W.J. HUGHES CORN FLOWER GLASS FOR SALE

The other day one of my cornflower alerts sent me to the Kijiji website where it appears someone in Moncton, ON is selling some of their Hughes Corn Flower:

I’m an avid collector of Hughes Corn flower and would like to sell my extra’s. I have candlewick, clear & colored items for sale. Please contact me if you are interested. Pictures available.

My Canadian Obsession By Elaine Of Everlasting Treasures

The November 2006 issue of the Ruby Lane newsletter has an article by Elaine of Everlasting Treasures about her experiences collecting Hughes Corn Flower:

During my first visit to the Dufferin County Museum and Archives in Ontario, Canada and viewing their outstanding collection of W. J. Hughes Corn Flower glass, I realized – I was hooked! I became fascinated with is amazing glass. And I wanted to learn more about the glass and the man who created it.

Orangeville, The Heart of Dufferin County

orangeville_book_cover.jpg

Wayne Townsend, the curator of the Dufferin County Museum & Archives, has written a book about Orangeville. The Global Genealogy web site has a write-up about the book and a brief bio of Wayne. Part of it specifically mentions corn flower:

In the last two years, since discovering the Dufferin County connection to W. J. Hughes “Corn Flower,” the museum has collected over 500 pieces of Corn Flower and catalogued the archival materials of the company.

Hughes Corn Flower history article

I found this on the Antique67 web site and reprint the entire article below:

Hughes Corn Flower

Walter Lemiski, M.A.


New Martinsville amber Moondrops 3-lite candlestick

The founder of the W.J. Hughes Corn Flower Company, William John Hughes, was born in Amaranth County, Ontario in 1881. Tragically his mother died when he was a young boy and his father was left to care for William John and his five siblings. They lived a very meager subsistence. Although he only acquired a Grade Two education, Jack Hughes’ determination, winning personality and business sense were the ingredients that made it possible for him to become a Canadian success story.

As a young man he was employed by Roden Brothers silversmiths starting in 1901. The brothers, Frank and Thomas, had their factory on Carlaw Avenue in Toronto. Initially W.J. Hughes, known to most as “Jack”, worked in the “metal room”. There he measured out silver for the silvering process. Fortunately for him and for glass collectors, when that firm expanded their lines to include cut lead glass in 1907, Jack was asked to learn the art of cutting. Roden catalogues from this era indicate that floral patterns were in vogue. They produced such patterns as Aster, Mayflower, Daisy, Poppy, Sunflower, and most notably Corn Flower. Jack Hughes was a dedicated worker and within a relatively short time became the foreman of the cutting shop.

Starting in 1912, he began to experiment in the basement of his home on Wychwood Avenue in Toronto, on a cutting frame that he built himself, with his own original “grey” cut glass patterns (shallower cuts on lighter glass). In 1914, Hughes left Rod Brothers to devote himself full time to producing and selling his own original cut glass. Amongst his cut patterns were pieces cut with birds, floral patterns, geometric shapes, and moons. It may prove impossible to categorically identify many of thes early cut patterns since the items were not photographed and never signed or labelled. However, a certain 12-petalled floral cut that the young Hughes developed was to have a very long lasting popularity indeed.


Tiffin blue #8307 bonbon & cover

The Hughes Corn Flower pattern is distinctive with its petalled flower, grid like interior and elegant sweeping stems. Care was taken to maintain the integrity of the pattern throughout the three quarters of a century of production life. The hand-cutt glass of Corn Flower was done in a five step process: Step One: “spotting”-marking out the positioning of the flowers with dash-like cuts Step Two: “six-siding” and “stemming”:-the interior grid-like design of authentic Corn Flower forms hexagonal patterns; graceful arching stems also were cut in this stage. Step Three: “leafing”-distinctive leaves formed with a pair of elongated semi-circles that end in a point Step Four: “petalling”-a series of shallow cuts usually forming twelve petals, however this number did vary when space was restricted on smaller surfaces. On items with very little room a Corn Flower bud design was used. Step Five: “fringing” or “nicking”-the tips of the petals were decorated with a series of small cut lines.

