How to Identify Candlewick Glass

By Janet Beal
candle in glass candle holder
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While not yet completely eligible for an "antique" designation, Candlewick glass is one of several kinds of household glassware manufactured by the now-defunct Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, Ohio. The Candlewick pattern began manufacture in 1936, when company President Edward Newton encountered a new French glassware design in a New York store. The new design, adapted with the characteristics of an American embroidery tradition, called "candlewicking," inspired the distinctive rows of glass beading that distinguish the rims and handles of Candlewick glassware. Manufacturing marks enable a collector to distinguish Imperial Candlewick from lesser imitators.

Step 1

woman researching Candlewick glass
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Familiarize yourself with both the wide variety and the limits of the Candlewick pattern. Nearly all Candlewick pieces available to collectors are clear, uncolored glass. Pieces in color are early; those trimmed with silver, painted with designs or incised are rare. A classic Candlewick piece is clear glass, flawless in detail, with a flat, unrimmed bottom. Pieces are neither noticeably heavy nor light for size. While classified as "Depression glass," Candlewick was an attempt by Imperial to move into a growing post-Depression upscale market. Plates, cups, punch bowls, candlesticks, vases, baskets and serving pieces reflect the growing interest in entertaining and hospitality as households emerged from hard times.

Step 2

glass candle holder
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Learn to identify Imperial Glassware manufacturing marks. Collectors note that some pieces may not be marked. The National Collectors' Society site lists study groups and a museum which may be able to help with authentication.

Step 3

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Explore collectors' sites and publications to establish authenticity. Libraries often have picture directories that will help you determine whether your piece of glass is truly Candlewick. Study groups, listed on the National Collectors' Society site, can also provide helpful information on specific pieces and may be geographically close enough for you to meet fellow-collectors. An annual convention provides even more contacts for fans of this popular glassware.