BugDoc Dave here with today’s Stretch Tuesday. I was going to discuss plates in the “wide panel” pattern because the ones made by Imperial are always being confused with the ones made by U.S.Glass, but the recent square-footed Northwood “tree of life” pieces caught my eye and I’m going to cover those instead. Northwood used three molds to produce what we call today comports – a square-footed form, an octagonal-footed form and a large 12-sided-footed form. It appears that these were first made with plain panels on the foot, but Northwood jazzed up the mold by adding hatching which some have interpreted as being a tree bark. I’ve tried to draw this pattern and you soon realize that the pattern is actually reeds (grass) with some cross-hatching between the blades (possibly to resemble water ripples in the background?). The six-sided based form is pretty small (about 3 1/8-diameter base) and the top can be flattened down, flared and cupped or raised and cupped. Stretch ones with and without the pattern can be found on the foot.
The square-based comport is the most commonly found piece and you could make an entire collection of all the forms of the top: square, low (ice cream shape), flared, JIP, rolled rim, two sides up, square-crimped, rose bowl, etc. If you add colors, the list is nearly impossible to imagine! This piece is known in light blue, regular blue (Celeste Blue type), and sapphire blue, emerald green, Topaz, Russet, crystal, marigold, and Royal Purple. Again, a few rare pieces are known no pattern on the foot. A few of these forms have numbers that have come from Northwood catalog pages, but we have not been able to get all the numbers for all the pieces (if there were numbers!).
The 12-sided comport has a nearly 4 1/2-inch diameter base and the top is usually flattened down into a cake stand form, wide flared and cupped (low bowl form), or cupped in. The colors are much more limited with Blue, Topaz and marigold being the most common though a few crystal pieces are known. A couple of these pieces are also known where the base has no pattern. Two rare pieces of this are known, one with an intaglio-thistle pattern and the other is iridized custard glass!