The business had started on a rather small scale. Indeed for most of the first thirty-some years the production of Corn Flower was done from the basement of the family’s home. W.J. Hughes, would receive a barrel shipment of glass, cut the glass, and then go on the road to sell and deliver the product to various outlets. Amongst his favourites were the owners of small independent jewellery and gift stores in small southern Ontario towns. He also was able to land contracts with the major department stores, Eaton’s and Simpsons, as his reputation for production of quality glassware grew. By the thirties, his business was thriving and he was able to employ a handful of cutters, many who he trained himself, to help him to keep up with the steady flow of orders. One such cutter was R.G. “Bobby” Sherriff who began as an apprentice in Hughes’ workshop in 1923. After many years spent producing Corn Flower glass Sherriff left to set up his own quite successful shop in Toronto in 1940. Sherriff, unfortunately, began to produce cut glassware quite similar to Hughes Corn Flower. Eventually this led to legal proceedings. Although hand cut glass objects couldn’t be copyrighted, Sherriff was ordered to discontinue use of his labels that copied Corn Flower labels right down to their shape and colour. Other imitators did emerge over the years, mainly being cutters who at one time had worked for Hughes. However, with a little bit of study the imitations actually are fairly easy to spot. There also were similar American floral cuts, although each of those had their own distinctive design differences.


Duncan Miller crystal 4-part relish

As somewhat of a perfectionist, W.J. Hughes would not sell any slightly miscut items to his main customers. He would however take these seconds to sell to folks in his neighbourhood at a reduced price or give some of these items to friends or relatives. For his company image he wished to exude quality. Even through the depression years he could always be spotted on his sales trips looking quite dapper in a beautifully tailored suit with a sparkling diamond stickpin in his tie and fine diamond rings on each hand. Hughes was heard to have said that “if a man is poor, there is no need to look poor.” Even though he showed the trappings of his success, Jack never forgot his humble beginnings. Throughout his lifetime he gave generously to many charities in Toronto and back in his home county of Dufferin.

There were a total of eight companies that have been identified to date as suppliers of blanks for Hughes Corn Flower during the first thirty years. This number may be somewhat confounded by reports that Hughes would undertake custom cuttings for customers who brought in their own uncut pieces for treatment. These eight companies were all major players in the American elegant glass field: Fostoria, Heisey, Imperial, Lancaster, New Martinsville, Paden City, Tiffin Glass, and West Virginia Specialty Glass company.

W.J. Hughes imported almost exclusively American elegant glassware blanks for production of his Corn Flower over the first thirty years of business. To this date little documentation has been unearthed from these early years. Hughes apparently believed that word-of-mouth was the best way to grow a business. Consequently, and unfortunately for researchers, he did virtually nothing to advertise his wares through standard trade magazines or through print media. Several 1920’s Heisey invoices are mentioned in Hughes Corn Flower correspondence from the late 1960’s. Other evidence has been gathered through viewing of Corn Flower collections and observations as to what has been available at Depression Glass Shows, general line shows and antique markets. By far the most informative, intriguing and at the same time puzzling source of information about glass blanks purchased by W.J. Hughes in the 1930’s is found in the advertising photographs. This catalogue was produced in the late 1930’s for use in the Hughes’ showroom and for his first distributor, Haddy, Body and Company, by the Toronto-based photographer J. Thornley Wrench. Shapes found in this early catalogue on which Corn Flower was cut include: stemware, serving pieces such as platters and relish dishes, cream and sugar sets, salad plates, sherbet dishes, vases and bowls.


Tiffin green #315 high footed compote

With the onset of WWII American glass became more difficult for the Hughes Corn Flower Company to import. Even after the war, in the mid-1940’s, glass manufacturers in the States could not keep up with the rebound in domestic demand, let alone supply the Canadian market. The Hughes’ were forced to look elsewhere and therefore turned to Europe to take up the slack for mouth-blown glassware. European glass was imported from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Rumania, and Sweden. Importing from Europe also was not without its challenges. Quality, quantity and timely delivery were all matters of concern for the Hughes Corn Flower company.

The most constant source of glass blanks for Corn Flower over the years was the Imperial Glass Company, established in 1901, in Bellaire, Ohio. Imperial’s Line #400, best known as Candlewick, was a favourite medium for the Hughes Corn Flower cut. Introduced in 1936, this line flourished until the closure of the Imperial Glass Company in 1986. Three main reasons exist for the long working relationship that Corn Flower enjoyed with Imperial. First of all, the quality of Candlewick in its consistency a clarity made it excellent for cutting. Secondly, the number of items in this huge line of blanks, numbering some three hundred in all over the years, gave a fine selection of pieces with ample smooth surface area for working. Lastly, the Candlewick line was in production for an astoundingly long period of time, fifty years. Ed Kleiner, the Imperial Glass Company’s sales representative for Canada through to the mid-1950’s, stated that only once in his career did he receive an order for an entire box car-load of Candlewick-that order was shipped to Hughes Corn Flower Limited.

