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Northwood - Harry's Finest

It can be said that Harry Northwood had “scattered” interests when it came to color! The variations of iridized color application on almost any individual example from this maker will emphasize that statement, particularly when considering the darker base glass pieces. Seemingly, common practice for spraying the mixture of color was to cover about half the surface with a combination unlike the other portion, creating a resultant effect unlike any other manufacturer. In short-one could say that  the  effect of “oil on water” does not flow evenly around the entire surface. Some of the iridescence is electric in appearance, screams with color, but in many cases is not evenly distributed!

I (Diane) coined the phrase “IRIDESCENCE IS THE ESSENCE” for use as the Club Motto, when Dean and I organized the San Diego Collectors Club  in 1985. It is a profound statement worthy of consideration as you purchase items for your collection. The better the overall  brilliance and clarity of  iridization , along with a concise mold strike on ANY selection, the better investment it will become over the years because the desirability factor is ensured.

Northwood's contribution to the pastel field is unequaled. White, with exotic transparent coloration and frosty effect; ice blue and ice green of unsurpassed beauty; both desirable butterscotch overlay as well as creamy pastel aqua opal, each in their own right, make a statement of quality.

There is so much tantalizing Glass to select from in the overall realm,  that  perhaps we should conclude: “my favorite piece is the one I bought last!” When a much desired example has been secured, we can merely say that it is “one more” we can check off the list of “gotta-have's”.

The nine examples in this category  of  interest  is  but the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Since most will agree that diversion contributes greatly to enjoyment, we have decided to include one of our favorite compotes. (After all, this is, in the final analysis, a bowl perched on a stem, right?)  The pattern is only  found  on  this  shape, which creates intrigue. Seldom found in ice blue, we decided you would enjoy seeing it. Within the range of patterns  is a choice of base glass colors to select from, or perhaps you might enjoy gathering all the available colors together in your collection of any given pattern. Since (we) are basically pattern collectors, we choose our favorite color, waiting many years in some instances for that  to  present  itself.  Experience teaches that we do not collect in the same manner, as individuals, nor do we perceive the beauty of the glass in the same way. Thank HEAVENS there are no hard and fast rules to lead us……….If   YOU  like it, no other criteria is required. YOU are the one who will be admiring the selection! Collectors are preservationists at heart. Seems to be part of the “root cause” for our being humans; gathering and saving what went before us, as a legacy for coming generations…..

Complexity of design creates curiosity! If you agree with that, let's explore that very aspect here and now. The interior of this simple design is just that: simple; as  compared to the extremities of the famed N. Grape and Cable design used on numerous shapes and could perhaps be called the “most famous” of Harry's patterns. This one is a direct antithesis!  Identified with an N atop a button-like center aperture, found in shades of amethyst, amber, green, marigold and the ice blue, most bowls are ruffled. Three-and-one crimped edge examples are known. 8”-9” bowls are the only shape to be found. Curiously, the entire collar base of this bowl is covered with a flower-like design. Mrs. Hartung described the exterior design as a version of Wild Rose, (a well-known pattern used on the open edge footed bowls by that same name.) The latest Northwood book by Carl O. Burns applies the name (Blossoms and Palms). The defining difference in the two patterns is the size of the shell-like designs-or-palms, and the addition of stems to the base of the roses used on this bowl. Garth Irby said he found this piece in an antique “haunt” in St. Louis, MO.
This is a good place to state that conjecture, and evidence gained over the years lead us to believe that pastels from Northwood were, in many cases, shipped to Australia, and the UK. Both Grape Leaves and Good Luck in the ice colors have been found in greater numbers in those areas. Entire collections have been built around this design. The myriad of colors offered are actually astounding.  9” plates and bowls have always been in much demand. Availability is the likely contributor. Acceptability is based, in large part, on supply and demand. A more obscure, lesser known pattern does not receive as much attention. The well-known Ribbed pattern is used for exterior. When Cliff was selling off  some of their collection following Mary's passing, we were most happy to be offered this beautiful example.
POPPY SHOW-also  found in plates
ROSE SHOW-Also found in plates
Here again, we have one of the more available patterns. However, in certain base glass colors, fulfillment of desire can take the “long road” home! Perhaps you would not think that a purple 9” bowl would be difficult to obtain. Believe me, it is; along with aqua opal, lime green, ice green and emerald green. The example shown has been called “electric green”!
A display of this famous pattern during one of the HOACGA Conventions a few years ago, created a great deal of attention. More than fifty examples were discussed, in every color under the rainbow in both  9” bowls and plates. At that time they were owned by a dentist from PA.  He was justifiably proud of his accumulation! We have heard one collector remark, “You can't HAVE too many Rose Shows!”………. “Joyce Seale, do you remember saying that?” (smile)
LEAF & BEADS-exterior of Lovely.
Lovely is a very scarce bowl pattern, found as the interior design of the basic Leaf and Beads mold. We had been collecting carnival glass for nearly ten years before we were treated to one of these. A John Woody auction in St. Louis offered a tri-corner example and we decided to go there. It took $450 to purchase that piece. We were bidding against Bob Lovell, of TN, who came to us afterwards saying, “You paid too much for that thing didn't you?” (He had $200 in his pocket, to buy it for a friend of his!) It's the story of our collecting lives!............We're always in stiff bidding competition! (smile). We later sold it, and didn't lose a dime!.............We decided to buy another in the tri-corner shape some years later, with Robby Robertson for a competitor. That song we sang rang up to a cool $1000. Price and desirability DO adjust upwards with knowledge of a scarce item! Trust us in that! Round or ice cream shape is known, as well. Green and amethyst are the colors …to date.
Most collectors are familiar with  this pattern, in connection with the rose bowls and candy dish shapes available in many different colors.

