Recently collecting of pattern glass has enjoyed a resurgence since first gaining popularity in the 920-30s. During that time, popularly collected patterns included Bellflower, Horn of Plenty, Three Face, Lion, And Westward Ho (Lee, p. 16). However, the current resurgence has embraced many lesser-known patterns, including Viking.
I. Pattern Name
Originally manufactured under the name Hobb's Centennial (Jenks & Luna, p.542); this pattern was Hobbs Brockunier and Company's contribution to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 (Kamm, p. 64). However, this pattern is almost universally known as Viking. Other names not as well known include Bearded Man, Bearded Head, Bearded Prophet, and the Old Man of the Mountains. Despite these aliases, Viking should not be confused with the Queen Anne pattern, which is also known as Bearded Man (Lee, p. 91). Interestingly, Minnie Watson Kamm suggested that a more appropriate name would be Roman Warrior. Kamm suggests this name based on a quote from a weekly journal for 1875; "the head is intended to represent that of a Roman Warrior" (Kamm, p.64).
Hobbs, Brockunier and Company is the only known manufacturer of the Viking pattern. Kamm seems to be the first to identify Hobbs, Brockunier and Company as the manufacturer (Kamm, p. 64). This fact was unknown to Ruth Webb Lee (Lee, p. 90). Kamm mentions two sources for her attribution. First, a note from a weekly journal for 1875 is quoted by Kamm: "Hobbs Brockunier and Co. are engaged in cutting the molds for the new pattern, most pieces carrying three human heads on the base and sometimes one or more on the body. The head is intended to represent that of a Roman Warrior" (Kamm, p. 64).
Second, Kamm identifies a 1951 conversation she had with Howard Hipkins, son of glass mold maker Stephen Hipkins. Howard Hipkins, an octogenarian in 1951, told Kamm that he "well remembers his father chipping these intricate faces, including the small ones under the spouts and at the top of the handles" (Kamm, p. 64). At this time, Stephen Hipkins was employed by Hobbs Brockunier and Company at South Wheeling, West Virginia. Hipkins had previously worked for Belmont Glass Works as a mold maker. Subsequently, in 1882, Stephen Hipkins resigned and went to Martins Ferry to take charge of the mold shop for the Buckeye Glass Company. By 1884, he opened his own business, the Hipkins Novelty Mold shop (Kamm, p. 96-97).
III. Dates of Production
On November 21, 1876, J. H. Hobbs received a design patent (No. 9,647) for the ornamentation of glassware in the pattern that subsequently became known as Viking. The patent was taken out for fourteen years (Jenks & Luna, p. 542). It may reasonably be inferred that production occurred during the patent period (1876-1890). It may be further assumed that production commenced somewhat earlier in 1876 in order to have been exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Production must have continued for a substantial period between 1876 and 1890 based upon the number of items that have survived and the fact that existing pieces of the same form came from different molds.
A known exception to the 1876-1890 range for production is the shaving mug in milk glass, which bears the patent date of July 16, 1867, on the bottom. Further, it is unknown whether Hobbs manufactured the shaving mug. Based upon this exception, along with the fact that this pattern had appeared in silver plate tea service pieces prior to 1876, Hobbs' patent for design appears to be merely for a glass adaptation of a prior silver plate motif.
IV. Nature of the Glass
Almost all production of glass in the Viking pattern is in clear, non-flint. The only exception to this is those extreme rarities produced in milk glass. One of the exceptions already noted in the shaving mug. This mug, while unmistakably bearing the identical Viking head design, does not seem to be original to the table service forms. The other exceptions, which were produced in milk glass, are limited to four forms: covered butter dish, covered sugar bowl, creamer, and bread plate. These must have been produced for a brief period of time, almost as if prototypes for all subsequent production in clear. That the milk glass production antedates production in clear there is little doubt. The covered butter dish, covered sugar bowl, and creamer forms in milk glass are all of the four-footed variety.
Subsequent production in clear includes both four-footed and three-footed varieties in the covered butter dish, covered sugar bowl, and creamer forms. Production in milk glass appears to have been in molds different from the molds in which clear forms were produced. For example, the bread plate in milk glass bears the words in raised letters on the top of the bread plate: "Give us this day our daily bread." This form in the clear pieces bear the identical wording; however, instead of raised letters on the top of the bread plate, these letters are raise on the bottom of the plate and can be viewed from the top through the clear glass.
While the majority of forms in the Viking pattern produced in clear did not receive any special treatment, clear pieces are known with a variety of etching and engraving treatments. Pieces with such treatments are significantly less common than all clear pieces. Known engraved motifs include grape bunches and fern leaf designs. Some examples with wheel-engraved monograms are known.
Separate from those pieces with wheel engraving are those pieces that have been partially acid etched or frosted. Three separate applications are known among the frosted and clear pieces. The first of these has the feet and collared base of the piece frosted while the balance of the piece remains clear. These pieces when covered have a frosted finial. The second application in frosted and clear 2 pieces known to exist has the feet separately frosted. This frosted area extends up from the face on each individual foot to the flourish above the foot. Finally, the third and perhaps most strikingly beautiful of the clear and frosted pieces includes wheel engraving as well. Pieces with this frosted application are actually frosted all over with three oval medallion areas that remain clear. Inside each medallion is a bouquet of wheel-engraved flowers.
