The Oriental Glass Company was a major decorator in the 1890s and at least a dozen years into the 1900s. They advertised “Originator of Ruby Work in America.” Pioneer Glass Company (later L.J.Rodgers), A.E.Mueller (later sold to National Glass), Cohn & Minnick and several others were advertised as decorators as well as glass companies who maintained their own departments.
Dr. Arthur Peterson pointed out that some patterns have been named as a clear glass pattern, then given an additional name for the stained version. For instance, the clear “King’s Crown” is well known as “Ruby Thumbprint” when stained. Another is Tarentum’s “Atlanta” also called “Royal Crystal” when stained (Fig. 16). These names are well established but, as he says, inappropriate. Peterson also gave us a hint on how to identify a stained piece. “Stained glass is more easily identified as such if some of the colored coating has worn off.” This decoration is vulnerable to scratching or marring when used extensively. The pink and green staining are subject to fading. The ruby stains may vary in shake or intensity. Parti-colored glass has enjoyed periodic revivals. In the 1930s Depression era, the Westmoreland Glass Company produced patterns with ruby staining (Fig. 17). “Fruit Band” (the Della Robbia pattern) and “Hundred Eye” are good examples. The former is especially collectible. One caveat: I have seen at least one piece, a toothpick holder, which was in old clear glass with “modern” staining. It bled red when rubbed gently with a tissue soaked in nail polish remover; a predictable result, no doubt, of the fact that staining increases the value of clear Victorian glass.
Our non-collector friends seem attracted to our ruby-stained shakers partially, I suspect, with a feeling of nostalgia and also because the color evokes and defines the great variety of patterns. They seem less interested in the othr colors of staining. Perhaps tastes have not changed that much, explaining why less staining was done in amber and other colors. That fact makes some of the latter more valuable and desirable to collectors today. Stains on pieces of art glass are much less common. The New England Glass Company made an Opaque Green which has a mottled band of blue-green staining. They used a similar process on some of their Peachblow pieces to create their Agata decoration, using Joseph Locke’s 1887 patent. The piece was coated with a metalic stain and splashed with a volatile liquid such as alcohol which evaporated to leave random splotches (Fig. 18). Both are very rare, perhaps indicating that the resulting decoration, with its added cost, did not appeal to potential customers. Also, the factory closed the following year, limiting production to no more than a year. Both stains were delicate and tend to be faded or washed off after over a century of existence.