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A beauty of Bellaire, Ohio, the Imperial Glass Company enjoyed more than 70 years as one of
America's most popular glassmakers. From its humble beginnings in 1901 to its pinnacle of prestige in the
'50s, Imperial Glass Company succeeded in garnering generations of supporters.
Initially established as the "New Crystal Glass Company" in 1901 by J. N. Vance, Imperial Glass
targeted its first years of production toward utilitarian vessels such as jelly jars or simple tumblers rendered
in an imitation cut glass style. As the years progressed, Imperial found particular strength in its ability to
respond to the desires of consumers. Recognizing the popularity of carnival glass by the dawn of the 1910s,
for example, Imperial generated its own line. They also continued to create high quality imitation cut glass
pieces, cornering the market on those who admired the higher-end designs of companies like Tiffany
Studios but couldn't cut the cost.
One of Imperial's greatest successes was the Candlewick pattern, which debuted in 1936. Featuring
streamlined contours accented with edges dotted with small beads of color glass, the Candlewick pattern
proved so popular that it rivaled some of the other best-selling styles of the day and also ushered in a
number of imitators. Though Imperial fell on dark times by the '70s, the legacy of their most successful
patterns continues to be firmly ensconced among American audiences.
The Imperial Glass Company is honored today by a museum sited on the spot of the facility's
original location in Bellaire, Ohio
Earl Newton, who took over the helm of Imperial around 1911, was driven to see Imperial succeed,
seeking out new approaches and business relationships to promote their glass pieces. An example of this
dedication was the deal he struck with Quaker Oats to offer pieces of Imperial's higher-end Cape Cod
pattern along with the food company’s production
One of Imperial's most experimental lines was known as Free Hand, developed in the '20s in response
to the growing trend of iridescent art glass. Though these pieces are striking, they never proved popular
among consumers. The line was discontinued quickly, making these pieces some of the rarest