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History of Dugan / Diamond Glass Company

Indiana, PA.

Indiana Glass company, 1892 - 1894

Leased by Harry Northwood, 1896 - 1899 

National Glass Co. 1899 - 1903

Dugan Glass Company, 1904 - 1913

Diamond Glass Company, 1913- 1931

Diamond Glass co. 1916

     The history of glass manufacture at Indiana, PA began several years before any involvement by Harry Northwood or Thomas Dugan.  The plant was built by local investors in 1892 and began operations on November 14, 1892 as the Indiana Glass Company.  The Indiana Glass Company was plagued with problems; it shut down in either late 1893 or early 1894.  In February 1896 the closed plant was leased for the next two years to Harry Northwood.  Within three weeks the plant was in operation under the direction of Harry Northwood.  When Harry arrived on site, he was accompanied by Samuel Dugan, Sr., and his sons Thomas E. A. Dugan, Alfred Dugan and Samuel Dugan Jr.

The years from 1896 through 1899, The Northwood Co., operated the site at Indiana, PA successfully.  In 1896 they manufactured China, Glass and Lamps.  Their products were standard Northwood, blown into a mold glassware.  In 1897 Klondyke and Alaska patterns were introduced.  Other well known Northwood patterns such as Daisy and Fern in opalescent glass were known to be made at the Indiana, PA site.  The lines were just continuation of working glass lines started in Elwood City.  Northwood had molds shipped to the Indiana, PA site, from Elwood City.  In 1898 Northwood introduced Louis XV in Ivory ware. 

In September 1899 Northwood Company of Indiana, PA became part of the National Glass Company.  In October of the same year Harry and Carl Northwood and their families sailed for England.  The former owners of the Northwood Company were Thomas and Anne Dugan and Harry and Clara Elizabeth Northwood.  That same year 1899, Opaline Brocade latter called Spanish Lace, Venetian, Pagoda & Inverted Fan and Feather glass lines were also introduced in 1899.                   

During the years of 1900 to 1903 the Indiana, PA site was operated by the National Glass Company.  It is important to note that during this time period all of the Northwood molds stayed at the site and were available for use by the National Glass Company.  The National Glass Company changed the name from the Northwood Company, Indiana, PA to the Northwood Glass Works of the National Glass Company.  So technically it was still Northwood Glass even though Harry Northwood was in England and not involved any way with the operation.  The plant continued to carry the Northwood name until 1904 when the Dugan Glass Company was formed.  Under National operations the Indiana site continued to make some of the patterns and colors developed by Northwood Co.     

When Harry Northwood left, Harry Bastow took over as Superintendent and Thomas E. A. Dugan (a long time Northwood employee) and Harry’s 2nd cousin took over as factory manager.  Mr. Barstow left by August 1900 to become the President of the newly formed Jefferson Glass Company of Steubenville, OH.  Mr. Harry White Jr. succeeded Mr. Bastow as Superintendent.  Thomas E. A. Dugan succeeded Mr. Harry White as Superintendent.        

In 1901 in the G. Sommers and Co. catalog list a “Coralene” Rose Bowl.  Coralene normally refers to glass beads which are attached with syrup and then reheated to melt the glass beds to the glass substructure.  In this case they may have been talking about Frit glass.  (See Glass Types for a more detailed description of Coralene and Frit glass.)  Dugan Glass Company did some excellent Frit work during their latter operation of the plant.

National Glass Company management was coming apart during the years of 1900 to 1903.  Several key people left to work for other Glass firms or start their own.  By 1903 the National Glass Company was in serious financial difficult.  They decided to sell the Indiana, PA operations to generate needed cash.

In January 1904 the Dugan Glass Company became a reality.  The sale of the plant by National to Dugan included many molds as well as the current inventory of glass on hand.  The molds should have included Northwood molds and National Glass molds. 

One new glassware line that became of major important to Dugan Glass Company, during the period of 1904 – 1909 was the production of Night Lamps.  Today they are sometimes called miniature lamps.  In the case of Northwood the upper glob mold was modified to make rose bowls as far as we can tell this was not the case with Dugan.    

We must remember that Tom Dugan was a master glass maker in his own right and cousin to John Northwood of Stevens and Williams who was also father of Harry Northwood.   Both families were full of master glass makers.  Thomas E. A. Dugan was glass formula books shows he was experimenting iridizing techniques as early as 1902.  In about 1904 Dugan Glass Company came out with three new lines of glass which was totally different than any other glass lines manufactured in the USA.  These lines were produced until about 1908.  It was as true Iridescent Art Glass which had no relationship with carnival glass which Dugan / Diamond did make in quantity at a latter time.  The new glass lines were different than the earlier Victorian glass or the soon to be popular Carnival glass.  I was unlike Tiffany in both shape and iridescence.  The glass was most similar to the art glass being produced by the great Bohemian glass houses of the Art Nouveau period.  It had distinct Arts and Crafts / Christopher Dresser influence.  The glass was mouth blown into a mold and hand finished.  I was pinched, twisted, stretched and distorted.  The surface was not etched or engraved decorated but had patterns or textures of different frit glass and iridized treatments.  The glass has confused experts on both sides of the AtlanticIt is classified and pictured in the 1989 Passau Museum Catalogue as "Unidentified Bohemian," and as such it also appears pictured in Robert Truitt's Bohemian Glass I.

