L. E. Smith Glass Company Lilac Swung Vases

Aug 22, 2022 | Museum Monday Treasures

Today’s Museum Monday treasure from the Museum of American Glass in WV is a series of swung vases showing off L. E. Smith Glass Company’s unusual and unique Lilac color. Following Smith’s phenomenal success with their Bittersweet in 1960 (an opaque amberina, shading from yellow to orange), they introduced Lilac in 1961 to augment the Simplicity line. It is a pale lavender lightly swirled with white, so that it almost appears to be a slag glass. Unfortunately, production was limited to a single year, either because the color simply wasn’t popular or – more likely – it was difficult to maintain color control. Only thirteen pieces of Lilac appear in the 1961 catalog, including an ashtray, a bowl, and eleven different swung vases. Examples of Lilac tend to be difficult to find.

The first of our three vases is No. 1901, 15 ½” high. The same form is used for the second vase, with a pulled handle, and also with an indentation inside so that it could be used to hold a very tall taper candle. It was listed as No. 1902 and is 16” high. (Note that because these vases are swung, there can be a wide variation in their heights.)

The tallest of our Lilac vases is No. 0703 and stands 26 ½” high.

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