monthly newsletter vol. 7 February 2003
Amberina Old and New
by Covhouseteex
We have all seen it--
that beautiful 2-color glass called


that shades from red to amber.
But how is it made? Who made it?
Is it old or new?
From the Editor...

Since Valentine's Day is this month, we thought we'd give you some things to fall in love with!  Covhouseteex brings us more wonderful colored glass to look at.  This time it's amberina glass with pictures to die for!  Lady*bird shares some of her collection of figural planters that will make you just have to smile.  Bannerfarms1 tell us about Frankoma pottery with pictures from a recent trip to the Frankoma Outlet.  And, Diantiques brings us another luscious plate of the month - pink of course, for Valentine‘s Day!  We also chronicle the surprise sale by eBay seller iamdognut of a piece of vintage carnival glass.  Fall in love with all of it - we already have!

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Victorian amberina glass, author's collection
In the November newsletter, I wrote about how cranberry glass  and ruby red glass are made.  Gold is added to the batch of molten glass, and when the completed article is first cooled, then reheated, this "heat-reactive" glass will turn a lovely ruby color

It's thought that, in the 19th century, when some glass pieces were being finished during the fire polishing process to remove mold marks, parts of the glass would unintentionally change color if the formula contained a heat-reactive metal. These "mistakes" would be discarded. But Joseph Locke, the best-known designer at the
New England Glass Works (later owned by Libbey), saw the decorative potential of this phenomenon. In 1883, Locke was granted a patent for Amberina glass - a transparent glass that is a soft amber color gradually shading to a darker ruby red at the top. It was easier to leave the glass article attached to the pontil rod when it was reheated in the furnace glory hole, so the ruby color is usually at the top. When the ruby color instead appears at the base, and it shades to amber at the top, it's known as "reverse amberina" and these pieces are less common.

The formula for amberina glass was very sensitive to heat, and the red color often turned a reddish purple or fuchsia shade if slightly overheated. Today, this deep fuchsia shade in amberina seems to be the most desirable among collectors - not only is it very beautiful, but almost always indicates a late 19th century piece. Victorian pieces were often mold-blown in the popular designs such as Quilted Diamond, Inverted Thumbprint, ribbed, and honeycomb. You may even find amberina in a crackle glass, but these are unusual and older crackle pieces will show a deeper fuchsia coloration than mid-20th century pieces. 
New at GPSA...

Our Association continues to grow, with an average of 8 new members joining each month! 

Each new member brings a fresh new voice to the GPSA, and all are welcomed. This month we would like to take the opportunity to express our thanks to some of the members who consistently go "above and beyond" to keep things running smoothly.

As you may know, GPSA is a 100% volunteer association. The informational web pages,
this newsletter, our membership committee and our
password-only discussion site are all maintained by GPSA volunteers.  Our heartfelt gratitude goes to
those who help month after month especially
suze1970, our Tech Support,
rmillica, our diligent Proof Reader, diantiques, wgpaul and covhouseteex for their monthly newsletter contributions, ssamme for diligently managing our bandwidth, irishjune for coordinating our monthly admissions committees!

Thank You!

Flashed amberina tumbler (right) shows sharp demarcation of colors; compare to true amberina (left)
After this bi-color glass appeared on the market in the 1880's, other glasshouses were licensed to produce it, including Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. which made a version of pressed glass amberina in the Hobnail Diamond Pattern, more commonly known today as "Daisy and Button."  Often only the very top rims were reheated to develop the ruby color, and so many of these pressed pieces are mostly amber with just a bit of ruby color along the top.

Mt. Washington Glass Company
also began making a copy of the New England amberina, but eventually agreed to market their similar wares under the name "Rose-Amber" when threatened with a lawsuit by NEGW. Though the Mt. Washington product was made in the same manner, there was a lot of competition among glasshouse during this era, and companies fought to retain the market for these "new" types of glass - especially as other makers began to copy the wares, often at lower prices for lower quality pieces. Two less expensive variations were flashed and painted amberina.

In flashed amberina, the solid amber glass was coated with gold at the top only, which would be developed into the ruby color. If the piece sharply changes from amber to ruby (instead of a very gradual change in color), it is probably flashed. 
Painted Amberina
Note the iridescence visible at the bottom. Top rim close-up shows the addition of metallic stains on the clear glass base.

