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Drapery Variant - Update March 2007
DRAPERY VARIANT Update - March 2007

A lengthy, and descriptive dissertation on this subject is offered by Bob Smith. Dedicated tumbler collector extraordinaire', describes this gentleman to best advantage! His trip to Finland, Czechoslovakia, and India some years ago in search of valid information surrounding some of those tumblers has led to some profound discoveries. (i.e.) He unknowingly walked within 200 feet of the Prague Inwald factory, but at that time no one had ever mentioned Inwald as a carnival glass producer.

He says he was traveling blindly in Czechoslovakia and the other two countries mentioned, and it was only a stroke of luck that Siegmar Geiselberger came up with the colored Inwald catalog shortly after finding the tumblers. That confirmed Inwald as the maker of the Drapery Variant in carnival glass, at least.

The Riihimaki catalog, printed in 1939 covers the period 1920s and 1930s. That catalog displays a price page for the Drapery Variant. It is #5073. The last column for each item shows the letters AZ, AR and AM. These are the color of the tumblers. AX is Azur (Blue); AR is Aurum (Marigold); AM is Amestisti (Amethyst). No one has ever reported seeing a blue or amethyst tumbler anywhere.

Flashing iridescence on tumblers actually began just after the demise of regular carnival glass in the late 1920s. I have about 400 late flashed tumblers, a couple of dozen of which I am sure come from the late `20s. The earliest dated flashed tumbler is the Blum Dept. Store example, which is etched October 8, 1930. A couple of these tumblers I am sure are of European origin. (You may click on A Variety of Advertising-left column-homepage, to view one of these tumblers.)

The year my friend made the purchase of these two tumblers at the Norton Flea market was around 1983-84. This is several years before the arrival of foreign carnival glass and foreign reproductions which eased into the market in the very late 80s (and that opened the flood gates). One cannot rule out the adventurous entrepreneur, but I cannot find any record of a Drapery Vt. -like tumblers made by any factory in this country. Where would he get his crystal tumblers from?

Aside from the catalogs picked up while on my trip, which have been a boon for carnival glass research, another area of endeavor is within a mile of my home. The Boston Public Library has the entire Corning Glass Museum's collection of glass catalogs from around the world. They are on 1000's of microfilm frames. Only two other places in America has this; the New York City Public Library and Harvard University. I am doubly blessed with having Harvard only two miles away from my house. I was told it was a matter of cost - it takes $85,000 to obtain all the microfilms. I have lived here for more than thirty years and never knew about this until 1997 when I went to the library to check out things I had found on my trip.

Seems that a shiny mirror base grind; a typical characteristic of Josef Inwald, implies the source of manufacture to be from the Czech maker. This is to say that the carnival examples of shot glasses and tumblers in the Drapery Variant pattern may have come from Inwald, while the crystal examples were produced by Riihimaki. Certainly the liquor decanter in the pattern is not typical of Riihimaki manufacture.

Bob's explanation of the iridized tumblers versus the crystal examples is most helpful. Since the pitcher in Drapery Vt. pattern is iridized, we might assume that it too was produced by Inwald?

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