The first carnival glass, or “iridescent ware” glass was produced by the Fenton Glass Company of Williamstown, West Virginia in 1907. Their goal was to manufacture a glass product to compete with the highly prized and more costly art glass of the day made by glass houses such as Steuben and Tiffany. The irradiation technique used to create a beautiful sheen on the glass surface involved applying metallic salts to a piece still hot from the mold. The glass was then re-fired yielding a stunning iridescent surface shimmer. Although carnival glass was made in molds, some was still hand finished by artisans. Its popularity lasted through 1918 in America with production moving overseas where it was created and sold into the 1930s. Collector’s have adopted the name “carnival glass” as it was given away as prizes at traveling fairs or carnivals. In reality the majority of these pieces were purchased in general stores at the time. Both ornamental and utilitarian items were offered in a variety of forms, colors and patterns. With its multicolored rainbow-like surface appearance, carnival glass was enjoyed by many in the early 20th century.
Yellow Garage dealer Running Horse Antiques presents a carnival glass plate in the Leaf Chain pattern with Bearded Berry back manufactured by the Fenton Glass Company. Both the pressed floral motif and the surrounding “Leaf Chain” are clear and crisp. The pattern in relief on the plate’s underside derives its name “Bearded Berry” from the “whiskers” which protrude from the berry shapes. The color in this carnival plate is spectacular. It should be noted that while green is not considered an extremely rare color, marigold, amethyst and blue were used far more frequently in carnival glass production, adding to the desirability of the piece. You will find this most remarkable carnival glass offering in excellent condition with no cracks, chips or repairs. A much sought after piece, this emerald green Leaf Chain plate provides an opportunity to appreciate and display an early 20th century piece of American glass.