Dugan

An American original
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Click on the numbers under each picture to see a larger version

Written by Alfredo Villanueva-Collado, Ph.D.

Photos © Abersio Núñez

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V.2 corresponds to the pieces from the Passau Museum. Two are violet and one is "dark pink." All three show the same manufacturing process. The rose bowl, IV.400, is shown in the Fall 1906 Butler brothers "Japanese Vase and Rose Bowl Asst." (HMW 51). The larger piece, IV.401, is illustrated in a 1906 Butler Brothers catalogue featuring a "25c Venetian Vase Asst." ( HMW 50; see also photo 10 ).
In the PMC, the rose bowl is described as "light violet glass, pre-blown in a ribbed mold, colorless and silver yellow glass speckles. Mold blown and free formed, three deep indentations, rim pinched three times.  Reduced and brilliantly iridized" ( translation by Eddy Scheepers ).  The "glass speckles" correspond to "frit" and give the glass what has been described as a ‘crushed ice" effect. "Reduced" refers to a technique whereby glass threads containing metal are coaxed back to their original metallic proto-type. I find the dark quality of purple glass tends to absorb light and not allow the ribbing to show through; on the other hand, it maximizes the iridescent effect ( photo 8 ).
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Variant 2: purple glass                                       08
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Amber frit over colorless, blue or light pink transparent glass, instead, de-emphasizes the iridescent effect and gives a quite lovely "chipped ice" brilliance to V.3 which also reminds me of colored sugar crystals or hard candy (Photos 9, 10; the vase in photo 11 has same shape and size as PMC IV: 401). As I examined the vases, I found that they had a "hexagon buttons" optic pattern as well, having been made from the same mold (Photo 12). The "buttons," though, are barely visible through the vertical ribbing and the frit; the rose bowls do not have them.

Variant 3: pink glass                                 09
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Variant 3: blue green glass                            10

Variant 3: large "canary-yellow"      11 

Same mold, different decorations and colors       12
For V.4, "opal" frit (coarsely crushed white glass) is used in conjunction with finer amber frit "glitter".  The opal frit is randomly distributed on the surface of the vessel; the amber frit marks the vertical ribbing (Photo 13; the two taller pieces are also illustrated in HMW 82: 172D.172E). Therefore, pieces in this V.4, which so far I have found only in sky-blue (as opposed to blue-green) glass, are related to Northwood’s "Granite Ware" (see photo 1; also, HMW 82: 172A, 172B, 172 C). V.5, usually appearing in cobalt blue, has opal frit as well, but the golden amber frit is applied over it in "sunbursts" or "stars" (Photo 14), following a "thumbprint" optic mold pattern in the glass (see photo 2)
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  Variant 4 in sky blue, gold and opal frit                          13

Variant 5: "Starburst pattern, usually named "Japanese"         14

Dugan iridescent glass was produced in a limited variety of shapes, decorative patterns, colors and sizes. Thus, the collector may find same-shaped vessels with differ-ent decorative treatments. Variants 2 through 5 were created simply by altering the treatment of the "frit" or changing the optic mold. Rarity of shape, color and decoration affects value. It may be possible to find "unique" pieces or even shapes, colors and decorative combinations previously unknown.

However, it is still quite affordable to budget-conscious collectors-the rarest pieces going for under $150 on E-Bay-- though maybe not for too long. It is unfair to compare it to Loetz, since there is no similarity either in manufacturing process or quality. When judged on its own, its intrinsic charm makes it quite endearing. Ultimately, distinguishing between "Venetian," "Pompeian" and "Japanese" becomes less important than giving these small Indiana, Pennsylvania, beauties the place they deserve in the history of American iridescent art glass.

Note. I want to thank Eddy Scheepers for his online translations and steadfast encouragement of my research; Norma Brown and Jeff Weller for their support and advice; and all those E-Bayers who sold reasonably, answered promptly, mailed quickly and responded cheerfully to my queries.

 

WORKS CITED

Adlerová, Alena, et.al. Das Böhmishe Glass 1750-1900. Band IV, Jugendstil in Böhmen. Passau: Passauer Glasmuseum, 1995. [PMC]

Burns, Carl O. Dugan & Diamond Carnival Glass: Identification and Value Guide.

Paduckah, Ky.: Collector Books, 1999.

Heacock, William, James Measell and Berry Wiggins. Dugan/Diamond: The Story of Indiana, Pennsylvania, Glass. Marietta, Ohio: Antique Publications, 1993 [HMW].

Truitt, Robert. Collectible Bohemian Glass 1880-1940. Kensington, Md.: B&D Glass, 1995.


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