Flow Black and Blue

Over the course of time I have seen and heard of Flow Blue. It’s a type of transferware that was very popular in the early and mid-1800s and is still highly collectible. According to Collectors Weekly, Flow Blue pottery began showing up in the 1820s in Staffordshire England. It was created when lime or ammonia was added to the kiln during the glazing process. The chemical caused the blue transferware to run and blur which many people found desirable.

Flow Blue Plate
WH Grinley & Co. Flow Blue (available at Reclamation Art Shop)

I, personally, love many of the Flow Blue patterns; I find them very pretty and unique. I didn’t, however, realize there were other colors until I ran across these amazing saucers.

Black Flow Washington Vase
Black Flow Washington Vase Wedgwood Saucers

In researching them, I could see they are marked “Wedgwood” and “Pearl Stone Ware.” They are also marked “Washington Vase” which turns out to be the pattern name. But these are not Flow Blue, they are Flow Black! And gorgeous!

Black Flow Saucer Trio

These date back to about 1860, so they are over 150 years old. There was a bit of yellowing on a couple of them but you can see one that I believe was the original color. It was a white glaze with a black transfer that was “blurred” in the creation of the Flow Black pattern. The earliest Flow Black Washington Vase was done by a company named Podmore, Walker & Company (PW & Co.) which then became Wedgwood around the 1860s when Enoch Wedgwood became the senior partner during the acquisition of PW & Co.


You will see the PW & Co. mark on Washington Vase from the early 1800s and then around 1860 you will see it marked Wedgwood using the same backstamp, an oval and ribbon. Pearl Stone Ware, which is the other mark on these saucers, was marketed by PW & Co. as a more durable earthenware, being fired at a higher temperature. Since these particular saucers managed to hang in there for 150 years, I guess that it is pretty strong!!

Washington Vase Flow Black Wedgwood Mark

You will sometimes see Flow Black referred to as Mulberry. I saw black but perhaps others see a slightly maroon tinge.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about this beautiful transferware and will be able to identify it when you see it. It’s very collectible! If you have any stories about your Flow Black or Flow Blue, leave me a comment. Have a great week!


All Together Now – NBOP

So I’ve told you all before that sometimes … just sometimes I have a hard time letting go of stuff that I find for the Vintage Eve’s store. Well, this was one of those items. If you have been following me for any length of time, you will also know that bowls are my weakness. I don’t get it either, but there it is. But let’s just take a minute to admire the beauty of the bowl below.


I know, right?!! It’s perfect and it’s now sitting on my kitchen table; 1930s, Universal Potteries, Inc. Morning Glory mixing bowl. Take a look at that pic collage, though. Do you see the pottery mark from the bottom of the bowl? It says, among other things, National Brotherhood of Operative Potters. Never heard of it? Me either until I purchased this bowl. So you know I had to find out who they were. Here is the story.

NBOP Lidded Vegetable by Royal China (available at Winter Camellia Garden)

According to the Kent State Library, The National Brotherhood of Operative Potters (NBOP) is associated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL/CIO). The Brotherhood was founded in 1890 around East Liverpool, Ohio.

NBOP Commemorative Ashtray (available at Melrose Memories)

The NBOP were unhappy with the dominance of the eastern unionists in the Trenton, New Jersey area. During that time, the early 1900s, these potteries set up in areas rich in fuel, clay and water. The University Library states that there were 2 major areas of potteries and they were Trenton, NJ and East Liverpool, OH. The Trenton potters dominated the industry through the Civil War. The pottery workers had already started unionizing to protect their skilled positions “as early as 1862.” (Library Kent).

NBOP Teapot by Universal Cambridge (available at The Silver Tassel)

So in 1890 the first convention of the NBOP started a push towards developing an organization that would protect and benefit potters’ interests. It definitely helped Ohio’s potteries grow to be the producer of 25% of total production. New Jersey’s share of that production was slipping.

