Q. I would like your opinion on the rarity and value of this carnival glass bowl. It is marked with an underlined "N" in a circle and is in mint condition. It is 8½ inches in diameter and I believe the color is amethyst. Any information would be appreciated.
A. The signature on this piece is that of the Northwood Glass Co. of Indiana, Pa., and later Wheeling, W.Va. We have discussed this famous company, but it was a long time ago, and revisiting the history is in order.
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Harry Northwood came from a glassmaking family, and his father, John Northwood, was a renowned English glassmaker. Harry came to the United States in 1880, and went to work for the Hobbs, Brockunier company, where he learned the craft of glass blowing.
In 1886, he moved on to the La Belle Glass Co. of Bridgeport, Ohio, where he became manager in 1887. Unfortunately, La Belle burned a few months later, and Northwood moved on to the Buckeye Glass Co. in Martin's Ferry, Ohio. He remained there until 1896 when he founded his own company in Indiana, Pa.
There, he and his associates made a variety of pressed glass, including his famous custard glass. Finally in 1902, Northwood acquired the old Hobbs Brockunier facility, where he had first worked on coming to the United States, and it was here that he began marketing carnival glass in 1908.
Carnival glass first appeared about 1905, and it was said to be an attempt to produce a cheap, mass-market derivative of the fine iridized glassware being made by Tiffany, Steuben, Loetz and others. Carnival glass is mechanically pressed and came in a variety of patterns and colors -- some of which can be very rare and expensive.
Original carnival glass was made by a number of companies such as the Dugan Glass Co. (aka the Diamond Glass Co.), which worked in Northwood's old Indiana, Pa., factory after 1904; Fenton, and Millersburg. It was also made in England, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Argentina and India.
The bowl in today's question is in a Northwood pattern known as "Star of David and Bows." It was made in 8½ inch diameter dome footed bowls and the design is said to have been intended as a tribute to the Jewish religion.
The inside of the bowls in this pattern have a beaded Star of David with a border of flowers, tendrils and bows, and the outside is decorated with a "vintage" (grape) pattern. So far, this design has only been found in the colors of marigold, green and amethyst.
You want to know if your bowl is rare. Sadly, the answer is no.
The most expensive "Star of David and Bows" bowls are those found in amber, which should be valued for insurance purposes at around $150 to $175. Amethyst examples are the next most valuable at around $125 to $150. The least pricey color is marigold, which is generally less than $50.
• Contact Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928.