Imperial Glass Company History
Edward Muhleman founded the Imperial Glass Corporation and opened its doors in 1904. The company became an overnight success. Imperial Glass continued to grow until it nearly succumbed to bankruptcy during the Great Depression. The company survived thanks in part to the employees who forfeited wages and vacation time to ensure the company stayed open. In 1940, the company began promoting the Cape Cod and Candlewick designs directly to American housewives in ads in women's magazines. The strategy worked. The Candlewick design continued to grow. By the 1960s, the competition of machine-made glass began to take its toll. After 80 years in business, the Imperial Glass Company was finally forced to close in August 1984.
Candlewick Line History
The Candlewick line was released in 1936. The name was inspired by the embroidery technique known as candle-wicking. The Candlewick design can be recognized by the glass beads that are reminiscent of the craft. By the 1950s, Imperial Glass was producing more than 200 items in the candlewick line. Candlewick was primarily produced in crystal, but a few pieces were available in colored glassware. More pieces of the Candlewick pattern were produced than any other Imperial pattern. Candlewick was produced until the company's demise in 1984.
Identifying Candlewick Glassware
Candlewick glassware can be identified by its glass beads. On flatware such as plates, ash trays and candy dishes the beads should never touch on the horizontal plane. Beads on the stems of glassware may be large, small or graduated and may touch each other on the vertical plane. There are no safe edges on any of the Candlewick glassware. The safe edge is identified as a bump on the interior edge of the rim of a glass. Early Candlewick pieces may have a light blue or gray tint when held to the light. Imperial did not produce a crystal clear glass until the late 1930s.
Because of the high volume of pieces produced, Candlewick is a collector's dream. The list seems endless. Pieces include everything from a standard tea cup, ash trays and nut cups to cigarette boxes. Many items are still readily available at a reasonable cost. Harder-to-find pieces such as the coveted banana bowl and the covered punch bowl may demand a higher price. Candlewick is commonly found in antique stores, flea markets and online auctions. Check your attic -- you may even have a treasure of your own.