In 1923 Jack Hughes was admitted to Grace Hospital in Toronto for an appendectomy. It was to be an important happening for the continuation of Corn Flower. Jack was already forty-one years old and was twice a widower. It was while at Grace Hospital that he lost not only his appendix, but also his heart, for training as a nurse there at that time was Hazel Graham. After a two year courtship Jack and Hazel were married.


Lancaster yellow #R1831-3 bowl

Within a couple of years there daughter Lois June was born to them. Lois was to be involved with Corn Flower for some sixty years. As a young girl she learned to answer the phone saying “W.J. Hughes”. Later she helped with making out invoices and even tried her hand at cutting Corn Flower. Lois married a young RCAF pilot from British Columbia, Phillip Charles “Pete” Kayser, in 1944. In 1945, Pete Kayser started to work part-time for the firm. In 1948, Jack Hughes formed a partnership with his wife Hazel and with Pete Kayser. Shortly thereafter they built a factory on Kenwood Avenue, about a block away from their Wychwood home.

W.J. Hughes passed away suddenly from a heart attack on April 17, 1951. He was seventy years old. His many faithful customers and friends travelled from across Canada to pay their respects. Many of the major American glass firms also sent representatives. Pete Kayser, as secretary-treasurer of W.J. Hughes and Sons Corn Flower Limited placed the following notice in the June 1951 edition of The Trader and Canadian Jeweller:** Originator of the world famous Corn Flower pattern, the late W.J. Hughes left behind him a tradition of fine glass cutting which is the exclusive and proud possession of our Company. Because of this inspiration, this heritage, we feel that W.J. Hugh Fine Glassware is in a class by itself…. No pattern ever cut in fine glass has ever proved to be so popular as the Corn Flower which Mr. Hughes originated.

From 1951 onwards Pete Kayser was at the helm of Hughes Corn Flower. The company’s growth from that time on was astounding. Although their Kenwood Avenue factory was just a handful of years old, Pete recognized the limitations of its set-up, since n room was available for expansion. He bought a lot on Tycos Drive in North York and quickly built a new factory that comprised close to 13,000 square feet. By the early fifties, sixteen cutters were on staff at this facility. At the height of the Hughe Corn Flower Company’s production there were no fewer than thirty cutters, and in all some eighty staff, employed at the company’s Tycos Drive plant.


Imperial crystal Candlewick cheese compote

Although most of their large staff was involved directly with Corn Flower glassware, as a savvy entrepreneur Pete Kayser also branched out into other endeavours. Beginning in 1954, W.J. Hughes and Sons became the Canadian agents and distributors for Imperial Candlewick and Imperial Vintage Milk Glass. By 1961, they also served as Canadian representatives for both the Viking Glass Company and for the Fenton Art Glass Company. Starting in the early 1960’s Pete Kayser also had aluminium trays made exclusively for them by Supreme Aluminium Products of Scarborough with the Corn Flower design. In the mid-60’s they introduced a Corn Flower ovenware line consisting of casseroles, mixing bowls, mugs and pans. This milk glass heatproof oven-to-table line was manufactured for them by the Federal Glass Company. The Corn Flower design was fired on in blue paint to the exterior of the white glass. In 1970, the company became the exclusive distributor in Canada for a line of 24% lead crystal stemware that was produced by the Ferunion glassworks of Hungary. Around the same time the Corn Flower Company brought in a line of silveplated reproductions of antique English silver.

Despite their diversity, what ultimately led to the winding down of the company after such a long run was the decrease of available blanks for cutting. The major suppliers from the 1970’s for Corn Flower had been Imperial, Viking and Federal Glass companies. All three of these firms had closed shop by the early 1980’s. With less than half of the Tycos Corn Flower factory being utilized, it was sold in 1985. During the final three years the business operated in the Langstaff area of Concord, Ontario.

Thousands upon thousands of households right across Canada have cherished Corn Flower for generations. Many are the stories of Canadians who remember saving to buy pieces of this lovely glassware, being given Corn Flower as a present on special occasions, or having had it handed down to them as a family heirloom. The longevity of this beautiful glassware, in production for three quarters of a century from 1912 to 1988, in itself serves as a tribute to the Hughes Corn Flower company. W.J. Hughes Cor Flower is indeed a truly amazing Canadian success story.