NBOT Creamer by Cronin China Co. (available at BTCKreiner)

The NBOP was successful in gaining members and changing labor-management relationships during those early years.The University Library says that they formed 5 locals in those early years: “Local Union One in Toronto, Ohio; Local Union Two in New Cumberland, West Virginia; Local Union Three in Kittanning, Pennsylvania; Local Union Four in East Liverpool, Ohio; and Local Union Five in Findlay, Ohio.”

NBOP Bread Plate by Royal China Co. (available at LexaTree)

They eventually merged the Eastern and Western factions to form a truly national union. They managed to secure a uniform wage contract by 1911. Over the next 30 years they went through their ups and downs. During the time I’ve been writing this blog, we’ve read that many potteries went under due to cheap foreign imports, however during the Progressive and WWI years, foreign imports were greatly reduced in the U.S., thereby increasing demand for domestic wares.

NBOP Refrigerator Jug by Universal Pottery (available at Hellonikita)

Between that increase and the government’s leniency toward labor, the NBOP membership increased. They were able to change sanitary and wage agreements within the industry getting higher wages for their members and checking unskilled workers dangerously operating machinery. But as things happen, the country began to swing the other way after the war.

NBOP Primrose China Dishes (available at Wishing Wells Glass)

There were strikes in 1921 and 1922 that caused people to disaffiliate with the NBOP. Over the next few years, they elected James Duffy into office and he began to strengthen the organization. They continued to go through ups and downs but their membership grew, changing their name in 1951 to the International Brotherhood of Operative Potters (IBOP). So any pieces marked NBOP were before 1951.



NBOP Teacup & Saucer by Royal China (available at Maria’s Farmhouse)

Through the years it also became the International Brotherhood of Allied Workers including unskilled, semi-skilled and non-ceramic groups to increase membership. This happened in 1969. There is more information but for the purposes of this post, this is where I’ll leave off. For more information on the subject, please visit the Kent University Library website which also lists a book that goes more in depth.

NBOP Gravy Boat by The French Saxon China Co. (available at Leftover Stuff)

It’s an interesting history to be sure. So although pieces carry the NBOP mark, the pottery where the piece was made was just a part of this organization. In the case of my bowl, it was made by Universal Potteries, Inc. which was part of the larger organization. When you are trying to identify a piece through the mark, look closely to figure out which pottery company actually made the piece.

As usual, I will be partying all week at the awesome blogs on the right. Check them out if you have a chance. Thanks for visiting and drop me a note to tell me about a piece you just love too much to give up! Have a great week!!




Lovely Libbey!

Since I’ve been around, some 50 or so years now, one of the things I remember being there were glasses by Libbey Glass Company. In my youth, not that things have changed much, I was a bit of a butterfingers. In other words, I’ve broken more than my fair share of glassware! Luckily I had two sisters and a cat to blame it on … just kidding. But seriously, I can remember buying new glasses for my first apartment … Libbey was there and so on in my life. America’s Glassmaker – that’s what they call themselves and they have definitely proven their staying power.

Libbey Mid-Century Modern Coffee Cups (available at Vintage Eve’s)

They are a company that has been around awhile. According to Company Histories website in the early 1700s the glass industry began to establish itself in New England with abundant forests providing fuel and Boston Harbor providing a way to move their glass.

Libbey Southern Comfort Glasses circa 1960s (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Then in 1818 the New England Glass Company was formed by a group of 4 investors. Running from 1818 through to the 1870s, New England Glass became the largest glass maker in the world. They employed over 500 people and made over $500,000 which was a lot in the 1800s!

Libbey Condiment Set Gold Leaf (available at StonyBrook Antiques)

New England Glass made high-quality glass, producing blown glass but also pioneering the process of pressed glass. Unfortunately, as time marched on and better alternatives to leaded glass were created, New England Glass chose to stick to their old methods in an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality.

Libbey Santa Glasses (available at Strychnine Vintage)

They believed the new innovation of lime-based glass was inferior to their lead-based glass. But the lime-based glass kept workers from getting lead poisoning, plus it cooled quicker and was perfect for pressing. Also, by this time the forests of New England were becoming depleted and coal was now required to be shipped in for fuel.

