Those Confusing Woodland Scenes

William P. Walker

(This article first appeared in the April/May 1998 issue of Glass Collector's Digest,  published by The Glass Press, Inc. The article below has been updated to reflect new information discovered since the original was published.)

Several acid etchings and silver (or gold) decorated scenes feature various members of the deer family and other animals in a woodland setting.  Because of their similarities, these designs may be confusing to dealers and collectors alike.  A closer look at six Depression Era woodland scenic patterns from the 1930s is presented below.  These patterns are Call of the Wild, Sylvania, Black Forest, Elk Forest, Deerwood (a.k.a. Birch Tree), and Woodland.

The readers is advised to scrutinize each design to distinguish the various members of the deer and canine families.  Hopefully, the information in this article will help others identify correctly, and appreciate more fully, these very attractive designs.

CALL OF THE WILD

The Call of the Wild design was made by the Lotus Glass Company of Barnesville, Ohio.  Lotus did not actually manufacture glass, but instead this firm was a very prolific and well-known decorating house.  This design has been found decorated with either silver or gold.  Lotus put the Call of the Wild design on blanks from several different companies, including Duncan and Miller, New Martinsville, Paden City, and U.S. Glass.

Cigarette box in ebony with Lotus' Call of the Wild design (probably on a Paden City blank) and New Martinsville's No. 34 "Addie" center-handled server in jade with Lotus' Sylvania etching. Both decorations by the Lotus Glass Company of  Barnesville Ohio.

 

The Call of the Wild design is characterized by a wide silver (or gold) band of flowers  broken by a circular medallion containing a bull elk and a wolf standing in a meadow.  The ebony cigarette box illustrated here bearing the Call of the Wild design in silver was most probably made by Paden City.

Call of the wild is well illustrated in Weatherman's Colored Glassware of the Depression Era 2 (1974, pp. 232, 242).  Although Weatherman assigned names to many patterns, the ad reprint on p. 232 shows that the name Call of the Wild originated with Lotus.

SYLVANIA

Sylvania also by the Lotus Glass Company, is usually found as a silver design on blanks from Duncan and Miller, New Martinsville and Paden City.  The Sylvania design contains the same sketch of a bull elk and wolf as found in the Call of the Wild medallion.  In Sylvania, however, the animals are standing on a suspended patch of grass, all contained within an oval filigree frame.  The balance of the design surrounds this frame with an oval or rounded, diamond-shaped filigree/lattice work (depending on the shape of the item) with four-petaled flowers in the lattice work.

 

The Sylvania design is illustrated here on a jade, center-handled server from New Martinsville's No. 34 "Addie" line.  William Heacock in Collecting Glass Vol 1.  (1984, p. 68) dubbed this numbered but unnamed line in honor of Addie Miller, co-author of the original New Martinsville books published in 1972 and 1975.

Weatherman reproduced a catalog page showing the line as No. 34.  As a follow up in her price guide (1982, p. 196), she calls the No. 34 line "Kay."  Weatherman included Sylvania among the Lotus products in Colored Glassware of the Depression Era 2 (p.244).  A catalog reprint identifies Sylvania as the original Lotus name.  This design is also illustrated in James Measell's New Martinsville Glass, 1900-1944 (p.130, item 368 and 390), but there it is confused with the look-alike Call of the Wild design.

  Black Forest design on Paden City's No 210 Regina 6.5" vase with gold-encrusted etch.

 

BLACK FOREST

Glassware with the Black Forest etching was marketed by Frank L. Van Deman & Son, a New York merchandising firm.  A considerable amount of this decorated ware was sold between 1929-1931.

In her monumental tome, Colored Glassware of the Depression Era 2 (1974, p. 351), Hazel Marie Weatherman illustrated a 1930 Van Deman advertisement for Black Forest.  Although this company did not manufacture glass, a logo in this ad -- "Black Forest" superimposed over "VD" -- suggests that Van Deman may have had certain rights to the name of this design.

Weatherman speculated that "the ware was made for Van Deman by special contract with some American glass factory, or even imported."  She added, "The line was large -- plates, cups & saucers, sugar & cream, fruit bowls, cake plate, comport, candlesticks, and more -- and often embellished."

In Jerry Barnett's Paden City: The Color Company (1978, pp.44-45), we see that the Black Forest etching was done on Paden City's No. 210 Regina Line.  Michael Krumme's article in The DAZE (Oct. 1992) extended our knowledge further by showing a Paden City catalog page of the No. 210 line with the No. 517 etching depicted on a squat vase.  Paden City's No. 517 etching  is identical to Van Deman's Black Forest design.

