New Glass Chimneys with Molded PatternsBy

New Glass Chimneys
with Molded Patterns

New glass chimneys with molded patterns and designs were imported by an American lamp parts wholesaler. The new pieces were mouth blown in China. Wholesale prices for the new chimneys were $8 to $12 each.

Several of the new chimneys are imitations of specific originals which vintage lamp makers sold under the name "chimney shades." The remaining chimneys, while not having specific counterparts, copy vintage patterns found on original bases.

The pattern of the new chimney shade in Fig. 4, for example, is an almost exact duplicate of the vintage Sweetheart pattern found in antique lamp bases. However, no comparably shaped full-size chimney shade in the Sweetheart pattern is known. This Sweetheart chimney is a recent design copyrighted by the lamp supplier importing the new chimneys.

On the other hand, the new floral pattern chimney shade in Fig. 6 is a nearly identical copy of a vintage original. The majority of vintage chimney shades in this pattern were originally painted in the Goofus Glass style.

The best tests to help you identify the new chimney shade are based on construction techniques. On all but two of the new chimneys, for examples, both top and bottom rims are ground (Fig. 10) Virtually no vintage chimneys have both the top and bottom rim ground. Both rims on vintage rims are generally fire polished and remain smooth and shiny. Some vintage chimneys may have the bottom rim ground, but undamaged original chimneys virtually never have both top and bottom rims ground.

Similarly, the great majority of vintage chimneys are almost always the same thickness at the bottom rim as they are at the top rim. New chimneys can vary almost one-quarter inch in thickness from the bottom to the top rim (Figs. 11-12).

Another warning sign is obvious whittle-styled mold marks (Fig. 9) These marks are similar to those found on American bottles and flasks made in hand-carved, or whittled, wood molds. Although these marks are not on all the new chimney shades, they do appear in several of the new pieces. No similar mold marks are found in vintage chimneys with molded patterns.

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Fig. 1 New chimney shade with four lion heads. A 3-inch fitter, 8 3/8 inches tall.

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Fig. 2 Detail of head in the new lion head chimney in Fig. 1.

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Fig. 3 New Greek key pattern chimney shade. A 3-inch fitter, 8 5/8 inches tall.

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Fig. 4 New chimney shade in the Sweetheart pattern. Fitter size 3-inch, 8¼ inches tall. There is a vintage lamp base in this pattern but no vintage chimney shades are known. All sweetheart chimney shades are modern products.

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Fig. 5 New floral pattern chimney shade. A 3-inch fitter, 9 3/8 inches tall. Somewhat similar to a pattern on a vintage base.

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Fig. 6 New chimney shade in puffy rose-type floral pattern. Original chimneys in this pattern are shown in period catalogs with painted decoration in the Goofus Glass style. New pieces are available in two sizes: 2½-inch fitter, 8¼ inches tall; and 3-inch fitter, 9¼ inches tall.

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Fig. 7 New chimney in scroll pattern. Available in two sizes: 2½-inch fitter, 8¼ inches tall; and 3-inch fitter, 8½ inchs tall. Sold in ruby red, pale blue cased white and clear crystal which is shown here. The clear crystal may have frosted tops or frosted bottoms. Original chimney shades are known in clear cyrstal only.

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Fig. 8 New chimney shade in the peanut pattern. A 3-inch fitter, 9 inches tall.

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Fig. 9 Some of the new chimney shades show obvious signs of whittled mold marks. These appear as shallow dimples and are most obvious in the broad curves around the bases. These marks are similar to the marks found in early American bottles and flasks made in hand carved wooden molds. Vintage chimneys were made in skillfully crafted metal molds which never show whittle marks. Such marks are even more apparent when illuminated.

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Fig. 10 Roughly ground rims like this are typical of the new chimney shades. Both top and bottom rims in all but two of the new chimney shades are ground. Virtually no vintage pre-1930 chimneys have both top and bottom rims ground.

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Fig. 11

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Fig. 12

The thickness of typical new chimneys can vary dramatically between the bottom and top rims. The bottom rim, Fig. 11, of the new chimney shown above is less than one-third the thickness of the top rim, Fig. 12. Vintage chimneys are virtually always the same thickness from bottom to top.