by Ruth Grizel
Every major American glass company is famous for making a particular dinnerware pattern. For an example, when you think of Fostoria, you think of their 'American' pattern. The same is true for other companies, for we link Imperial with their 'Candlewick' line, while Cambridge has 'Caprice', and Fenton has 'Silvercrest'. We all know Westmoreland gained the most fame with their #1881 Paneled Grape Dinnerware in Milk Glass, but this pattern wasn't created before 1950. However, Westmoreland made several famous dinnerware patterns long before Paneled Grape which were equal in stature. In fact, these lines were created nearly half a century before their #1881 - Paneled Grape was conceived. Ale pattern I am referring to in this issue is Westmoreland's #500 - Old Quilt.
When Westmoreland introduced their #500 line around 1910, they did not assign it any particular name. Nevertheless, illustrated ads for the line appeared in the Butler Brother's 1910 Catalog, where Butler's named it "Crystal Jewel', "Diamond and Ribbon Lattice, and even 'Cold Ribbon'. Later in their 1925 catalog, they described it as the "Diamond and Ribbon Band" design. By 1952, in their dinnerware supplement, Westmoreland included the name "Old Quilt' with their #500 pattern. In fact, Westmoreland's price guides from the 1930's referred to it as both their 'Checkerboard" and 'Old Quilt" line. Today, the line is called both names.
Westmoreland's Old Quilt pattern itself is readily described, for it is a design of repeating raised, and patterned squares that alternate with, and are divided by, criss-crossed diagonal bands. The pattern began with less than 25 pieces in 1910, and grew to over 65 different items by 1960. Production of the line #500 was made primarily in Crystal in the early years, but gradually various pieces were introduced in Milk Glass. During the 1950's, Old Quilt became a complete dinnerware line, with only a few items offered in Antique Blue (Blue Milk Glass). Newly styled plates were added to the line in the 1950's, including the 6 112' Bread and Butter, the 8 112' Luncheon, and the 10 112' Dinner Plate. With Westmoreland's introduction of colors in 1964, items like the High and Low Ftd. Honey were made in Golden Sunset, Olive, Brandywine Blue, and Laurel Green.
In 1976, Westmoreland followed the current market trends (like Fenton and Indiana Glass had already done) and introduced their two new carnival (or iridized) glass colors of Ice Blue and Honey Amber. The items included in these colors in their #500 pattern are the 3 Pint Jug, 8oz. Tumbler, Celery Vase, Creamer and Covered Sugar Set, and the #81 - Multi Fruit Punch Set. Although we occasionally see the Old Quilt Water Sets for sale, the matching pieces are more difficult to locate today, with the Honey Amber Carnival pieces being the rarest of the two carnival colors. Westmoreland's Honey Amber Carnival Glass was perhaps the most innovative, for no one has yet matched the richness of this color and iridization.
Because of the popularity of carnival colors in the glass world, Gary Levi, owner of the Levay Distributing Company, commissioned Westmoreland to make certain items in limited edition colors for his business. The year was 1974. Quantities of items made in carnival glass were hand-numbered and many signed, as Levi was creating a limited edition market for his wares with carnival glass collectors especially in mind. Advertising fliers were sent directly to carnival glass organizations so that collectors could have first chance at buying his limited edition lines. Much was written among the glass clubs about the expected future values of limited edition items, and collectors were advised to purchase as much glass as possible as an investment for the future. If you are among this group of people, consider yourself lucky, as the value of most glass made by Westmoreland for Levay, is worth as much as (if not more) than ten times it's original retail value. However, if you are a new collector, do not be discouraged by these seemingly high values, as it will always be worth the money invested in it. Considering the fact that there is only one major glass factory still in business in the United States today, and considering that only a billionaire could ever afford to start a new glass factory (because of excessive equipment, fuel and labor costs) the limited edition glass made by Westmoreland for Levay will only in increase in value with time. Whether you own only one piece made by Westmoreland for Levay, or you have a house-full, cherish your collection, as every piece is not only a symbol of the dieing art of glass making in the U.S.A., but is also a representation of the pride of the skilled workers who created it.
#500 WATER SETS IN CARNIVAL
(NOT PICTURED ABOVE) Purple Slag Carnival Water Set made in 1978 by Westmoreland for Levay - only 150 sets made. This set is quite rare, and is valued at $500 plus today.
Black Carnival Water Set made in 1984 by Westmoreland, for Westmoreland, but never sold on the open market as Westmoreland closed. 500 Sets were supposed to he made, but not that many were produced. Of course, a complete set is extremely rare, and would be valued at over $600.
Cobalt Carnival Water Set made by
Westmoreland for Leavy in 1978, and only 150 sets made.
This set is quite rare, and will bring between $500 and $600 on today's market.
White Carnival Water Set made by Westmoreland for Levay in 1979. Only 1500 sets made, and valued at $300 to $400 today.
Ice Blue Carnival Made in 1976 by Westmoreland for Westmoreland - not a Levay issue. Only limited quantities made, so value today would be about $175-$200.
Ruby Mother of Pearl Water Set, made by Westmoreland for Westmoreland, and not a Levay issue. Only 500 Sets made in 1984, and valued at $500-$600 today.
Lime Green Carnival Water Set made by Westmoreland for Levay in 1976, and only 125 sets made. This set is quite rare, and will bring $500 on today's market.
Honey Amber Carnival Old Quilt Water Set made in 1976 in limited quantities. Made by Westmoreland, for Westmoreland. Valued at $175-$200 today.
A very special thanks to Ruth Grizel for the permission to reprint this article. Ruth was an expert in her field, she had published many books and she was the President of the Westmoreland Glass Collector's Newsletter.
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