Another way to create the effect is to paint the entire glass surface with a mixture of copper oxide and yellow ochre, which was fired on. After cooling, it was repainted and reheated to develop the ruby color. The applied metallic stains used left an iridescence on the surface which is easily detected on painted amberina pieces. Also look for tiny spots of wear on the painted surfaces to separate painted from true amberina.

Amberina glass eventually lost its initial popularity, though
Libbey tried to revive it in the 1920's (and pieces from this later era are sometime marked "Libbey" in script in the pontil).
The "very modern 50's" ushered in a new era of brightly colored glass, with makers like Blenko, Kanawha, and Pilgrim Glass producing their own versions of amberina glass. While any glass that shades from amber to ruby red using a heat-sensitive glass formula is "true" amberina, a comparison of the late 1800's amberina to that of the 1950's and 1960's will show a significant difference in colors. (Some of the mid-century makers even used a different color name, such as Blenko's "tangerine".) Newer amberina most often has an "amber" that is far more yellow, and its red usually has an orange-red overtone. Much of the later amberina was also made in crackle glass, while very little of the older amberina is found in a crackle finish. This marked difference in colors, together with shape differences (including handle styles), is the easiest way to tell old from new.

The simple combination of amber and red in one piece doesn't always indicate true amberina. Modern makers might use amber handles on red pieces, or make a red-orange glass that shows streaks of yellow or a deeper red in places  - these should not be considered amberina glass. Collectors should study the forms and shapes that were used by the various glassmakers, as well as their color differences, to better understand what they are buying. Whether you prefer the older or newer colorations of amberina both are glorious examples of colored glass! 
More Information on Amberina Glass

John A. Shuman III,
The Collector's Encyclopedia of American Art Glass
Albert Christian Revi,
Nineteenth Century Glass
Mark Pickvet,
The Encyclopedia of Glass
Ruth Webb Lee,
Nineteenth-Century Art Glass
Leslie Pina,
Popular '50s and '60s Glass, Color Along the River
Old (left) vs. New (right) amberina
Figural Planters:  The Fun Pottery
by lady*bird
Figural planters are a fun and still relatively inexpensive collectable. Potteries around the world have made these whimsical planters, and in just about any shape and size imaginable. From the Hull Persian Cat of the '40s to the pottery class frogs of the '70s, there is a planter for you.

When figural planters were first made, you could go to the local five and dime store, find one for 29 cents; to 59 cents.  Add a small plant from the local nursery and you had a wonderful present for mom or grandma!

You can still find planters with the original ink stamped price. American Bisque (wedge shape bottoms), Royal Copley (bars) and Shawnee (dry outer rim, glazed center USA with a number) were some of the most prolific at the beginning of the era. In the 1950's, when Japanese imports starting flooding the market, the American potteries were hit hard by these less expensive items and many were forced to close their doors.
The booties, pictured above, are marked, Rubens Originals, Made in Japan. These arrived from the local florist at the birth of my son in 1981, and the collection started!
The Hull Art Persian Cat is the largest planter in my collection, measuring in at 7" tall, while the green puppy, Japan, is the smallest at 3" tall.
For More on Figural Planters:

Figural Planters, A Pictorial Guide, Kathleen Deel
American Bisque, Collector's Guide, Mary Jane Giacomini
Figural Planters & Vases, Betty and Bill Newbound
Not only are figural planters a collectable in their own right, the cross-collectable categories are almost endless. So no matter what you collect, there is a figural planter for you!

Happy collecting!
Our Favorite Kind of eBay Success Story!
Don't You Wish You Had One of These?
This seller had no idea when she started her auction at $24.99,

that this bowl would eventually sell for


Carole (eBay seller imadognut) began to realize she had something special when eBay members began asking her detailed questions via eBay's e-mail system.   As a regular user of eBay's Auction Listing discsussion board, she was aware that eBay provided venues to ask specific questions about items.  She posted her questions on the eBay Pottery, Glass & Porcelain discussion board.  The bowl turned out to be a Fenton Dragon Rose bowl in the very rare amberina color.  In addition to information, she gained a number of well-wishers at the Pottery, Glass and Porcelain board. 

