Consolidated Glass Company
The Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company was the result of the merger of two firms, Fostoria Shade & Lamp Company of Ohio and Wallace and McAfee Company of Pittsburgh in the year 1893. The company initially had their production facilities in Ohio, but after a fire in 1895, they were forced transfer to a new site in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania.
The main products of Consolidated were shades, lamps, and globes. They also produced functional and decorative globes for both commercial and residential use. Moreover, they created pattern glass tableware such as pitcher sets, butter dishes, and sugar shakers. By the year 1910, Consolidated was the biggest lighting glass firm in the whole of the US, employing more than 400 workers.
The company was known to use patterns that were inspired by the Victorian period. They employed highly talented mould designers to create patterns that were exclusive only to them. Among their most popular lines were the “Gone with the Wind” lamps which were decorated with foliage designs, ornate masks, and lions. Their tableware patterns had less ornate designs such as loop patterns, feathers, and cones.
Consolidated products came in various colours such as ruby red, canary yellow, and even crystal. Other popular hues include sky blue, mandarin orange, and apple green. They also produced milk glass, which was also known as “opal.” The company was also known for their cased-glass pieces, which were two pieces of glass fused together.
Most of the glass wares made by Consolidated were decorated in-house. They had decorating rooms where products were hand-painted and etched using acid. Edges were also fire polished by hand. Gold gilding and scenic transfers were done by skilled craftsmen.
Cosmos, one of their more popular patterns, was available in crystal and milk glass. The petals on the flower design of this pattern were hand-painted by highly trained Consolidated decorators.
During the early years of the company, they were able to produce huge quantities of high quality table wares, decorative lamps, and lighting fixtures. It is not that difficult to find Consolidated wares today as the company was able to make huge numbers of their products during their existence.
Collecting Consolidated glass
When collecting early Consolidated wares it is important to educate yourself. Know how to distinguish the colours, finishes and sizes made by the firm. If possible, visit museums that have a collection of Consolidated glass such as the Corning Museum in New York and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
It would also be helpful to join Consolidated glass clubs or societies to enable you to meet other like-minded individuals who can help you identify and evaluate pieces.
Buy only from reputable auction houses or dealers. A dealer should be open to discussing with you the background and history of the wares they are selling. Do not hesitate to ask questions before purchasing. Inspect pieces for any chip or crack, as these imperfections can greatly diminish the value of a particular ware.