The Whimsey Club


By Dale Murschell

Many times, during the 1970's, I would attend an Al Force auction and hear him announce an item that was to be sold as being End-of-Day. Invariably, the item would have several colors mixed in the glass or would have feet or crimps or something attached of various colored glass. In any event, there was always glass of several colors involved. Al would hint that the item may have been whimsical.

Glass House Whimsies are often referred to as "End-of-Day" items. This terminology implies that the items have various colors because they were made with the scraps of glass left over at the end of the work day. It also implies that the item was made after the regular work day production was complete. Although this may be partly true, the glass used for making Whimsies was generally not an inferior glass and many items may have been made on the lunch hour.

Any marbleized glass with several colors may also be referred to as End-of-Day glass. Of course, this type of glass may also be called mosaic, slag, calico, agate, and even spatter glass. From the March 1948 Bulletin of the National Early American Glass Club, Mrs. Jean Boyd Fritz stated "End-of-Day is a fanciful term given in support of the story that at the end of the working day the odds and ends of metal left in the pots, all types, all colors, were gathered up, put together, remelted, stirred well, the items shapped, and somehow--miraculously--out of this hodge-podge, appeared as beautiful pieces of finely marked purple and white marble glass--just like that!" Mrs. Fritz went on to say "It was an absurd story. End-of-the-Day has been a term without meaning, and for any basis of fact in it might as well have been called Fib and Fable." This was the feeling of End-of-Day about fifty years ago.

In the world of Glasshouse Whimsies, we have tried to steer away from the terminology End-of-Day. But it is true, that the terminology End-of-Day is connected to Glasshouse whimsies by many auctioneers and antique dealers. It has been 50 years since some efforts have been made to eradicate the term End-of-Day and it still survives today. I guess it just goes with the territory.

Some of the other terms associated with End-of-Day, slag, mosaic, and agate are all connected to a marbleized type of glass. Many items like ash trays, vases, mugs, bowls, candle holders, compotes, plates, and goblets were made in marble glass by Atterbury and by Chalinor, Taylor & Co. in the 1880's. These items are generally referred to as slag, mosaic, or marble glass. They were usually white in combination with one other color like red, yellow, medium blue, or soft green. Because of the randomness of the color combination, they seemed to beg for the term End-of-Day. These items, however, were many times the sole production of the glass factory.

About 1911, the Akro Agate Co. started production in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Their production was a small solid agate glass ball called a marble. Here is one of those gems of our English language. According to Elville in THE COLLECTOR'S DICTIONARY OF GLASS, the glass marble originated from the margaritia, the Venetian craftsmen who made glass beads. Elville indicates that the making of marbles and glass beads commercially dates from the 16th century. According to THE ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA the term marble, as applied to any limestone that can be polished, came from the Latin marmor (shining stone). Somehow, there are two objects in our language that answer to marble. Anyhow, Akro Agate Co. made only marbles for twenty years. There were single color marbles, but most of the marbles had at least two swirling colors, hence agate. These marbles have great colors but they are not End-of-Day.

In the 1930's, Akro Agate Co. started a general line of agate ware which included vases, a smoker's set, ash trays for all occasions, flower pots, and candle holders. These items all have the marbleized look with a color swirling through white. I think I do remember some of these items being referred to as End-of-Day at various auctions. When I heard this term End-of-Day twenty five years ago, I assumed that the item was made exactly as Mrs. Fritz fantasized. Akro Agate Co. ceased production in 1949 according to Roger and Claudia Hardy in their book THE COMPLETE LINE OF THE AKRO AGATE CO.

As for spatter glass, it is often referred to as End-of-Day. It is accomplished by dipping a gather of clear or white glass in small chips of colored glass and then smoothing everything on a marver before forming the object. It is a very deliberate effort made by the New England Glass Co. and by Boston and Sandwich Glass Co. in addition to others. Spatter glass is sometimes referred to as Spangled glass and even Vase Murrhina. Although Spatter glass has several colors, it was not End-of-Day. Spatter glass was also made by Hobbs, Brockunier & Co. The Kemble Glass Co. actually used the term End-of-Day for their offering of marble glass.

I didn't talk much on the items classified as End-of-Day that are free blown with added color as feet or crimps or other filigree ornamentation that makes them look a little hideous. My experience has been that many of these type of items can be found in the catalogs of Czechoslovakian (Bohemian) glass. Expecially if there is orange, pink, or cobalt blue involved. Another source of glass with odd color combinations is Murano and Venice. These again are actually not End-of-Day because they are the actual production. I had the privilege to visit Venice and Murano several years ago. As you might expect, there was glass everywhere. But generally, their bright colors would jump out at you, making it somewhat easy to identify their glass. I remember in the mid eighty's, of seeing these very colorful clowns and suspecting that they might have been from Murano. While they were shown to me as End-of-Day or whimsical, I was able to confirm that they were actually from Murano.

As Mrs. Fritz so eloquently suggested, it might be good for all of us collectors to loose the term End-of-Day.


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