Our antiques expert assesses a Northwood custard glass water set to help determine what it's worth today.
I inherited this 8-in. glass pitcher with six matching 3-3/4-in. glasses; my mother called it custard glass. The pitcher has no markings, but each tumbler has a starburst imprint on the bottom. Can you tell me more?
—D.D., Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
What’s It Worth?
A: This creamy, opaque glassware originated in Europe in the 1880s, when custard was commonly served in households. Although it was introduced as ivory glass, early collectors repeatedly asked shopkeepers for “that custard-colored glass.”
Renowned glassmaker Harry Northwood, an Englishman, produced the first American-made custard glass in Indiana, Pennsylvania, in the 1890s. He was the first to sell complete table sets in a wide variety of shapes, adding to its popularity.
Chrysanthemum Sprig,sometimes known as Pagoda, is his most familiar pattern, one that collectors seek out. It features attractive fired-on decorations and a small amount of uranium, enough to give the glass a translucent glow, but not enough to be dangerous. The paneled body has Greek key borders and pink flowers. If in perfect condition, your Northwood glass water set with pitcher and six tumblers is worth about $850.
—Barbara J. Eash (Country Woman Magazine’s Antiques Expert)