Edge Treatments in Carnival Glass

Page last updated April 14, 2016

Carnival glass manufacturers tried different ways to make their products more interesting and unusual. As glass was still malleable when it came from the mold, it was a simple matter to use tools to shape the edges of the glass before it cooled.

Common ruffling: This is the most often seen edge treatment. Most ruffled bowls will have the gently undulating edge seen in the Fenton Ten Mums bowl upper left. Some makers gave some of their bowls more extreme ruffles as shown in the Dugan Cherries bowl above. Occasionally the glass makers would give the edges an unusual treatment that almost makes the piece a whimsey as seen in the Fenton Waterlily and Cattails green bowl at the left.

Three-in-One: Each of the Carnival makers seemed to have their own approach to this treatment. The red Orange Tree bowl upper left is typical of Fenton’s; somewhat irregular. Above is Dugan’s Apple Blossom Twigs; the three small ruffles almost form a shelf above the down-turning ruffle in a very regular fashion. At the left is a Millersburg Blackberry Wreath; the small ruffles are rather pointy. Three-in-one is very rare in Northwood and I don’t recall having seen the treatment in Imperial or Cambridge.

Crimped edges: Crimping, which can be defined as small ruffles, is typified the blue Fenton Ten Mums bowl in the upper left. Collectors call this style candy ribbon edge (CRE). The only manufacturer other than Fenton to do this was Dugan, and then only rarely. Above is Northwood’s answer to the technique as seen in an Embroidered Mums bowl. It’s called pie crust edge (PCE) and the term is used only with Northwood glass. At the left is how Dugan did it for the most part as seen in the Cherries footed bowl. There is no particular name for this Dugan treatment, collectors simply call it crimped.

Other shaping: In the attempt to make their glass stand out, glass makers sometimes incorporated very unusual shaping. One example is the Dugan Stippled Petals that not only has unusual ruffling but has two sides pulled, making it what collectors call a banana dish. Above is another piece with two sides pulled up, a Northwood Grape and Cable plate. Because it was made from a plate, collectors usually refer to such a piece as a double-handgrip rather than a banana dish. These sometimes have just one side up, which is called a single-handgrip. At the left is a Fenton Peacock Tail bowl that has four sides pulled up as well as ruffling.

Are these whimsies? Whimsies are thought to have been made at the “whim” of the glass maker, rather than as a production run. The Grape and Cable pieces are seen often enough that they were not whimsies. The Peacock Tail would almost certainly be a whimsey as so few of them are known. The Stippled Petals falls somewhere in between.

Variations on a theme: With any given pattern the glass maker could give it a number of treatments. Here are prime examples of how the Millersburg craftsmen varied the Big Fish pattern. The bowl in the upper left is considered a blank–that is, pretty much as it came out of the mold. At this point the glass maker would have crimped it and pulled two sides up slightly to make the bowl above. Or he could have simply pulled two sides up a bit and two sides down to make an oval bowl at the left. Normally, however, they would just ruffle or crimp them. The pieces shown here are considered rarities.