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Iris Herringbone Depression Glass
History and Information
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The Glass Menagerie has over 2000 Retired Limited Edition Collector Plates.
Iris or "Iris and Herringbone" was produced by the Jeannette Glass Company of Jeannette, Pennsylvania. The Jeannette company existed from 1898 and closed for good in 1983. The Iris pattern was so named because of the full relief molded leaves and flowers of Iris decorating the main body of every piece and surrounded entirely with a fine Herringbone pattern. All bases in the original production lines had a "rayed" base pattern as well.
Iris was issued in a clear or "crystal" glass starting in 1928 and continued into the Depression years. Almost 40 different tableware items were produced including plates, bowls of every size, teacups, candlesticks, refreshment pitcher and glass sets, dessert sets, cordials and other stemware, covered butter, even a glass and metal nut bowl and ruffled glass shades for the ceiling fixtures.
Very small amounts of translucent Green and Pink in the 9 1/2" Ruffled Salad Bowl, the Footed Creamer, the matching Sugar bowl and the Vase appeared for a short time. These items are considered Very Scarce and can bring high prices if found in good condition. During the early production years, the crystal Iris sold as all Depression Period glass did - for nickles and dimes, or prizes and give-aways during those bleak years.
After the war, Jeannette reissued most of their line with the then popular "iridescent" finish. This was created by adding a special glaze to the glass and refiring each piece. The result was the marigold shade seen on all but a few items. For the collector, note that the 5" cereal bowl, the smooth edge fruit bowl, the covered candy jar, the coasters the 4 1/2" stemware goblets, the lamp shade, the 8" luncheon plates, the 4" flat tumblers and the 6 1/2" footed tumblers were NEVER iridized. All of these pieces can still be found in the crystal.
It should be noted that around 1946, a few Iris pieces turned up in crystal, decorated with Gold and Red. This color tended to wear badly and finding these pieces still with good color is difficult. The line was called "Corsage" and was styled by Century. A period of little production followed until the 1970's when Jeannette reproduced some of their old line in crystal, flashed with different colors. Again, these colors wore off. A good example is the candy dish bottom only that was flashed with red, yellow, blue or green color and refired. These candy bases are easily distinquished from the original as they lack the "rayed" base pattern and have no covers.
Reproduction items appearing since the closure of the factory should be identified and avoided by collectors. The most noteable are the 9" dinner plates, the coasters, the flat based tumblers and iced tea tumblers. An excellent reference to the reproduction list is by Gene Florence in the 17th Edition of Depression Glass.
Glass Menagerie Antiques & Collectibles