Heisey Lady Leg

Jun 20, 2022 | Museum Monday Treasures

Today’s Museum Monday treasure from the collection of the Museum of American Glass in WV is a lovely, delicate little cordial that by all rights should be completely impossible to identify with any certainty. The decoration is a needle etching, meaning that it was produced mechanically. The piece was coated with beeswax and then clamped to a machine that precisely removed the wax using steel needles to expose the design to be etched, which was then accomplished by dipping the item in an acid bath. Any glass company could lease both the machine and the etching patterns, so even a “known” needle etching (i.e., one appearing in a company catalog) cannot be assumed to be exclusively from that company.

To make matters even more difficult, this cordial has what is known as a “Lady Leg” stem, a shape that is ubiquitous and that was made by virtually every manufacturer of stemware. In this case the stem is actually pressed with a blown bowl (a process known as hokey pokey) and this is what makes it possible for us to accurately identify the manufacturer. Because the stem was pressed, it was possible for the company to mark it with a tiny H inside of a diamond just beneath the bowl. I’m sure you are all way ahead of me now, recognizing the famous Diamond H trademark used by A. H. Heisey and Company.

This is Heisey’s No. 3336 pattern, known to collectors as Lady Leg. (Heisey also used the same stem with a different bowl shape as No. 3335 Lady Leg.) Heisey started doing needle etching in 1919 and continued them into the 1920s, so that gives a good production period for this particular piece. Heisey is known to have used this particular needle etching on a number of their blown lines. Researchers assigned 9001 to it since Heisey’s pattern number is not known and collectors refer to it as Trefoil. What is of interest about this particular example is that the motif is repeated twice: once around the top of the bowl and then repeated upside down for the second row.

The cordial is 3 ¼” high, a delicate little treasure indeed.

Heisey-Lady-Leg

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