The Allure of Glass
When our editorial team first explored the topic of the Vanity Table for our annual glass issue, we immediately fell to reminiscing about the vanity tables we remembered in a grandparent’s or aunt’s house, or in our own home growing up; that totally feminine, personal space displaying special items to be looked at and admired but never touched.
In a house where I could make myself at home in every room, my grandmother’s vanity table was her exclusive domain. Yet the items – displayed for both convenient access and affect – could not have been more alluring, as was the prospect of sitting in front of a three-way mirror putting on make-up and jewelry and acting like a grown up. Standing close enough to look and examine what was on it – but not so close as to disobey – I could smell her perfume as I surveyed the Limoges dish she used as a receptacle for her every day rings and necklaces, her collection of every shade of red lipsticks, the beautifully framed picture of my mother and uncles when they were children, a linen box filled with fancy initialized note paper from B. Altman, a tortoiseshell comb in a beautifully adorned sterling silver case, and the other items that to this day I associate with her when I see them at an antique show or smell Dior’s Diorissimo.
Perhaps of greatest association with the vanity table is perfume bottles, an art form explored on page 28. Intrinsically tied together with the vanity table is the toilette, or the tradition of personal grooming stretching back to the middle ages, as we learn in Erica Lome’s feature article, ““In the Eye of the Beholder: The Vanity Table, Then and Now,” on page 24. In this issue you will also read about such vanity table collectibles as compacts, snuff boxes and jewelry boxes.
When I purchased the magazine I inherited the tradition of an annual April glass issue, and we are proud to continue this nod to the history of glass in its many art forms, and the artisans, brands, and designs that drive the collector market. If I have learned anything about glass putting this issue together it is that the collector community is passionate about sharing their area of glass specialty and welcoming new enthusiasts. A call to glass clubs for information about their organization, upcoming conventions, and type of glass resulted in a flood of material which we have assembled for you in our “Allure of Glass” special section starting on page 35.
And it’s no coincidence that this month we are “On the Road to….Ohio,” home of many historic glass companies and today, a number of world-renowned glass museums including the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion, National Museum of Cambridge Glass, Ohio Glass Museum, National Heisey Glass Museum, National Imperial Glass Museum, and Tiffin Glass Museum. In the late 1800s, glassmaking shifted from the East Coast to Ohio, where abundant fuel, railroads and waterways made manufacturing and shipping more affordable. The industry boomed, spawning dozens of small-town glass companies and earning Toledo (birthplace of the automated bottle maker) the nickname “Glass City.” Although most of these companies did not survive after World War II, their brands live on through museums and glass clubs.
Glass clubs and conventions are a fun and social way to learn more about glass you admire in the company of knowledgeable and passionate people who share your interest. Most clubs publish educational newsletters, host regular meetings with guest speakers, and provide social opportunities for members to share knowledge and show their collections. Joining or starting a club is a great way to build community and make lifelong friends. There are thousands of glass clubs nationwide – a list too long for us to publish here; however, our Club Directory on page 36 will get you started, and a google search will bring you to club and directory web sites for your glass type.
While clubs and conventions offer collectors and enthusiasts social and educational opportunities, glass and antique shows and auctions provide unique opportunities for buyers to build quality collections with confidence. You can always look to the online calendar on our web site or the Calendar pages we publish in each issue for information on upcoming auctions and shows near you.
As I put this issue to bed I am packing for a road trip to Cleveland and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in preparation for our May Rock & Roll Memorabilia issue. A bucket list item since it opened, we will be walking through with a curator to talk about the collectors and iconic items that built one of the greatest assemblages of rock memorabilia to share and preserve for future generations of scholars, fans, and collectors. I love my job!
The Allure of Glass