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Tree Trunk, Northwood-Gary Sullivan

Tree Trunk – Northwood

Northwood’s Tree Trunk pattern comes exclusively in vases. Five unique molds were used to make the various Tree Trunk vases. Tree Trunk is distinguished by its irregularly spaced hobs and short crescent shapes around the hobs. The various versions of Tree Trunk are determined by the base size and not by the height of the pieces. Vases with a similar base may be swung to various heights. This difference in the height of a piece will give the vase another name such as “squatty” or “Elephant’s Foot”.

There are five base sizes; Standard – 3 3/8 inches, Standard Variant – 3 5/8 inches, Midsize – 4 5/8 inches, Midsize Variant – 3 3/4 inches, and Funeral – 5 1/4 inches.

1) Standard vases have 3 3/8 inch bases and range from 6 to 12 inches tall with the shorter ones being referred to as “squatty”. They have the necessary hobs and crescents as well as nine flames around the top. They have a plain base. They are found in a range of colors with amethyst, blue, green and marigold found quite easily. Aqua opal, ice blue, ice green, sapphire and white are also found regularly. Other colors would be considered rare. Some standard vases are marked with Northwood’s “N” on the bottom of the base.
2) Standard Variant vases are about the same size as the standard vases but have a base size of 3 5/8 inches. Many of the standard variant vases are not swung and thus many standard squatty vases are this variety. The pattern detail is the same but the top has nine points instead of flames. There is also a 32 point star in the base. These vases are only found in amethyst, green and marigold and thus it is thought that this mold came before the standard mold. It is this standard variant mold that was used to make the jester cap vases with the tops pulled down except for one point. Jester Cap vases in the Tree Trunk pattern are very rare. These vases are probably not marked due to the star in the base.

3) Midsize vases have a base that is 4 5/8 inches across. There are 10 flames on the top. Midsize vases are consistent in height being in the 12 to 14 inch range. The base is plain. Several colors are found. Amethyst, green, and marigold are easily found while blue, ice blue, ice green, lime green and white are somewhat harder. Aqua opal, horehound, marigold on moonstone and renninger blue are quite rare. A single midsize vase in blue slag, sometimes called sorbini, is known.
4) Midsize Variant vases are similar to midsize vases except that they have a plunger type base. The midsize variant collar base is only 3 3/4 inches across, but there is a plunger ring just above the collar base that extends out beyond the collar giving the base a larger appearance. There are 10 flames around the top. The pattern ends just before reaching the flames, making for a plain exterior surface at the tops of these vases. The vases can be marked with Northwood’s “N” on the bottom base which is plain. Colors are limited to amethyst, green and marigold meaning that these vases were probably early production pieces.

5) Funeral vases are the largest Tree Trunk vase with a base of 5 1/4 inches. Funeral vases are completely determined by this base size and not by the height of the vase as these funeral vases can range in height from 6 to 21 inches. Depending on the height, additional names are given to funeral vases. Jardinieres are essentially unswung funeral vases and are about 7 to 8 inches tall. While other pattern jardinieres have sides that are straight up, Tree Trunk jardinieres can be deeply ruffled. Elephant Foot vases are funeral vases that are in the range of 11 to 15 inches tall. Regular funeral vases range from 16 to 21 inches tall. Regardless of the height; all funeral Tree Trunk vases have a 5 1/4 inch base, 12 flames around the top, a plain base, and an unpatterned space at the top.
Funeral vases are found in fewer colors. Amethyst is the easiest to be located followed by blue, green, marigold and white. Ice blue and ice green are rare. The Elephant’s Foot version is only found in amethyst, blue, green and marigold so it is not found in Northwood’s pastel colors of ice blue, ice green or white. The jardinieres are only found in amethyst. No aqua opal Tree Trunk funeral vase has ever been found.