Dugan new glass lines were called Pompeian (1904), Venetian (1905) and Japanese (1906).  The dates listed by the glass line names are dates that a trade publication or a distributor catalogue listed the associated line.  These dates are not necessarily their introduction date, then again it may be, we just don’t know.  Thus far we are not able to differentiate between these lines.  The same shape appears across all three lines with different treatment.  It may be that Dugan did not distinguish between lines.  The names may have been nothing more than a marketing ploy, again we don’t know.  These lines have yielded several new and innovative pieces of glass including rose bowls in 1904. 

Several researchers have described how these pieces of glass were made.  To understand how Dugan art glass was made we should discuss what methods were use before 1904 of which Tom Dugan was very familiar with. 

Previous known and used technology

Frit glass, small fine pieces of color glass, Northwood used Frit Glass as a decorative adder to his glass.  When a piece of glass was almost finished the lip or crimp area of a rose bowl as an example while still hot was dipped in color frit.  The piece of glass was then returned to the Glory Hole and melted (warmed in) the frit into the piece of glass.   Frit glass can have the consistency small pieces of glass to very small pieces and finally to powder. 

Optics:  internal optics normally used in the production of brilliant (clear) glass to refract light (make sparkles).  Internal Optics can be in the form of ribs, waves or grooves that are formed into molted surface of glass then reheated or covered so as to become a structure within the glass.  One type of this is overshot glass.    External Optics, include glass such as Coin Spot, Hobnail, Bull’s Eye and etc.

Opalescent glass, Northwood’s Opaline Brocade is an example of a specialized glass (Heat reactive) being applied over a transparent glass, in a pattern.

Granite Ware, Northwood introduced this glass line in 1896.  It consisted of molten glass gathered on a blow pipe then the gather was rolled in blue and white glass frit then worked over a marver to incorporate the glass frit into the base gather of molten glass.  The glass was then blown into a mold, Opalescent glass may have been added to the crimp area then the piece would be reheated at the glory hole to active the Opalescent glass.  Next the piece would annealed, returned to the lehr.

Chemical Iridizing, Thomas E. A. Dugan own notebooks prove that he was experimenting with chemical iridizing in 1902.

Dugan's application of previous technologies

Dugan’s worker would take a base gather of glass then work it on the marver then it was roll in frit of a different color the size of the frit would depend upon the effect they were trying to obtain.  If the frit was powder it would give an over all color effect if it was a larger size it would be more like Granite Ware. 

The gather was then blown into a spot mold which would make ribs on the outside of the glass.  The glass was then rolled in a second frit of colored glass and warmed in.  The glass was then blown into its final shape in a second mold.  The ribs become an internal optic effect the second frit application remains on the exterior as a vertical stripe.  The piece was then hand finished by pinching twisting etc.   By varying the frit color and size, number of applications of frit and how often the piece is re-warmed would produce a large array of finished goods.  In the case of silver or gold the second frit application was a material that when reheated would oxidized to produce the silver or gold iridized effect.  

Below I have collected information from Glass distributors or publications reprints from Dugan/Diamond by Heacock, Measell and Wiggins: 

Be advised that this is not a definition of these glass lines, it is just information.

Pompeian (1904) Info from, Housefurnisher:  China, Glass and Pottery Review

Colors:  Wine, Ruby Info from 1906 G. Sommers and Co.

Treatment:  ???? Iridescent

 

Venetian (1905) Info from, China, Glass and Lamp  

Colors:  Blue, Green, Canary & Amethyst

Treatment: Silver Iridescent, all over oxidized effects.  Info from, China, Glass and Lamp and from 1906 G. Sommers and Co.

 

Japanese (1906)

Colors:  Blue, Green & Opalescent (white glass Frit) Info from Bulter Brothers    

Treatment:  Silver & Gold Iridescent, all over effects.  Info from, China, Glass and Lamp and from 1906 G. Sommers and Co.

The above three glass lines still need much study and definition.

For Dugan standard glass lines, in 1905 a new rose bowl pattern called Intaglio, Palm and Scroll was introduced.  In 1905-06 Victor (known as Jewelled Heart by collectors), Eric (now called Beaded Opals) was introduced.  In 1907 Dugan catalogues uses the Diamond-D mark.  The same year the Fan and Filigree lines were introduced.   In 1908 five new patterns were introduced. 

In 1913 Thomas E. A. Dugan and Alfred Dugan had left the plant for a new venture in Lonaconing, Maryland.  Alfred Dugan rejoined the company in March 1915.  Dugan/Diamond produced iridescent ware from about 1902 until late into 1920s, with heaviest production from 1909 into the1920s. 

Diamond Glass Company continued to operate until June 1931 when the plant was a total loss to fire.                  

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