A permanent display of Corn Flower can also be seen at the Dufferin County Museum which is located at the junction of Highway 89 and Airport Road. For further information call: 1-877-941-7787 or Email: dcmchin@planeteer.com

Walter Lemiski is the Director of the Canadian Depression Glass Association. He also runs the bi-annual Vintage Glass Show & Sale — in 2007 on Saturday, April 14th & Saturday, November 17th. Walt’s two books “Elegant Glass with Corn Flower” and “Glass Barware: Deco & Beyond” are available from the author for $35.00 each. For more information about the CDGA, glass books or the Vintage Glass Shows please write walt@waltztime.com or visit www.waltztime.com

9th Annual Corn Flower Festival

It has been a loooong time since either my Dad (Brian) or I wrote, but I’m going to try to be better this year.

I got some information from the Hills of Headwaters web site about the 9th Annual Corn Flower Festival:

9th Annual Corn Flower Festival

Attention glassware collectors and enthusiasts – join Dufferin County Museum and Archives to celebrate Corn Flower.

View the Museum’s extensive glassware collection and company archives of once local W J Hughes Corn Flower Company.  Also take in the consignment sale and special presentations.  Meet and discuss your ‘passion for the pattern’ with Lois and Pete Kayser, owners and former operators of  W J Hughes and Wayne Townsend, DCMA curator and author of the book “Corn Flower : Creatively Canadian”.

Date(s): Jun 3, 2007
Time(s): 10am – 4pm
Cost: $10, children under 5 FREE.
Ticket Information: Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Highway 89 & Airport Rd.
Contact: DCMA 705-435-1881 or 1-877-941-7787
Email: events@dufferinmuseum.com
Web Site: www.dufferinmuseum.com

Crazy for Corn Flower

I just saw this on the Wayback Times web site:

Crazy for Corn Flower
by Walter Lemiski M.A.
walt@waltztime.com

If you’ve been out at auctions lately, or at one of the four annual Canadian Depression Glass Shows then you know that folks are still just crazy for Corn Flower! The beautifully cut crystal pieces sell very well and the scarce pre-War coloured items are literally jumping off display tables. It seems somewhat incredible in the first place that a company could not only stay in business, but thrive in business for seventy-five years. For three quarters of a century the W.J. Hughes Company did just that.

That certain 12-petalled floral cut that the young Hughes developed way back in 1912 was to have a very long lasting indeed. The Hughes Corn Flower pattern is distinctive with its petalled flower, grid like interior and elegant sweeping stems. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of the curator of the Dufferin County Museum and Archives, Wayne Townsend, in publishing the first-ever book on this splendid glassware “Corn Flower Creatively Canadian”, so much more is now known about both the Hughes business and family.

One would be well advised not to call any jottings about Corn Flower glass definitive. Although there is much known about the last forty years of the company, much is still shrouded in mystery about the first thirty-five years. We do know that prior to World War II the lion’s share of glass was ordered from the United States. The companies included were New Martinsville, Louie, Fostoria, Imperial, Duncan and Miller, Indiana, Jeannette, West Virginia Glass Specialty, and Tiffin Glass Companies. It is only within past several months that we have found more information about the Duncan and Miller company’s association with Corn Flower, and for the first time there has been uncovered some documentation about purchases from the Jeannette Glass Company.

The Duncan-Miller Glass Company had a very long and successful run. Initially it was formed in 1865, production began in earnest in the 1870’s in Pittsburgh as George Duncan & Sons. The firm joined with the grouping of companies that was known as the United States Glass Company, the firm out of which later in the 1920’s the Tiffin Glass factory emerged as its flagship. In 1892, the factory was destroyed by fire. At that point the owners left the glass combine and opened a new factory in Washington, Pennsylvania. By the turn of the century it became known as the Duncan-Miller Glass Company (named for its principals Harry Duncan, James Duncan and John Miller).

