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Dean Six Offers Insight Into
Mid-Century Modern Glass

BOOK REVIEW

Vase made by Rainbow Glass
This 13” tall pitcher/vase, made by Rainbow Glass, is amber with a ruby-applied looped handle. It is valued at $30-$42.
Probably no one in this country knows more about the glass made in 20th-century America than Dean Six, and collectors will welcome this new book he has written, Mid-Century Modern Glass in America. Written in conjunction with Paul Eastwood and published by Schiffer, the main section covers the primary glass manufacturers of this time period; a shorter section covers the most noted glass designers.

The author defines very specifically what he considers to be the time frame of glass termed “Mid-Century Modern” and also the type of design which fits into this category.

The time frame begins with the end of World War II, 1945. It continues through the 1950s and 1960s, a period of immense change in society in America, and ends in 1974, a time of further major change as the war in Vietnam ends.

For the purposes of this book, modern means “design that consciously and intentionally breaks with the design traditions that came before.” In simple words, modern design “must look like nothing that came before it.” It is not like the pattern and cut glass from the late 1800s and early 1900s; or the depression and elegant glass of the 1920s and 1930s.

The manufacturers include Blenko, Cambridge, Duncan & Miller, Fenton, Fostoria, Heisey, Morgantown, Paden City, Seneca and more. Among the designers covered are Ben Seibel, Russel Wright, Eva Zeisel and others. Many, if not most, of the manufacturers continued to make some glass in the more traditional earlier designs, as well as expanding their lines to include mid-century modern.

The book includes a price guide for the items pictured in the more than 600 photos included, along with the caution that these are only a guide, and will vary from region to region and time to time.

Mid-Century Modern Glass in America, by Dean Six with Paul Eastwood, hardback, is priced at $39.99. (It should be noted that Canadian manufacturers, certainly a part of North America, are included.) The book is available from your local bookseller or contact Schiffer Publishing, online at www.schifferbooks.com.

Note: Dean Six will be a featured speaker at the May 14-16 convention of Portland’s Rain of Glass club. For information on this event, contact Mark Moore at Mark@pdxhistory.com.

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Firefighting History
Adds Collectible Opportunities

BOOK REVIEW

1900s leather firefighters helmet.
This helmet is made of leather and was made by the Neverskink Fire Company, c. 1900. The authors value it at $2,800.

Collecting American Firefighting Artifacts, by James G. Piatti and Sandra Frost Piatti, is a recent Schiffer publication. With approximately 700 photographs, it presents an interesting collection of not only functional items such as helmets and fire extinguishing grenades, but also ranking and ceremonial pieces such as badges, trophies and medals.

The book also includes examples of ephemera that recognize the importance to society of firefighting and the people who perform it, such as toys, artwork, novels and movie posters.

The book covers colonial times to the present, with a brief historical introduction. It is intended to be a quick summary reference for collectors. Even for the non-collector, it contains fas­­­cin­ating information about firefighting equipment. Who ever knew there was so much design and thought put into the helmet, for instance? The earliest helmets were of leather, which could resist the direct force of falling bricks, and the rear brim was shaped to carry off water so it wouldn’t go down the fireman’s neck. The helmets carry shields on the front, and the design of these and of their holders has also received a lot of attention through the years.

Each chapter in the book concludes with “Ten Hot Tips For Collectors.” If I were buying a firefighter’s helmet, two of the ten things I should look for are helmets with high fronts that hold eight-inch shields and shield holders with animal shapes.

Collecting American Firefighting Artifacts (ISBN: 978-0-7643-4600-2), hardback, is priced at $49.99. It includes a price guide. Check with your local bookseller, see the Schiffer online catalog at www.schifferbooks.com or email the company: Info@schifferbooks.com.

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The Bottles Had To Be Opened
With Something

BOOK REVIEW

This advertising opener, called a hand spinner, says “Miller wants you” on the hand.
This advertising opener, called a hand spinner, says “Miller wants you” on the hand.

Advertising Openers, by Donald A. Bull & John R. Stanley is a comprehensive look at advertising bottle openers of all kinds. Over 2,800 openers and cork­screws are illustrated with approximately 1,500 images.

Part 1 pictures beer openers by type – flat figural, key shape, can piercers, novelties, wall mounts, and so forth – altogether, 21 different categories. (The final category, “In a Class by Itself,” has one listing, called The Miracle Opener. It really doesn’t look like anything else.)

A second, smaller section, illustrates a variety of other advertising openers, such as the ones that are a combination cap opener and cigar cutter. There is one fascinating opener that combines a hammer-type cigar box opener, a pry end hammer and a protruding serrated edge for mutilating revenue stamps. It was patented in 1891.

A final section contains information on cleaning openers, a list of resources, a patent index and a type index.

Advertising Opener, A Guide to Beer Openers & More, (ISBN: 978-0-7643-4677-4), in hardback, is priced at $79.99. It is published by Schiffer Publishing, 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310. Check with your local bookseller or visit Schiffer online at www.schifferbooks.com. Contact the company at: Info@schifferbooks.com

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