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A Hero For Heisey
When the Nazis tried to destroy the soul of an American, it was in vain. Their prisoner not only returned home to the US, he returned a war hero. At 6’4 and less than 90 pounds, he came home to Ohio to heal.
Soon, word spread that the Army Air Corpsman had survived. An uncle owned a glass factory and offered the poor young man a chance to work in exchange for room and board. Every once in a while, young Ralph asks for a piece of glass that catches his eye.
During the years he worked in the Newark factory with the big diamond H, he collected barrels full of beautiful glassware. Although his branch of the family name was changed at Ellis Island, Ralph Hisey became a marketer of the name stock.
Later, that old grandfather brought those old logs to my door. That mint condition glass came into my life when I turned 21 and during those struggling years, it was a nice addition.
In May ’07, my San Diego fire and easily 90% of the collection was destroyed. What remains are the remnants of the past where his energy passed and continues with me flowing through him. I know for sure that you take each thing.
Fortunately, I was taught to tithe. When the barrels of Heisey passed into my hands, I transferred 10% to the hands of others. The ‘bygone’ pieces are some of the rarest and most sought-after glasses from many years ago.
The AH Heisey Company was founded in 1895. It offers both tableware and figurines in pressed and blown glass. It was closed in 1957. Heisey glassware is recognized by the diamond H. Its high clarity and finish have built a strong following. It is now popular among collectors and is bought and sold in places like eBay or antique glass groups.
Enthusiasts for the Heisey Collectors of America formed a group in 1971. Three years later, the National Heisey Glass Museum was created in downtown Newark, Ohio. On display are hundreds of patterns and colors showing the business of growing plants.
Dozens of animals, candleabras and table pieces decorated many homes in the early 1900s. Heisey glass was produced in colors throughout the company’s life, but the peak period of colored production was from 1925 to 1938.
The company went to great lengths to produce distinct colors, and Heisey glass can often be identified only from specific colors. In 1925, Flamingo (pastel rose-pink) and Moongleam (transparent green) were introduced and produced in large quantities.
Marigold is a golden yellow color. Sahara, which replaces Marigold, is a pleasant soft lemony yellow. Hawthorne is a lavender color. Tangerine, a bright orange red introduced in 1933, is part of a trend toward darker, more vivid colors. The Tangerine Ivy Vase is a rare and collectible item today.
A cobalt color called Stiegel Blue was also produced. Alexandrite is the rarest of the Heisey colors; it can be a bright purple color under normal light, but in sunlight or ultraviolet light, it glows with a lavender-pink color. Zircon is a modern grey-blue and is the last new color introduced.
Heisey is believed to have made some pieces of milk glass in his early manufacturing years and probably produced vaseline glass as well in the early 1920s, though not in large quantities.
At the time the factory was closed, the Imperial Glass Company purchased the designs for the Heisey glass factory and continued to make pieces with the Imperial Glass label until they went out of business in 1984. Many of these pieces are animal figurines, mostly fresh or new. original colors using the old molds.
As the economy gets stronger, more receivers will emerge and begin to drive prices back up. They peaked in the early 2000s and slowed in recent years. Sometimes, great collections appear when a longtime Heisey fan passes by. That’s the time to get some rare colors or patterns.
The artifacts of early American history have grown exponentially with the passing years. Heisey individual ashtrays and elaborate dinner sets point to a time when the home was the center of gathering and celebration. Bridge sets, molasses sprinklers and fancy candy dishes are now happy mementos of yesteryear.
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