IB  PETALS Compote
Here is another of those seldom seen compotes. Amethyst is the most available color. A blue one is rare. Green is not easily obtained, nor are the marigold examples. Only a few ice blue ones are known. Should one become available on an auction brochure, you can forget all about checking the price guides for guidance! They won't help you a bit!  Just take plenty of the “green stuff” and may you be the highest bidder! No other shapes carry this pattern.

One of the more elaborate Peacock proliferations known, this pattern can be found in compote style, water sets, berry sets, punch sets and table sets. Color ranges vary, according to the shape of desire. The interior of these footed fruit bowls is plain, colorful with iridescence, but smooth. Fabulous is an appropriate adjective for the fruit bowls we have seen, no matter what the base color! Only a couple or three are known in aqua opal, electric blue ones are extremely scarce. (We observed one sell in the $2000+ range more than ten years ago, while attending a No. CA Convention  auction.) Today? Who knows. We waited ten years for THIS particular rare green example to come to auction after seeing it in the Bacon collection. Earl had all the colors lined up on a shelf in his basement. Patience becomes a virtue, unless you just “want to buy any glass that comes in your direction”! The specific selections require fortitude. An overall impressive piece with dimensions of 11” across opening and 6” high, this bowl looks nice anyplace it sits, and from any angle.

Simply cannot imagine ANYONE using this for the purpose its name implies!............pickle dish? Please NOT! Similar in proportions to the Imperial Pansy (pickle dish), but having an entirely different color range, of course. Blue Northwood is always a favorite, and it is not difficult to locate one of these in either blue or green. Marigold examples are usually a beautiful pumpkin color. Amethyst is a scarce color, along with aqua, lavender, white and ice blue. An Aqua Opal example such as shown here, is definitely worth forgoing one meal a day for several months, if necessary,  in order to have one. We think it is the most beautiful piece of  aqua  opal  EVER! IF all aqua opal looked this way, none of us could afford it! The even distribution of color on this piece is flawless.
Folks, if any of Harry's patterns define themselves, this must be the one! Who amongst us could EVER call this by any other name? “On  the fence” isn't even NEEDED as further clarification!  9” bowls with either pie crust edge, or ruffled, and plates having  basketweave  or ribbed exteriors command everyone's attention. Either shape can be stippled or un-stippled, with more fuss made over the stippling, usually. Just why the stippling should be more interesting to collectors, has always been a mystery to us. Stippling was applied to the mold to conceal gouges, flaws, or excess glass build-up from the heavy use, in order to extend the life of that mold. Therefore, the examples without stippling are older, and the strike more clearly defined. They will usually have more brilliant iridescent appeal, as well.

PROVENANCE   speaks volumes about any piece. We place great strength of value in collecting examples which have been the “pride and joy” of previous collectors; those who have contributed to the “well-being” and future stability of this  GREAT  collectable we share. The Grape Leaves came to us from the Garth Irby collection. Good Luck is from the Lichtenberger collection in El Cajon, CA.  Cliff and Mary were charter members of the San Diego Club and contributed much toward its growth and success, beginning in June 1985. The beautiful electric green Poppy Show was purchased from Fred & Cathy Roque “way back when”. They filled a need at one point, in becoming Editors of the San Diego quarterly newsletter. The green Rose Show had Lee Pillow for its owner in the `80's. Lee never missed a San Diego Club meeting. We purchased the bowl from her daughter Donna, after Lee passed away. The gorgeous green Peacock @ Fountain fruit bowl came from the Earl Bacon sale. He was a pioneer PA collector, whose glass brought collectors from far and wide to the sale of more fabulous carnival glass in one place than had ever been known. The man bought only the very finest examples-bar NONE! Our Petals compote was purchased from John & Jeanette Rogers. John phoned one day, saying he had purchased two. Would we like to buy one of them?..........Foolish question!  (smile). That scrumptious Peacocks bowl was purchased many years ago from a well-known collector/dealer in New Mexico. Many of us remember Noreen Duran. We are convinced there IS no better aqua  opal  Poppy pickle dish!  It was purchased from the illustrious Tom Mordini some years ago.  Last, but assuredly NOT the least: Our tri-corner Lovely was purchased during a HOACGA Convention auction in 1996. Remembering the circumstance quite well, Robby Robertson told us if we had not purchased the piece, he would have! Among his other contributions to carnival promotion, Robby served as President of the San Diego Club following my (Diane) tenure in that capacity, from instigation in 1985 through '91……….
All the memories attached to each acquisition, creates a profound added value beyond actual price. The pleasure of this personal attachment is not realized by those who do not associate themselves with the “live quotient”, i.e., attending local collector meetings and conventions, making personal contact with others of like interests. ………Those who remain on the sidelines, somewhat detached, calling themselves “closet collectors” are missing the most important factor.  EACH of us has a contribution to make and it's ALWAYS later than we think!! YOUR INPUT IS NEEDED. Make no mistake!  

Consummation of pride in what you collect is reflected in your willingness to share the results with others!

NOTE: The Northwood book written by Carl O. Burns will further your study into the reaches of the following  illustrated  patterns, along with a virtual complete listing/photos of the many other patterns from Harry's repertoire of fine carnival.
D&D Fry….8/03

Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:

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