In April 1896, Augustus H. Heisey opened a sixteen-pot glass furnace in Newark, Ohio. Eventually the plant expanded to three furnaces and employed over 700 people. Early production was limited to pressed ware and bar and hotel ware. In the late 1890s, Colonial patterns with flutes, scallops, and panels were introduced.
George Duncan Heisey, a son of Augustus H., designed the famous “Diamond H” trademark in 1900. The company registered it in 1901. In 1914 blown ware was first manufactured. Not content with traditional pulled stemware, the company introduced fancy pressed stemware patterns in the late 1910s.
Edgar Wilson, another son of Augustus H., became president in 1922 following Augustus’ death. He was responsible for most of the colored Heisey glass. While some colored glass was made earlier, the first pastel colors and later deeper colors, e.g., cobalt and tangerine, were manufactured in quantity in the 1920s and 30s. By the time of Edgar Wilson’s death in 1942, colored glassware had virtually disappeared from the market.
T. Clarence Heisey, another son of Augustus, assumed the presidency of the company. Shortages of manpower and supplies during World War II curtailed production. Many animal figures were introduced in the 1940s. An attempt was made to resurrect colored glass in the 1950s. Increasing production costs and foreign competition eventually resulted in the closing of the Heisey factory in December 1957.
The Imperial Glass Corporation of Bellaire, Ohio, bought the Heisey molds in 1958. Only a small number were kept in production, primarily those of patterns Heisey had in production when it ceased operations. Some pieces still carried the Heisey mark. In January 1968, Imperial announced it would no longer use the Heisey mark.
References: Neila Bredehoft, “The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Heisey Glass, 1925–1938,” Collector Books, 1986, 1999 value update; Gene Florence, “Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era,” Eighth Edition, Collector Books, 1999; Frank L. Hahn and Paul Kikeli, “Collector’s Guide to Heisey and Heisey By Imperial Glass Animals,” Golden Era Publications, 1991, 1998 value update; Harry L. Rinker, “Stemware of the 20th Century: The Top 200 Patterns,” House of Collectibles, 1997.
by Harry L. Rinker
“Official Price Guide to Collectibles”