Northwood MarksBy Dr. James S. Measell
Harry Northwood is one of the most well-known figures in American pressed glass. There were two distinctive marks used by Harry Northwood on various pieces of glass. The first, the Northwood "script" signature (Fig.1) originated about 1899 at his Indiana, Pennsylvania plant. You'll see it most often on the underside of custard (Ivory) glass pieces in Nautilus (Argonaut Shell), or Pagoda (Chrysanthemum Sprig), as well as blue custard (Turquoise) Pagoda pieces and opalescent examples of Northwood's "Town Pump." Although these patterns and items have been reproduced in a wide variety of colors by several different firms, none bears the Northwood script signature.
The second and more familiar Northwood mark is an underlined capital N within a circle (Fig. 2). This mark originated in late 1905 at his Wheeling, West Virginia factory and was used on many different pressed pattern and novelty items through about 1915-16. Some writers suggest that Northwood also used a plain N, or an underlined N with no circle, or just a circle by itself. My research, however, indicates that the Northwood mark was always an underlined capital N within a circle. Sometimes it takes a powerful magnifying glass to see all of the elements of the mark, but they are all there.
Northwood tumblers, which have the underlined capital N within a circle, always have it on the inside of the bottom of the tumbler. If you see a pale custard Grape and Daisy tumbler with such a mark on the outside of the bottom, you have an LG Wright reproduction. Authentic Northwood opalescent or carnival glass bowls sometimes have the mark on the inside and sometimes on the outside, so this rule works only with tumblers.
Two modern marks are sometimes confused with Northwood's underlined capital N within a circle. One of these marks, which appears on some LG Wright pieces, (Fig. 3) has a little "tail" added to the lower left of the capital W. Sometimes you have to get the light just right; the tail typically touches the circle. This mark is seen most often on Chocolate glass Nautilus pieces, such as the sauce dish, creamer, sugar bowl and butter dish. I understand that these Chocolate pieces were made for Wright by Westmoreland, but much other Wright glass was made for him by Fenton.
The second mark sometimes confused with Northwood's underlined capital N within a circle is a V in a circle used by the Summit Art Glass Company (Fig. 7). The V is the taken from the last name of Summit's owner, Russell Vogelsong. When the mark is weak on the outside bottom of a piece of transparent glass or up inside the finial of a clear Holly butter dish, the eyes can be fooled into seeing an N that isn't really there.
Neither the Northwood script signature nor the underlined N in a circle was ever registered or otherwise protected by Harry Northwood or any of his glass making companies. The American Carnival Glass Association now holds the rights to the Northwood underlined N in the circle mark, and they really go after any attempts to use it. Recently, I saw an obvious carnival glass reproduction of a Peacock on the Fence bowl with an N on the outside bottom. Unlike the Northwood N, this one wasn't a block capital N, as the sides were slightly bowed. There was no circle or underlining, the iridescence too gaudy and it was unusually heavy.
Dr. James S. Measell writes widely on antique glass.