Libbey Brilliant Cut Class Creamer and Sugar (available at Vintage Hand)

So where does Libbey come into being? Well, as New England Glass started struggling William L. Libbey became an agent for them in 1870. Who was Willaim Libbey in the first place? He had been part owner of the Mount Washington Glass company.

Libbey Brilliant Cut Glass (available at Bob’s Basement Treasure)

Company Histories website says that even though New England Glass began to operate at a loss, Libbey convinced them to stay in operation until in 1878 when they leased the properties to Libbey himself. In 1880 the name changed to W.L. Libbey and Son, Proprietors. Libbey’s son, Edward had started as a chore boy in 1872 at New England Glass. His father was trying to get him to go to college and figured some hard work would make him change his mind.

Libbey Frosted Blendo Glasses (available at MidCentury or Bust)

He did eventually go to Maine’s Kent Hill Academy hoping to be a Methodist minister but a throat infection ruined his voice and made it impossible for him to be a public speaker so he went back to work at the glass company (Company Histories website). I thought this was an interesting side note. Because eventually, with his father’s death in 1883, Edward took control of the W.L. Libbey and Son company. He was 29 years old.

Libbey Blue Glass Bowls circa 1940 (available at JoAnntiques)

He worked hard and kept the company afloat relocating the glass works to Toldedo, Ohio which was close to natural gas fields, a railroad and Lake Erie. At that time, Libbey was incorporated as W.L. Libbey  & Son Company and then in 1892 as Libbey Glass Company.

Libbey Nash Footed Tumblers (available at Barb’s Vintage Finds)

There is a lot to their history, but one of the highlights was that they secured the rights to “build and exhibit a fully operating glass factory at Chicago’s 1893 Colombian Exposition.” (Company Histories website). People visiting could watch the glass being made and paid 10¢ for the privilege! They really took off at this point, showing hand-blown and cut glass, especially during the “Brilliant Period” of cut glass.

Libbey Clear Glass Reflectors for Roads (available at ToysNSuch)

In 1935 Owens-Illinois bought Libbey Glass. Libbey had made some great inroads in the glass business but also made some grave mistakes — like trying to go back to art glass just as the Great Depression hit. That left them vulnerable. They continued to run under the Libbey name after Owens-Illinois bought them. Owens-Illinois offered the great management they needed in order to keep the Libbey name in business.

Libbey Hostess Set circa 1950s (available at Vintage Kitchen & Home)

This company is still in business today making glass. For more in-depth information check out Company Histories website as it’s a great resource. I hope you learned something along with me today. As always, I will be partying all week at the link parties on the right; also great resources. Have a great week everyone!

Fabulous Fenton

What a week! I’ve just had to do a complete reset of my computer and reload a bunch of stuff. I can only thank the powers that be for cloud-based programs. All I had to do was log back in to Google and all my bookmarks and everything showed back up! My computer kept freezing and wouldn’t load — what a pain. Well, now that I’m up and running again, it’s time to investigate another vintage company. I’m choosing Fenton this week because I see it a lot. Take a look at these pieces I have in the shop.

I love the colors of their glass. The above pattern is Daisy and Button. Fenton Art Glass Company is actually the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the U.S. According to the Fenton Art Glass website they began in 1905 founded by brothers Frank L. and John W. Fenton.

Waterlilly and Cattails Square Bowl circa 1908 (available at Glass Palace)

They started in Martins Ferry, Ohio and originally painted on glassware made by other manufacturers. The brothers decided, though, to make their own glass. They opened their art glass factory in Williamstown, West Virginia in 1907.

Fenton Iridill Butterfly and Berry (available at DerBayz Vintage)

One of their popular glasswares, Carnival Glass, orignally called “Iridill” was produced later that year; a “poor man’s Tiffany” (Collectors Weekly). Carnival Glass is a very popular collectible still.  But even more popular was a milk glass pattern called Hobnail. That pattern eclipsed even Iridill’s best.

Fenton Iridill Footed Bowl (available at Yesterdi’s)

Hobnail was actually an old Victorian Pattern. Collectors Weekly says that a combination of this hobnail pattern and another pattern called Diamond Lace became really popular, as well.

