Monday, August 31, 2009

Westmoreland Glass Company, Part I

Westmoreland Glass Company
An Introduction including Milk Glass and Company Marks
By Pamela Wiggins,

Westmoreland Glass Milk - In the Beginning
Westmoreland Specialty Company grew out of Specialty Glass Company when the business moved from East Liverpool, Ohio to Grapeville, Pennsylvania in the late 1880s. In 1890, the company began producing high quality glass in pot furnaces at its new Grapeville factory.

In the early 1900s glass containers holding condiments such as vinegar, mustard, and lemon flavoring were made and distributed by Westmoreland. During the World War I era, the company manufactured glass candy containers distributed by newsstands and dime stores. These types of endeavors were eventually abandoned as unprofitable, according to a letter published on the National Westmoreland Glass Collectors Club Web site.

In 1924, Westmoreland Specialty Company became Westmoreland Glass Company to thwart confusion about wares being distributed by the business. Glass was the only product being distributed from the Grapeville factory at that time.

Westmoreland suffered through the Depression in the 1930s like many other glass companies, but never ceased production. The company reorganized in 1937 with further funds risked by the Brainard family who had partnered with the West family to operate the factory since the late 1800s. James J. Brainard became president in 1937, and served in that capacity until 1953 when his son, James H. Brainard, became the head of the organization after his father’s death.

Westmoreland’s Milk Glass

Even in the early years, milk glass was the most remarkable product Westmoreland manufactured. In fact, this company was one of the most prolific producers of fine quality milk glass in the United States, according to the Collector’s Encyclopedia of Milk Glass by Betty and Bill Newbound. This includes the ever-popular hen on nest covered dishes, which were made of more delicate milk glass in comparison to that produced from the 1940s on.

One of the most well-known patterns of later milk glass made by Westmoreland, while there were a number, is Paneled Grape. Text from a brochure published in the Newbound’s book notes this pattern marketed as “reproduction” glass marked with the WG mark (shown above). Apparently Paneled Grape was first made in the late 1800s by Westmoreland along with other glass makers, but what most collectors find on the secondary market today is the later glass which is thicker and whiter in comparison to early milk glass wares.

The Newbounds report the following Westmoreland marks on milk glass:
•W within a keystone - 1910-1929
•WG stacked mark – first used in the late 1940s (shown above)
•WESTMORELAND within a circle – around 1982
Several different paper labels were also used by Westmoreland throughout the years.

To Be Continued

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Picture shown here: Hen On Nest Covered Dish

For more info on all sorts of glass, see our Squidoo Lens at: All Sorts of Glass

Penny and Doug
Penny's Antiques & Wedgwood Pantry


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