Soon, regular users of the Pottery, Glass & Porcelain discussion board were following her auction with her.  A great cyber-cheer went up when the bidding went up an additional $800 in the last few minutes of the auction.
Photos Courtesy of
eBay Member
Here's some background on the sale from Carole:

"I am not a collector and have very minimal knowledge of glass and pottery.   This particular bowl has been in my family for at least 60 years and maybe from the very beginning as a first purchase.  I inherited it along with several other pieces of glassware when my mother passed away.  I wasn't very interested in this type of thing, so decided to keep and display only a few pieces that I did like.  The carnival glass was not my pick for favorites and I began selling it on eBay.

I have been a seller on eBay for going on 2 years but in the pet supply/dog supply area.  I was not very comfortable in the glassware area.  I had no idea that this piece was as desirable as it turned out to be.  I hadn't done enough research before listing.  I thought it was just like the others that were going for about $100.  You can understand my complete surprise at the outcome!

What made it even more special was all the moral support, encouragement and congratulations from all the people at the Pottery, Glass & Porcelain discussion board.  Thanks, everyone!"

Let us add our own cyber-cheer! 
Congratulations from all of us at GPSA!
Plate of the Month
by Diantiques
Presenting a pretty pink plate that will make your heart pump with pleasure!

This colorful confection is embellished with gleaming gold enamel and is rich in important, hand painted detail! A Richard Klemm Studios creation, this porcelain plate from Dresden, Germany was made circa 1891-1914 as evidenced by the blue over-glaze hallmark shown below left.

With graceful rococo gilt borders filled with polychrome flowers, the pattern is intricate and pleasing. Each shaded flower is painted with fine artistry and the arrangement across the face of the plate is balanced and tasteful. Delicate gold leaf sprays further enhance the formal effect. Measuring about 8 and1/2" the curvilinear rim flows with more burnished gold.

Richard Klemm was an accomplished porcelain painter in the Meissen ~ Sevres ~ Vienna style and decorative items produced in the studio are highly valued by collectors. Tableware and vases are fairly easy to find, as Klemm was one of the most prolific porcelain makers in the Dresden circle of artists.
Introduction to Frankoma
by bannerfarms1
When Frankoma Pottery was founded in 1933 in Salpulpa, OK, it struggled for success.  The southwestern dinnerware line introduced with the Wagon Wheel motif in 1942 brought the pottery its first major commercial success. While the Frank family sold the company in 1991, Frankoma Pottery continues in business today.  Current and vintage Frankoma pieces are popular sellers on eBay.

Frankoma items range from art pottery to dinnerware and a bit of everything in between.   A rare piece of Frankoma art pottery "Amazon Woman" by Joseph Taylor sold recently on eBay for $3,501.00,.  Many other items sell in the $150 - $350 range, while most items sell in the $1 to $25 range in keeping with the Frank's original goal to produce good art that virtually anyone could afford to own.   

Frankoma is one of the few potteries in the United States that produced its wares from a local source of raw clay. Clay from nearby Ada, OK was used from the beginning of Frankoma potteries in 1933 until the mid 1950's when they started using the local Salpulpa clay.  Ada clay is the color of honey with no red tint, Sapulpa clay ranges from a light pinkish to a darker brick red.  In most cases pieces made of earlier Ada clay are slightly higher in value.  The earliest Frankoma mark was the Pot and Puma, which features a pacing cat.

A Frankoma convention called the Frankoma Reunion is held in Sapulpa in September of every year.  The 2003 Reunion is September 25, 26, & 27th and will feature workshops, guest speakers and a Frankoma show.

See the Frankoma Family Collectors Association website at for more information.
A selection of Frankoma pieces on display at the Frankoma Museum shows wares in their best known glaze called Prairie Green
A selection of vintage Frankoma
in the no longer used and hard to achieve red glaze.
Salpulpa Clay
Look for pink or red brown color and glazed bottom
Ada Clay
Look for honey  color and unglazed bottom
Frankoma Pottery Today
Did You Ever Wonder Where the Name
Frankoma Came From?

Frankoma was founded by John Frank in Oklahoma in 1933.  Frank used a combination of his name and the state where the pottery was made.
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in November.  As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the
Glass & Pottery Sellers' Association
To learn more about GPSA, click on one of these links:

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Archived Issues
January 2003
Open Salts, Coalport Plate, Little Red Riding Hood
December 2002
Mercury Glass Deer,
Head Vases
November 2002
Corn Ware, Cranberry Glass, Turkey Plates,
October 2002
Steigel Green, Slag Glass, Fraud
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September 2002
Mosaics, Mercury Glass, Stretch vs Swung
August 2002
Roseville & Catalina Repros
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