Wheeling Peachblow ReproductionsBy Mark Chervenka
Wheeling Peachblow Reproductions
In 1886, a Chinese porcelain vase with "Peach Bloom" glaze sold at auction for $18,000. The tremendous price and the phrase Peach Bloom were widely publicized. Within months, American glass companies developed new formulas to capitalize on the Peach Bloom name. This glassware is now collectively referred to as "Peachblow".
One type of Peachblow, shading from yellow at the bottom to deep red at the top, was made by the Hobbs, Brockunier and Company of Wheeling, West Virginia. It is now called Wheeling Peachblow after the town where it was made. Wheeling Peachblow is a two-layered glass or cased glass. The inside layer is white; the outer layer shades from yellow at the bottom to deep red at the top. Original Wheeling Peachblow was made in two finishes, shiny and satin.
Wheeling Peachblow has been reproduced since the 1970s. It has been made in Italy, America and other locations. Most of the new Wheeling Peachblow sold in America was distributed by importers of antique reproductions.
The color of some Wheeling Peachblow reproductions is quite good, so good that reproductions commonly show up in many antique shows and art glass collections. One piece, a new cruet, was once catalogued as an original by a major art glass auction company but withdrawn the day of the sale. Some new pieces have good color with accurate shading and are complete with polished pontils, a mark of quality usually missing from most reproductions. In the case of Wheeling Peachblow, the best indicator of age is to study the shapes in the original catalog. All the new pieces, with the exception of the ball shaped cruet, are shapes never made in the original 1880s production.
The repro ball shaped cruet has probably fooled more people than any other piece of the new Wheeling Peachblow. Its general shape is virtually identical to the original. (Figs. 2 and 5). The way to distinguish old from new is by examining the cruet top. Original Hobbs cruets have a trefoil, or three sided, top. There are three distinct bulges in the original top, one of which forms the spout (Fig. 4). Tops of reproduction Wheeling Peachblow cruets are basically round with the spout pinched out from one side (see Fig. 3). Original Hobbs cruets have amber glass handles and faceted amber glass stopper. Reproduction Wheeling Peachblow cruets also have amber glass handles and originally sold with rounded blob-shaped amber glass stoppers. New cruets, though, are rarely sold with their new stoppers. Generally, the original new stopper is either missing or has been replaced by some kind of genuinely old stopper more nearly resembling the faceted amber Hobbs original.
The original Wheeling Peachblow toothpick is a ballshaped globe with a short cylindrical neck (Fig. 8). So far, the reproduction toothpicks (Fig. 9) are totally unlike the original shape.
In addition to original the ball-shaped cruet and toothpicks, new Wheeling Peachblow is made in a vase with piecrust rim and a two-piece fairy lamp (Fig. 1) neither of which was ever made in the original production. There is also a reproduction water pitcher and a reproduction ruffled top creamer with reeded amber glass handle. Neither of the new pitcher shapes match any original shapes. New pieces in other shapes may also exist.
The easiest way to detect the Wheeling Peachblow fakes is to compare the shapes of suspected pieces to the original catalog.
Original catalog pages courtesy Corning Museum of Glass