Amongst their major lines were Canterbury, Sandwich, Hobnail and Teardrop. The company was known for its use of colour — green and Rose (pink), cobalt blue, light blue, black and ruby. Duncan-Miller fits in with the group of glass companies that are referred to by collectors and researchers as Elegant Glass producers. The quality of their materials and their care in craftsmanship place them firmly in this category. The most readily recognized Duncan-Miller items cut by the Hughes Corn Flower Company are the Pall Mall No.30 pattern swans. “Pall Mall, by Duncan, has that deep, clear, flawless beauty, which is essential to the plain simple designs of the ‘modern’ style. As such, it lends itself to a myriad of new uses–for home decoration, for the table, for flowers.” — excerpt from a Duncan catalogue (c.1945). The only definitively identified pre-WWII Duncan-Miller blank used for the Corn Flower cut previously identified had been the Three Feather pattern, pattern number 117, designed by their premier designer Robert A. May. A green console set (c.1935), consisting of a pair of candlesticks and a flower bowl, were appraised by this author in a collection in the spring of 2001. In the mid-1950’s the U.S. Glass Company bought out Duncan-Miller. The moulds were used at their Glassport, Pennsylvania factory (one of the Tiffin factories). The Fenton Art Glass Company acquired some of the Duncan moulds in the 1960’s.

The Jeannette Glass Company began production in 1898. In its early days they made such items as “vault lights, prism tile, packers’ ware, and novelties”. In 1927-28 brand-spanking new machinery was installed, an automatic glassmaking system that could mass-produce some 50 tons of glass daily with two continuous tanks. It was at this juncture that the Jeannette Company veered away from so-called hand finished glassware. Unlike the other nine identified firms that Hughes purchased from through the 1920’s and 1930’s who were all Elegant Glass companies producing hand glass, Jeannette is known as one of the major players in Depression Glass, that lower cost, lower quality massed produced glassware that became possible in the mid-1920’s due to revolutionary new technologies. Amongst other innovations, the Jeannette Glass Company suggested that they may very well have been the first company to produce pink and green glassware automatically in a continuous tank.

The Jeannette line #5186 items indicated in the Corn Flower invoices listed from 1927 are amber, crystal, green and topaz (yellow) bowls and bases. The bowl is bell-shaped and the base is black glass. One suspects that only the bowls would have been adorned with the Corn Flower cut. Several years ago a couple of sherbet plates and salad plates in a green Hex Optic, rather badly scratched, were located by this author. From the February 20, 1928 issue of the “China, Glass and Lamps” trade paper we have the following notice that may well have intrigued W.J. Hughes: “Another item of general interest was the machine made salad plate. There were three designs shown including one plain salad plate for use in the decorating trade. Being automatically made these plates are uniform and can be stacked to a height of six feet of more if necessary. This is a great advantage to the decorating trade and also to the department store buyers, because lack of space in various glass departments make it necessary to stack plates and if they are not uniform it not only takes more room but also shows the irregularity of the plate as soon as the customer sees the stack.”

Theories about Hughes only purchasing fine quality elegant glassware appear incorrect. However, very little of this Jeannnette glassware has emerged to date leading one to suspect that their association with Corn Flower may well have been a very short-lived one. Certainly the crystal clear, fine quality that one expects to see in the wares that Hughes generally cut on is not to be found in Jeannette glassware of this era. Who knows what other new exciting information may appear about the early years of W.J. Hughes glassware in the future! Stay tuned as we continue to be crazy for Corn Flower!
Corn Flower fans will have two excellent opportunities to view some of this much loved glassware over the next two months — at the Toronto Depression Glass Show and at the Dufferin County Museum’s Corn Flower Festival. We hope to see you there!

For information call: (905) 846-2835
Dufferin County Museum’s Corn Flower Festival

Special Corn Flower Attractions:
Identification sessions, Hughes family stories, Corn Flower history, Glass talks, Special archival exhibits, Tour of the collections, Glass consignment sale.

The current exhibition of Corn Flower celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Hughes’ Corn Flower design is displayed with artifacts and archival material related to both traditional and modern anniversary gifts. It runs from February through August.

Dufferin County Museum is located at the junction of Highway 89 and Airport Road Admission: $5
For further information call: 1-877-941-7787
Email: collectionsmanager@dufferinmuseum.com

Corn Flower Collectors Club
The Dufferin County Museum & Archives, the home of W.J. Hughes Corn Flower, has formed a national W.J. Hughes Corn Flower Collectors Club. Annual membership or $25 (or two-year membership of $45) supports ongoing DCMA research into the company’s history, product identification, and authentification. Members receive three colour newsletter per year; the Corn Flower Chronicle, which includes identification, classifieds, collecting hints, Hughes family and business history, photographs, and Corn Flower appraisals. The annual meeting will be held each year at the DCMA’s annual Corn Flower Festival, this year held on Sunday, June 9th.

