The Question is: WHAT RETAILS? Part II

by Mark A. Nye
Issue No. 263 - March 1995

Author's note: This is a continuation of the article that began last month called "The Question is: What Retails? Part I. This article originally appeared in the June 1931 issue of China, Glass & Lamps.

"In discussing this demand for dark-colored glassware, there are several interesting angles that must be touched upon. One is the fact that, while crystal or pastel-tinted glass is almost always decorated, either with cuttings or etchings, the deeper colors are just as frequently left unadorned. A platinum or gold band is occasionally added, but it has been found that ruby or cobalt blue, dark green, or amethyst appear at their best without decoration of any sort. An etching is almost invisible against the darker colors and seems only to rob the glass of its brilliance. Beauty of color and shape, are, therefore, the elements on which such glass must rely for its charm.

"Another phase of the question is one that the manufacturers, themselves, have recognized and dealt with. That is the "dead" effect of solid-color stemware in the deeper tints. Combined with crystal, these colors are toned and brightened, and appear to much greater advantage on the table and so are more readily saleable.

"One of the glass companies, the Co-Operative Flint Glass Co., recently introduced a novel idea in deep-tinted glass by making reproductions of Waterford patterns in ruby. Only a few pieces of stemware have been made in this design and color, so far, but if it sells as well as their plain ruby, they may develop a full dinnerware line.

"This concern makes a short dinnerware service in plain ruby, that so popular color, as well as stemware and flatware, and they, also, have two other dark colors, cobalt and amethyst, in which they make stemware and luncheon sets.

"A little lighter in tint but holding a secure place among the colors which cannot be produced cheaply is the Fostoria Glass Co.'s wisteria, so exactly the shade of the flower whose name is has been given. And, of course, among the pastel tints, their topaz is just as much in demand as ever, the stores say.

"In the same category of colors that the customer likes for their uncommonness as well as their beauty is A. H. Heisey & Co.'s lovely "Alexandrite," whose orchid tint is so perfect a reproduction of the original Czechoslovakian Alexandrite. Their Sahara, hue of sun and sand, is a "summer color" which maintains its popularity the year 'round.

"So far as shapes are concerned, the trend toward reproduction of Early American glass which was noticed at the Pittsburgh Show has lost not of its force. In fact, it seems to be growing and several of the factories have lately brought out reproductions which the stores have found to be exceedingly attractive to their customers.

"...Then there are the Duncan & Miller reproductions of old glass, the Sandwich, the hob-nail, and their two latest reproductions which make use of Waterford designs. Such designs as the ones mentioned indicate that the public's liking for definitely styled pieces is far from waning and is likely to influence strongly the lines brought out during the next few months.

"Another interesting tendency commented on in several stores and showrooms is the popularity of stocky shapes in stemware. This trend is logical enough in view of the fact that short-stemmed, heavy-based pieces are much less fragile than ware with long, slender stems, and are equally attractive to look at. Square feet, ball stems, footed pieces with substantial bases merging directly into the bowl, all of them are sought after, whether it be in Early American reproductions, or in modern designs.

"To summarize, then, we find that, in color, the most saleable are those which are not easily or cheaply produced, distinctive hues which the customer recognizes as out of the ordinary and so wants to possess. In shape, it is, to large degree, the sturdy, well balanced stemware that finds the readiest market, and this, of course, includes reproductions of old glass."