The above descriptions of clear glass, milk glass, and clear glass with applied frosting and/or engraving are based upon the author's own knowledge and experience. Multiple examples of each are represented in the author's collection. Few of the many reference books on pattern glass provide any mention of milk glass or frosted pieces in the Viking pattern.
V. Known Forms
Below is a list of forms that are known to exist in the Viking patter. Examples of each numbered form appear in the author's collection with the following exceptions: Nos. 8, 18, 22, 40, 43.
Bottle (extremely rare)
Bowl, oval, covered, footed
5" x 7"
6" x 8"
7" x 9"
Butter dish, covered four-footed
milk glass (extremely rare)
clear glass with glass ice tray insert 6
Cake stand, HS
smaller than 10" d
Cake stand, LS *
HS 7" d
LS 6" d
Creamer four-footed milk glass (extremely rare)
Egg with cover, sometimes referred to as mustard
Mug, applied handle *+!
Mug, applied handle, adapted to individual creamer
Jar, Apothecary, covered, ground glass stopper
Modified marmalade, open, top curved to 2" d opening
Pickle dish, footed oval
Pitcher, water, gallon,
face under spout *+
no face under spout
Plate, bread, Motto-
"Give us this day our daily bread."
milk glass with motto
"Give us this day our daily bread." (extremely rare)
Salt, master +
Sugar bowl, covered, four-footed,
milk glass (extremely rare)
unscalloped top (rare)
scalloped top (rare)
* also known in frosted collared base, feet and finials (if
+ also known in frosted all over with clear oval opening containing wheel engraved flowers
! also known with frosted feet and flourish above feet
1. Jenks, Bill and Jerry Luna. Early American Pattern Glass 1850-1910, Radnor, Pennsylvania: Wallace-Homestead book Company, pp. 542-543.
2. Kamm, Minnie Watson. Two Hundred Pattern Glass Pitchers. Fourth Edition. Detroit, Michigan: Motschall Company, 1946. pp. 82-83.
3. Kamm, Minnie Watson. A Seventh Pitcher Book. First Edition. 1953. pp. 64, 96-97.
4. Lee, Ruth Webb. Victorian G2ass: Specialties of the Nineteenth Century. Twelfth Edition. New York: The Ferris Printing Company. 1944. pp. 90-91.
5. Metz, Alice Hulett. Early American Pattern Class. Columbus, Ohio; Spencer-Walker Press, 1958. pp. 6-7.
6. Murdock, John B. and Walter L. Adams. Pattern Glass Mugs. Marietta, Ohio: The Glass Press, 1995. PPo 8-9.
7. Stuart, Anna Maude. Bread Plates and Platters. (Publisher information not available), 1965, p. 75.
Brett W. Berry, graduate of Washburn University of Topeka Kansas, (BA, 1988) and Washburn University School of Law (JD, 1991) is an assistant district attorney in Topeka, Kansas. Brett and wife LeAnn began collecting pattern glass in 1993. His Viking pattern collection, which began in 1995, contains 90 pieces.
New Pieces in Profiled Pattern
Viking: The Low Standard Cakestand
Larry Dosier has discovered a major form in the EAPGS-profiled
patternViking (Berry,New's Journal,Vol.7,No. 2,Summer, 2000).
Though clearly what is appropriately called a salver, or server,
he has adopted
the term under which it was found described and with which most
of us are familiar. The low standard cakestand is large and heavy,
and might be referred to as footed rather the low standard, were
it not for the fact that many pieces in Viking appear footed
with four individual feet. It is also larger and unlike the two
described high standard cakestands.
This piece is actually lacking a standard and appears to have the four-footed circular base fused directly to the underside of an oversized circular tray to form a very stable serving platform (it is molded as one piece). All pieces of Viking share a similar footed base, whether in the entire base unit of the sugar bowl, or in the band found on the bottom of the oval bowls There is a l/2-3/4" wide semi-circular trough on the top-side of the serving platform opposite where the base attaches to the lower side. The amount of shoulder slope included in the trough proper. The platform is 11 3/4" maximum diameter. The footed base has a I 1/4" maximum diameter at the base, tapering to 3" in diameter at the top. The heads extend the basal diameter another inch in each direction and it would appear to span 6" were the heads directly opposite one another. Counting the 1/2" added by the feet, the base holds the serving platform only 1 3/4" from the surface of the table.
Those on the EAPG discussion list were party to Larry's use of the online profile maintained on our web site to verify that this was an important piece and should be acquired for the record. He points out that it is no longer necessary to come home and look it up. In many cases Internet connections are maintained in antique malls, and even at shows, and as Roberta Young pointed out, also at community libraries which are very widely available.
We believe this choice piece has held its share of cheesecakes.
Cake stand, LS 113/4"d, 13/4"h.