(L. to R.) No. 517 Black Forest etching on No. 210 Regina footed fruit bowl in cheriglo (4.5" high, 9 1/8" top diameter) and No. 210 Regina tall footed comport with rolled edge in cheriglo (5.5" high, 7.75" top diameter

 

From what we see in shows, recent advertising, and have collected ourselves, we know that the Black Forest etching (No. 517) was not only produced on ebony pieces of Regina for Van Deman, but Paden City also marketed glass with this etching in cheriglo (pink), green, ruby, and crystal.  There is no evidence that Van Deman ever sold their Black Forest line in any color other than ebony.

Depending on space available on a specific piece, the pattern may show as many as four scenes, each separated by the trunks of different types of trees that act as a frame for each scenario.  One scene shows a moose fighting with a canine -- possibly a wolf; another shows two deer doe, head to head facing outward.  In the third scene, an elk is being chased by a dog or wolf; while the last scene has an elk and a deer doe, back to back.

This etching has also been seen on Paden City's No. 701 Triumph, No. 881 gadroon, and No. 991 Penny Line.  Since the Black Forest etching may be found on several Paden City lines in pink, green, ruby, and crystal, as well as the ebony glass shown in van Deman's advertisements, it would appear that Van Deman did not have any exclusive right to this etching.  Paden City made the blanks and did the etching for this design, while Van Deman provided an extensive marketing network.

 

ELK FOREST

About six years ago, this design was found on a Paden City No. 182 8" oval vase.  It was being sold as a Black Forest-like design by Rockwell and had a Rockwell tag on its base which stated that it was "non-tarnish sterling silver."  Unable to find the original Rockwell number or name for this design, the name Elk Forest is assigned here.

  Elk Forest silver decoration by Rockwell on Paden City's No. 182 8" oval vase.  

The scene features the small figures of a bull elk and his mate standing beneath a tall stand of fully crowned trees in full leaf.  The forest motif continues on the reverse and includes a single tree stump on the edge of a clearing.  As the tree stump has obviously been sawed off, it may indicated the artist's interpretation of the encroachment by man into the elk's habitat.

Evidently, the Rockwell Silver Company of Meriden, Connecticut (1907-c.1980) acquired this blank from Paden City, applied the silver deposit, and sold this vase under its own name.  The blank consists of satinized glass and the rim is also embellished with silver.

 

DEERWOOD (A.K.A. BIRCH TREE)

The Deerwood etching may be found on numerous blanks made by U.S. Glass as well as several lines of Paden City glass; namely, No. 700 Simplicity and No. 300 Archaic, as well as the No. 198 candy box.

The etching appears in a band around the piece's outer edge, and it is separated into as many as four panels by different tree groupings.  The panels contain the following scenes: (a) a buck deer looking to the rear as a rabbit hops nearby; (b) a doe and her fawn drinking from a pool as two startled birds take flight; (c) a buck deer standing at alert; and (d) a doe deer and her fawn standing at alert.

Apparently not having access to U.S. Glass or Tiffin catalog pages, Weatherman (1974, p. 397) illustrated this pattern on an "unknown" console bowl, along with a detailed sketch of this etching, which she called "Birch Tree" after the town where she was born.  In the Tiffin Glassmaster books, Fred Bickenheuser illustrated  a 1929 U.S. Glass catalog page that prominently displayed "Deerwood" as the name of this etching (1981, Bk. II, pp. 11-12).  The page is marked "Factory 'GES'," indicating the Glassport, Pennsylvania plant.  Bickenheuser (1981, p.11) mentioned that Deerwood was produced between 1923 and 1933; however, recent information uncovered by Kelly O'Kane indicated that the Deerwood etching was designed by an independent artist in December 1926 and that actual production was not begun until about a year later.

Some authors have either made a mystery out of the Deerwood etching being on Paden City glassware, or they have insisted adamantly that all blanks were really made by U.S. Glass, not Paden City.  There is a much simpler, more realistic, explanation that many collectors resist.

Deerwood etching by U.S. Glass on Paden City's No. 700 Simplicity center-handled server in Cheriglo (pink).

 

During the Depression Era, the various glass companies did whatever they could do just to survive financially. Paden City, more than other glass manufactures, made blanks to be sold specifically to decorating companies and wholesalers.  On the other hand, U.S. Glass -- especially the plant in Glassport -- sometimes obtained blanks from other companies, such as Heisey and Paden City, in order to keep their etching department busy.

