Consolidated glass vase

above: Foxglove vase,
Consolidated Glass

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Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company

- from The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Consolidated Glass:

The Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company was formed in Fostoria, Ohio in 1893 from the merger of the Fostoria Shade and Lamp Company with Wallace and McAffee Company. They moved to Coraopolis when their glassworks burned down only two years later. In the 1890's they produced some art glass vases and bowls, but for many years their main production was high quality lamps, globes and shades.

In 1925 Reuben Haley, a celebrated glass designer, left U.S. Glass and set up his own design company in space rented from Consolidated Lamp and Glass, who still specialised in light fittings. That same year the famous Paris Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes took place and afterwards a selection of 400 objects from this Art Deco exhibition toured several cities in the USA. This travelling exhibition included a large number of glass items by Rene Lalique, and created a demand for similar types of glass in the USA.

Reuben Haley pursuaded Consolidated to produce glassware to his designs, some of which were direct copies of Lalique pieces (eg the Love Birds vase which copies Lalique's Perruches vase, and the Bird of Paradise vase which copies Lalique's Aras vase). Consolidated produced a range of truly beautiful art glass vases which they called their Martele Hand Wrought Art Glass. These designs, like the Foxglove vase pictured left, were sometimes also called Selden line glass (after Howard Selden who held exclusive marketing rights for a time). This glass is highly prized by collectors today.

Also during the 1920's, Consolidated produced and marketed art glass based on old Spanish designs (which they called Catalonian glass) and acid etched designs (called Florentine) amongst others. Their second great success was with their bold, angular, Ruba Rombic designs, introduced in 1928. These designs have become highly collectable too.

In 1932 the depression was badly affecting this glassworks, and the owners decided to close down temporarily to stop their losses. Reuben Haley had rights to the moulds he had designed. He died in 1933, and his son Kenneth transferred the moulds to Phoenix Glassworks where he was employed, so that the production could continue. Phoenix made these Martele designs under the name Phoenix Reuben-Line from 1933 to 1936 when Consolidated re-opened and recalled their molds. Phoenix also produced their own designs in a very similar kind of glass which they marketed as Sculptured glass, and just to add to the confusion, their glass was also known as Selden line glass as it was marketed by Howard Selden.

Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company and the Phoenix Glass Company were quite separate companies at all stages.

Consolidated continued to produce their Martele designs until the company closed down in 1963. Until the end they were still producing lighting products, and many of the Martele vases were also offered as lamp bases.

It is always interesting to see what Consolidated Glass items are being offered for sale. Click Consolidated glass to take a look. Since Phoenix Glass produced the same items from the same molds for a time, and there is much confusion about which company was the main source of these beautiful items, it's a good idea to check the Phoenix Glass items listed for sale too - click Phoenix glass

Since the company closed down there have been some sources of reproduction Martele glass. Sinclair Glass in Indiana obtained some of the original Martele molds and produced some milk glass and plain crystal pieces in the late 1960's. Westclair, part of the Sinclair company, introduced some designs in the late 1980's with very similar designs to Consolidated's Martele. Fenton Art Glass made their own mold of the Consolidated Dogwood vase and marketed reproductions in 1984 (these have the Fenton logo on the base).

Sources and references:

Click on any title or book cover to read more about a particular book

Phoenix Art Glass 2007 Phoenix and Consolidated Art Glass PhoenixGlass1969 Antique Lamps American glass book Warmans Glass 2002 American Art Glass 2006

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