Imperial Candlewick

Shedding Some Light on Candlewick

Imperial Candlewick Mint Tray
 Candlewick is one of Imperial Glass Company’s most beautiful and prolific patterns 

The Imperial Glass Company was founded in 1901 in Bellaire, Ohio by Edward Muhleman, with production beginning in 1904. Candlewick even has a street named for it in Bellaire. 

However like many Elegant Glass companies Imperial fell on hard times. The company was purchased by Lennox in the 1970’s and closed forever in 1984. 

Candlewick was made from 1936 until 1982 and was most likely responsible for Imperial Glass Company surviving as long as it did.

Anchor Hocking Boopie

With hundreds of different pieces in 12 colors and numerous etchings collecting Candlewick can be a lifelong endeavor. 


There is a lot of glassware being marketed as Candlewick which is definitely not Candlewick!

If you want to collect this gorgeous glass there are some things you need to know.

Imperial Candlewick Sherbet Glasses

Candlewick like all Imperial glassware is Elegant glass

Elegant glass is always at least partially handmade, fire polished, very high quality glassware with a minimum of flaws.   

To learn more about Elegant glass please visit my blog post A Glass Riddle.

Anchor Hocking Manhattan

All Candlewick has beads but not all beaded glass is Candlewick.

This can be a little tricky but there are some things to watch for.

On plates, shakers, ashtrays and the like, anything with the beads on a horizontal plane, the beads are always separated. If the beads are touching the piece is not Imperial Candlewick.

Imperial Candlewick Stem

An example of a piece that is often misidentified as Candlewick is Boopie by Anchor Hocking. 

Note that in the photo of the Boopie the beads are touching one another whereas in the photo of the Candlewick they are not. This tip is actually more helpful determining what’s not Candlewick that what is - there are non-Candlewick patterns that also have the beads separated.

On pieces where the beading is vertical such as stems on glasses the beads will be touching one another due to the constraints put on glass makers by gravity, but there will be a wafer separating the beaded stem from the bowl and another separating them from the foot.

 Rims on Candlewick are smooth and do not have a “safe edge” - that little bump on the rim of machine made glasses. You probably have glasses with a safe edge in your kitchen cabinets.

Safe Edge

As with all rules there are some exceptions – for details about what those are please visit http://www.awantiques.com/cancol1.htm for an excellent article.

Another wonderful reference site is http://candlewicklookalikes.com/

The best way to be sure you are not being fooled is to handle the real thing and familiarize yourself with the weight and clarity of this lovely glass. Until you are confident that you can tell the difference play it safe and purchase your glass from a dealer that specializes in glassware but even then do your homework.

Happy hunting!


Elegant Era Glassware

A Glass Riddle

Newport Creamer

When is glass made during the Great Depression not Depression Glass? 


When it's happy?

No, when it's Elegant Glass.

In other words all Depression Glass was made during the Great Depression but not all glass made during the Great Depression is Depression glass.

An example of  seams & bubbles in Depression Glass



There were two main types of glass made in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century.  Depression Glass was totally machine made and therefore much cheaper to produce. This glass was made in a variety of colors and patterns and was often sold in Dime Stores or even given away as promotional items. Due to the way it was manufactured Depression Glass (DG) almost always has visible seams, straw marks and bubbles in the glass.  These are not flaws but a typical characteristic of DG and considered by many collectors as adding to the charm of the glass.

Duncan Miller Teardrop Console Bowl




But what if I don’t find flaws charming?  

Well, if you want perfect don’t buy Depression Glass
           – buy Elegant Glass!

Elegant glass always was at least partially hand made by skilled craftsmen resulting in a much higher quality glass which although not "perfect" had far fewer flaws. 


Fostoria Console Set
Companies such as Heisey, Fostoria, Duncan Miller, Cambrige and other early glass makers employed skilled workers to hand craft their glassware.

Elegant glassware was frequently sold in jewelry stores and was used by the upper middle class for dinner parties and other special occasions. 

It would have been what was called “the good glassware”. 

Vaseline Glass Plates with ground and polished bottoms

 Although molds were used by elegant glassware companies they were hand pressed meaning that a glass maker would gather the molten glass, place it in the mold, swish it around and then bring down the plunger to compress the glass into the shape of the mold. 

Due to the skill of the glass maker this method resulted in fewer bubbles and a finer product than machine made glass.
Fry Glass Diamond Optic

Another method used by elegant glass companies was mold blown glass where the glass was mouth blow into a mold, requiring a high level of skill.  This produced a thinner glass and was often used for stemware.  

Elegant glass is also fire polished which means that the glass is finished by direct application of flames which eliminates straw marks and obvious mold marks to produce a smooth and brilliant surface.

In addition, the bases of plates, cups and the like are always ground and polished.

Fostoria Baroque w Shirley Etch

Wow that’s a lot of work! 

                  ...but what about the patterns?

 I was just getting to that!

At this point in the manufacturing process some pieces are complete but others have another step. Many patterns have etched designs where the piece of glassware, called a blank at this point, is passed along to the decorating department. 

An example of Needle Etching

The most common decorating method on Elegant Glass is needle etching. This method involves coating the glass with a film or wax then using a machine that activates needles which remove the protective layer from the portion of the glass where the design is desired. Next the glass is placed in contact with acid, which eats into the unprotected surface of the glass. The wax or film is then removed leaving a precise pattern. 

Cambridge Carmen Dinner Plate

Is there still Elegant Glass being made today?

Sadly the majority of the well known Elegant Glass companies closed their doors in the 1950’s due to high production costs and the onslaught of cheap imported glassware. 

Fortunately much of this beautiful glass remains and is highly sought after by collectors either to add to or start their own sets of this truly elegant glass.