Fenton Diamond Lace Epergne (available at Elegant Etches)

As much as they liked making glass art, during the Depression and the war years, they produced more practical items like mixing bowls and perfume bottles (Fentonartglass.com). During the 40s, the original founders had retired and Frank M. and Wilmer C. Fenton took the helm. They oversaw significant growth over the next 30 years.

Fenton Hobnail Milk Glass Set (available at Sweet Antiques Store)

Some of their popular early patterns were based on nature according to Collectors Weekly. Waterlily and Cattails, Butterfly and Berries, Peacock Tail, Wreath of Roses and Thistle.

Fenton Peacock Tail Pattern Bowl (available at Suzqui’s Treasures)

In 1986, George W. Fenton, Frank’s son became president. They ceased their production of traditional glass making in 2011 and currently make glass jewelry. They have continued to adapt to carry on the Fenton name and sometimes that’s what it takes to stay in business. Fenton has definitely given us some highly collectible pieces over the years. Happy collecting!

Fenton Melon Perfume Bottle Milk Glass with Rose Overlay (available at For Vintage Sakes)

That’s a wrap on another wonderful glass company! As always, I will be partying at the link parties on the right this week. Check them out, they are great resources. Have a great week!


Wandering Through the Wedgwood

Many of us have at least heard of Wedgwood (yep, there is no second “e” in Wedgwood). We may even have admired a piece of it without knowing that it was Wedgwood.

Wedgwood Creamer in Josephine Pattern

Why is it famous? What is it about Wedgwood that makes it so collectible? Come on along and let’s find out.

First, Wedgwood is British. The company is named after its founder Josiah Wedgwood. According to the Wedgwood Company the company started in 1759 when Josiah became an independent potter out of Burslem, Staffordshire, England. He was 29 years old at the time.

Edwardian Wedgwood circa 1910

He liked to experiment with different types of clay and developed three of Wedgwood’s most distinct forms; Queen’s Ware in 1762, Black Basalt in 1768 and Jasper in 1774. People still love to collect these types of Wedgwood.

Queens Ware circa 1940s

He is called the “Father of English Potters” as his experiments led to an explosion of English pottery and put it in the mainstream.

Queen’s Ware is called such because it was literally a design of cream-colored earthenware that was commissioned by Queen Charlotte. She loved it.

queensware blue
Queens Ware with Wedgwood Blue Decoration

Catherine the Great of Russia wanted some, too. So much so that she requested a set of 952 hand-painted pieces with English scenery (Wedgwood.co.uk).

Jasperware is an interesting form.

Jasperware Sugar Bowl circa 1950s

It was created in 1774 after quite a few failed experiments. It is easily identifiable on sight. The Wedgwood website says it is an unglazed vitreous fine stoneware that was made in blue, green, lilac, yellow black or white. On top of which there were reliefs or 3D pieces in classical or modern themes.

lilac jasperware
Lilac Jasperware Salt & Pepper circa 1960s

Black Basalt is from reddish brown clay that turns black when fired. Noted by the Wedgwood Museum, it had manganese added to the clay which gave it a rich black color.  It is also unglazed like the Jasperware.

black basalt
Black Basalt Bowl circa 1800s

Why is Wedgwood so collectible? From the very beginning, Wedgwood designs and innovations were synonymous with quality. That has not changed. Wedgwood is still in production and it commands higher-end prices.


There are a number of other types of Wedgwood than just the three mentioned. There is Caneware which is pale yellow, Rosso Antico which is a type of red ware, Pearl Ware which is more white than the Cream Ware and is glazed.

Rosso Antico Cambridge Jug

All of them are beautiful and worth collecting. Check out the Wedgwood Society for more detail about all of these forms.

Pearlware Hand-Painted Plate

Thank you for taking a quick look at Wedgwood with me. If you want to find out more, the three websites referenced in this post will help you. There is a wealth of information still to unearth!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Come visit me at Vintage Eve’s and take a look around my shop for some old Wedgwood and more vintage treasures.