Walt and Kim Lemiski run Waltz Time Antiques – specializing in vintage glassware. They also promote the Toronto Depression Glass Show & Sale. Walt is the Director of the Canadian Depression Glass Association. Since 1976 the CDGA has produced a newsletter, the Canadian Depression Glass Review, providing information about Depression Glass and related topics of interest to fellow “Preservationists of Depression Era Glassware”. Memberships are $17 for one year/$45 for three years. Any inquiries may be directed to Walt Lemiski by…
Phone: (905) 846-2835
Email: walt@waltztime.com

CDGA
P.O. Box 41564
HLRPO, 230 Sandalwood Pkwy.
Brampton, ON L6Z 4R1

Current eBay auctions (20060214)

Dad has 10 new auctions going for the next week.

You can see them all at once by viewing the auctions for brianjwing

You can view them individually below:

What a find!

When I’m in Value Village, I always look through the display cases at the front, and in the kitchen areas. Often the people who work there don’t recognize a valuable item. This happened the other day. I bought a 50th anniversary tray, still in its original shrink wrap. The shrink wrap had split open in a couple of places, and there were some scratches where the tray had been exposed, but other than that, it is in mint condition.

The price of the item was $1.99, but I actually got it free because I had a coupon. Not bad!

Hughes Corn Flower: An Elegant Canadian Tradition

By Walter Lemiski M.A.

The founder of the W.J. Hughes Corn Flower Company, William John Hughes, was born in Dufferin County, Ontario in the early 1880’s. As a young man he was employed by Roden Brothers silversmiths of Toronto in the 1890’s. Fortunately for him and for glass collectors, when that firm expanded their lines to include cut lead glass Hughes was asked to learn the art of cutting. Starting in 1912, he began to experiment at his home with his own original “grey” cut glass patterns (shallower cuts on lighter glass). In 1914, Hughes left Roden Brothers to devote himself full time to producing and selling Corn Flower glass.

The Hughes Corn Flower pattern is distinctive with its petalled flower, grid like interior and elegant sweeping stems. Care was taken to maintain the integrity of the pattern throughout the three quarters of a century of production life. The hand-cutting of Corn Flower was done in a five step process:


Five Steps of Corn Flower Cutting
  1. “Spotting” – marking out the positioning of the flowers with dash-like cuts
  2. “Six-siding” and “stemming” – the interior grid-like design of authentic Corn Flower forms hexagonal patterns; graceful arching stems also were cut in this stage
  3. “Leafing” – distinctive leaves formed with a pair of elongated semi-circles that end in a point
  4. “Petalling” – a series of shallow cuts usually forming twelve petals, however this number did vary when space was restricted on smaller surfaces. On items with very little room a Corn Flower bud design was used
  5. “Fringing” or “nicking” – the tips of the petals were decorated with a series of small cut lines

Identification of the glass blanks that the Hughes Corn Flower Company used proves to be no mean feat since their glass was imported from many different firms over the years. Prior to World War II the lion’s share of glass was ordered from the United States. The companies included were Cambridge, New Martinsville, Louie, Fostoria, Imperial, Duncan and Miller, Indiana, West Virginia Glass Specialty, and Mid-Atlantic Glass Companies. With the onset of WWII American glass became more difficult for the Hughes Corn Flower Company to import. Even after the war, in the mid-1940’s, glass manufacturers in the States could not keep up with the rebound in domestic demand, let alone supply the Canadian market. The Hughes’ were forced to look elsewhere and therefore turned to Europe to take up the slack for mouth-blown glassware. European glass was imported from Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Rumania, and Sweden. Importing from Europe also was not without its challenges. Quality, quantity and timely delivery were all matters of concern for the Hughes Corn Flower Company.

The most constant source of glass blanks for Corn Flower over the years was the Imperial Glass Company, established in 1901, in Bellaire, Ohio. Imperial’s Line #400, best known as Candlewick, was a favourite medium for the Hughes Corn Flower cut. Introduced in 1936, this line flourished until the closure of the Imperial Glass Company in 1986. Three main reasons exist for the long working relationship that Corn Flower enjoyed with Imperial. First of all, the quality of Candlewick in its consistency and clarity made it excellent for cutting. Secondly, the number of items in this huge line of blanks, numbering some three hundred in all over the years, gave a fine selection of pieces with ample smooth surface area for working. Lastly the Candlewick line was in production for an astoundingly long period of time, fifty years. Ed Kleiner, the Imperial Glass Company’s sales representative for Canada through to the mid-1950’s, stated that only once in his career did he receive an order for an entire boxcar-load of Candlewick – that order was shipped to Hughes Corn Flower Limited.