Two flat covered candy boxes with the Deerwood etching -- the No. 198 (round knobbed handle) and No. 300 Archaic (skewed off-center handle) - are shown in Florence's Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era (1997, p.79).  Both were manufactured by Paden City Glass.  No look-alike pieces have been seen to date in any of the U.S. Glass catalogs.  (U.S. Glass documented their wares more extensively than most other glass companies.)

Pink and green center-handled servers with the Deerwood etching are illustrated in Pina and Gallagher's Tiffin Glass: 1914-1940 (1997, p.170).  The blanks are said to be Tiffin's No. 330, but this author believes they are Paden City's No. 700 Simplicity.  (Could U.S. Glass have rented or bought this mold from Paden City?)  However, U.S. Glass No. 330 is well illustrated on p. 176 of this book.  Also, the No. 330 center-handled server with the Deerwood etching is shown in Bickenheuser's Tiffin Glassmasters II (1981, p.12).  (Interestingly, none of the Tiffin/U.S. Glass authorities consulted in preparing this article had ever seen this No. 330 pieces with the Deerwood etching.)  Recent discussions with former Paden City glass workers suggest that it was not uncommon for this company to ship their glassware up the Ohio Valley to U.S. Glass (probably  Glassport).

 

WOODLAND

This attractive, well-executed etching, which depicts wildlife or a hunt scene, is found in a band on various pieces of glass from several different companies.  The scenes are framed by groups of trees with truncated tops.  The design is bordered, both top and bottom, by narrow decorative bands.

The animals depicted are two birds and two types of canines.  One bird is on the ground while the other is perched on a branch.  Both birds have long tails suggesting that they may be pheasants.  One canine has the streamlined stance of a pointer, but it could also represent a coyote, wolf, or fox.  A lone fox fits best into this woodland scenario.  The fox has its back to the pheasants and is facing, in an alert stance, two flop-eared dogs that appear to be German Short Hairs or some similar type of hunting dog.  (Those of us who try to identify figures in an etching should go in for the Rorschach Test!)

This etching has been found on individual pieces from an number of glass manufacturers, which indicates that it may not be a part of an extensive line.  On exception has been a collection of stems, plates and serving pieces found by glass dealer and friend, Fran Jay of Lambertville, New Jersey.  The shape of these stems was identical to ones found in a 1931 Central Glass Works advertisement, which was reprinted in Weatherman's Colored Glassware of the Depression Era 2 (1974, p. 45).  Weatherman gives the name "Hester" to the etching shown in that ad.  One might then ask, was this woodland or hunt scene etching the property of Central Glass Works of Wheeling, West Virginia?

  Woodland etching by Wheeling Decorating Company on unidentified 14" server.  

Mystery and intrigue go hand in hand with this etching, as it has been found on Fostoria No. 2287 center-handled server, the No. 5207 parfait, and the No. 2378 whip cream pail in green.  It has been found also on Morgantown's No. 7643 Golf Ball cafe parfait.  Imperial, a common contributor to intrigue, provided a center-handled server in ruby with the etching embellished with gold.  In addition, this etching has reportedly been seen on U.S. Glass and McKee glassware.

Could this etching have been done by a decorating company such as Lotus?  Or was it a Central Glass Works product as postulated earlier?  If this etching had been made by Central, then we would have to explain why it appears on Fostoria, Morgantown, Imperial, U.S. Glass, and McKee glassware.  Did Central buy glass for decorating from ALL these companies?  From past experience, when an etching appears on more than one or two companies' glassware we should suspect very strongly that it is the work of a decorating company.

The answers to these questions were provided graciously by Roy D. Ash of Marietta, Ohio.  In 1995, he discovered that the etching plates had been made by the Wheeling Decorating Company of Wheeling, West Virginia.  Unfortunately, the plates were not marked by company number or etching name, but only by directions stating that they were to applied to specific items such as a finger bowl, comport, or a dinner plate.  Roy describes the etching as three independent scenes or an artist's attempt to express a possible chain of events in a woodland environment.  His descriptive name for this design, "Woodland," seems most appropriate to this author.

 

CONCLUSION

Now that we have looked at various designs on the theme of animals in a woodland setting, the reader should be able to distinguish them without difficulty.

A word of thanks and appreciation is gratefully extended to Florence and Joe Solito, Michael Krumme, Kelly O'Kane, Jerry Gallagher, Ed Goshe, Dean Six, Roy Ash and others for their input and stimulating discussions; however, the author accepts full responsibility for the conclusions drawn for each of these designs.

 

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