NEW GLASS SEMINAR
Seminar by Bruce Schiwitz
AN OVERVIEW OF RECENT PRODUCTION OF & INFORMATION ABOUT NEW VASELINE GLASS
We must first begin with a definition of what exactly Vaseline Glass is: "Vaseline glass is a transparent, yellow-green glass that will fluoresce a bright green color when exposed to any ultraviolet light source, due to the addition of a 1-2% amount of uranium dioxide in the original glass formula. The transparent quality may be obscured by treatments such as opalescent, carnival, irridizing, stretch, satinizing, sand or acid etching, casing, inclusion, and cutting treatments. Hand painted and applied decoration are also acceptable. These treatments do not change the original transparent quality of the glass. The name "Vaseline glass" is due to the similarity of the color to that of petroleum jelly as it appeared in 1900."
By the definition above, there is absolutely no difference between older and newer Vaseline Glass, other than the ages of the pieces themselves. However, we are talking about a commodity of a collectible nature and age can be an important factor in assessing value. During the last few years, I have been priviledged and amused to hear some real doozies about Vaseline Glass. I will attempt to dispell some of the rumors.Please take the time to read these parts carefully. Particularly the definitions of "New", "Re-issue" and "Reproduction", as well as the sections on Myths, Facts & Phrases.
"They can no longer make Vaseline
Glass because it is dangerous, illegal, no uranium,
"The stuff they're making
these days isn't the real Vaseline Glass. It glows, but they aren't using
the right stuff." or "The Vaseline today doesn't have as much uranium as
the old stuff and isn't really TRUE Vaseline Glass"
"They call it Vaseline because
the glass has that 'greasy' feel to it"
I have attempted in this Seminar to cover most of the known production in North America during the past few years. The following makers and/or distributors of Vaseline are covered: Summit, Mosser, Gibson, Degenhart Museum, Ron Lukian, Singleton Bailey, Weishar, Guernsey, and Ed Bowman. Note that Rosso, Fenton & Boyd are not yet covered, and we will be adding this in the future.
Unfortunately, one aspect of the glass business was still very prevalent until just the last few years. Glass makers were primarily artisans, not businessmen. The records of many glass companies are disturbingly vague. Particularly when trying to research older companies. They duly note the amounts of glass, pricing, etc.. But many details regarding exactly what pieces were produced, in what colors, what amounts, and when, are noticeably sketchy. Some companies kept much better records than others. Great example - L.G. Wright kept impeccable records, but he was primarily a businessman.
UNACCEPTABLE WORDS/PHRASES: "Old", "It has that Vaseline Color", or "Vaseline Feel"
ACCEPTABLE, YET SUSPICIOUS PHRASES: "Victorian Style" "Depression Style" "It came out of an estate, auction, yard sale, etc..., I am not certain what it is." "The woman I got it from has a large collection, been collecting for years, is an expert, etc..." "Has a beautiful Vaseline glow to it" (Maybe so, but does it glow green under a black light?) "I don't have a black light, but I have been selling for over (however many) years"
Ask direct questions! Demand direct answers! Avoid evasive replies! "When was this piece made?" Not what style, or other such indirect, misleading replies. "Who made this piece?" You are not asking who made the mold originally, but who actually produced the piece you are inquiring about. "Has it been black light tested to glow GREEN?" Not orange, but GREEN!
"New" - A great deal of the Vaseline Glass on the market today falls under this heading. These are pieces that are totally new designs and have not been produced in Vaseline before. Pieces that are still, or have been, produced by the original manufacturer (whether continuously or periodically) should also be considered under this heading.
"Reissue" - This term applies to the majority of the Vaseline pressed wares that are on the market. These are pieces that were never produced in Vaseline by the original producers of their respective molds, but are now being produced in Vaseline by the current mold owners. Many collectors, dealers, and collector's publications mistakingly refer to these as reproductions.
"Reproduction" - A Reproduction is a piece (of anything) made exactly as the original or in an attempt to duplicate an original version. Most of the American glass companies are producing New or Reissue pieces in Vaseline and other colors as well. The majority of them are trying to avoid making pieces in the original colors so as not to create confusion and negatively influence the market. Under pressure from the buying public, many of them are also adding or ammending the markings on the glass to further avoid confusion and deception. Unfortunately, the glass companies have no control whatsoever over individual dealers and how they represent their merchandise. The problems arise more often with a combination of unscrupulous dealers and uneducated or uninformed collectors. A vast number of poor quality glass Reproductions are coming in from Asia. Luckily, none of these have yet to appear in Vaseline or any Uranium glass. What few American companies that have produced actual Reproductions in Vaseline (Fenton, Boyd, Summit & Mosser) have marked most of their glass in a manner that allows the newer versions to be distinguished from the originals. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Reworking of molds is costly and not always done.
I make these points primarily so that people will realize that an absolutely comprehensive detailed listing of all contemporary Vaseline is probably not feasible. But a partial list is better than none. It is a start. This information was current as of October 2000. Much has happened since then also. New line and out-of-line items from Fenton. Boyd's perhaps final batch of Vaseline glass??? News that Summit may also not batch anymore Vaseline for quite some time. And of course, new pieces from Rosso - Mary Dugan Vase, Fenton Pickle Castors, Bird Vases/Spooners, etc... Always something. Keep tuned to your local Vaseline e-mail channel for the latest news in reproductions, re-issues, new pieces, and more about our Convention 2001 in Kansas City. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Copyright © 2000-2001
Vaseline Glass Collectors, Inc.