
Mosaics, Mercury Glass, Stretch vs Swung
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