The business had started on a rather small scale. Indeed for most of the first thirty-some years the production of Corn Flower was done from the basement of the family’s home. W.J. Hughes would receive barrel shipment of glass, cut the glass, and then go on the road to sell and deliver the product to various outlets. The retailers of Corn Flower included china and gift shops, jewellers and major department stores such as Eatons and Simpsons. Customers could also visit the showroom at the house to purchase available items. Through the thirties and most of the forties Hughes Corn Flower kept a handful of cutters busy producing their trademark glassware. In 1945, Phillip “Pete” Kayser, W.J. Hughes’ son-in-law, started to work part-time for the firm [he had married W.J.’s daughter Lois]. By 1951, it was Pete who was running the business. The company’s growth from that time on was astounding. By the early fifties, sixteen cutters were on staff at the Kenwood Avenue factory.

At the height of the Hughes Corn Flower Company’s production there were no fewer than thirty cutters, and in all some eighty staff, employed at the company’s Tycos Drive plant.

Thousands upon thousands of households right across Canada have cherished Corn Flower for generations. Many are the stories of Canadians who remember saving to buy pieces of this lovely glassware, being given Corn Flower as a present on special occasions, or having had it handed down to them as a family heirloom. The longevity of this beautiful glassware, in production for three quarters of a century from 1912 to 1988, in itself serves as a tribute to the Hughes Corn Flower Company. W.J. Hughes Corn Flower is indeed a truly amazing Canadian success story.

Walter Lemiski is the Director of the Canadian Depression Glass Association. Since 1976 the CDGA has produced a newsletter, the Canadian Depression Glass Review, providing information about Depression Glass and related topics of interest to fellow “Preservationists of the Depression Glass Era Glassware”. Memberships are $15 for one year/$40 for three years. Any inquiries may be forwarded to Walter Lemiski by phone at (905) 846 – 2835 or by email at walt@waltztime.com

Colours Of The Depression Glass Kitchen

In the March, 1999 issue of The WayBack Times, a monthly newspaper in Ontario highlighting antiques, Walter T. Lemiski, M.A. wrote a wonderful article entitled “Colours in the Depression Glass Kitchen” about the various colours of Depression Glass that are available. I would like to point out that not each style or design of depression glass comes in each colour. I have seen Corn Flower in many colours, but not all of the ones listed below.

With Walter’s permission, here is the list of colours:

AMBER – transparent colouring only, much of this produced by the Federal Glass Company
BLACK – an opaque colour, McKee, Fenton, and L.E. Smith were the main producers
CHALAINE BLUE – opaque light blue, “robins egg” blue, a scarce colour
CLAMBROTH GREEN – translucent, light green shade
CLAMBROTH WHITE – translucent, milky white colour
COBALT BLUE – dark, rich transparent blue, most produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Company
CRYSTAL – the depression glass collector’s name for clear glass dishes, creamer, pitcher, reamers, refrigerator jars, sugar, and tumblers found in pink, crystal, and ultramarine.
DELPHITE – another opaque blue, darker than Chalame, produced by Jeannette and McKee Glass Companies
FOREST GREEN – transparent dark green
GREEN – transparent, produced by most depression glass companies
PINK – transparent, another widely produced shade
RED – transparent, few items produced
SEVILLE – McKee’s opaque yellow shade
SKOKIE – McKee Glass Company opaque, light jade green colour
VITROCK – Hocking’s opaque, pristine white glass
WHITE – opaque white, like milk glass, McKee Glass Company and others.
YELLOW – transparent colour, few items manufacture

Walter Lemiski is an avid collector of Depression Glass, Carnival Glass and Victorian Art Glass. He has been a frequent contributor to the Toronto Symphony, the Ford Centre for the Performing Art’s, and numerous other arts and antique publications. He is the current director of the Canadian Depression Glass Association, established in 1976. The CDGA produces a bimonthly newsletter providing information about Depression Glass and related topics to fellow “Preservationists of Depression Era Glassware”.