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ACGA Collection

Clark Palmetto Pattern One-Piece Punchbowl

by Rob Smith

 Figure 1 shows the largest bowl presently in the ACGA Collection. This recent addition is a 13 7/8" diameter by 7" tall one-piece punchbowl cut by Clark in the Palmetto pattern about 1896-1899. The unusually formed Palmetto pattern punchbowl weighs 19 pounds 7 oz., and has a "really full" capacity of about 18 pints.

Figure 1.  One-piece punchbowl cut circa 1895 by Clark in Palmetto pattern.


It's been a challenge to identify the supplier of the round bowl blank used to produce this piece: the slightly rolled rim and rapidly tapering side combine to form an unusual and visually impressive shape. Under black lighting this punchbowl  fluoresces the greenish-yellow color consistent with the manganese clarifier [MANG03] used to make American-origin blanks during the Brilliant Period. According to [WAY] Clark obtained many blanks from Dorflinger. However, we've not found evidence that Dorflinger produced a blank shaped like our punchbowl.  There's a possibility that this is a larger version of the No. 614 bowl cut in 7", 8", 9" and 10" sizes by Maple City (see [MAPCLK] 1904 page 7 or 1909 page 4).  This possibility is supported by the discovery that Clark cut this same punchbowl in Mercedes pattern in 1901, see the Clark 1901 catalog reprinted in [MAPCLK], page 9.  This suggests a probable blank source: Fry made a seemingly identical bowl blank No. 4028, see [FRY04] page 9.  According to [FRYBLK] page 2, Fry supplied these blanks in at least 7", 8", 9" and 10" diameters. It seems likely that Maple City  and Clark  cut the Fry 4028 blanks, and our Clark punchbowl was cut onto a 14” example of the Fry 4028 blank.

Decorative cutting on the unsigned Palmetto punchbowl includes a chain of 24 diamonds below the scalloped rim, each containing a flat star.  The bottom "V" of each diamond is formed by beading, and each diamond upper point coincides with the peak of a toothed rim scallop. Below the chain of diamonds, our bowl is cut in a series of twelve identical panels delimited by tall slender flutes.  Each panel contains alternating vertical lines of coarse beading, fine beading and prisms.  These  are cut so that they appear to maintain their widths and separations despite  the curvature and taper of the bowl side.   

As shown in Figure 2, the flat bottom of the Palmetto punchbowl is 7 ¾" in diameter, and is cut in a 6 ¾" diameter 48-point hobstar having a 1 3/8" diameter flat starred button.  This bottom cutting is one of the largest examples of a 48-point hobstar that has been documented.

Figure 2.  Large 48-point hobstar on the bottom of the Palmetto punchbowl.


According to an article on [JC] page 69, Palmetto was a new pattern introduced by Clark for the 1895-96 season, and it was "... cut only upon a few jugs, bowls and vases...[It] is an odd, attractive pattern, consisting principally of long parallel prisms cut vertically."

 From surviving pieces and Clark documentation, there were three Palmetto pattern variants: a) Palmetto having chains of stars in diamonds, b) Palmetto with split diamonds and stars alternating in the chains, and c) Palmetto with chains of stars in beaded diamonds.  The present punchbowl is an example of the third variant.

 Clark made at least two of these punchbowls: there is another example in an ACGA member collection.  This piece may be the largest item that Clark cut in Palmetto pattern. The 1896 Clark catalog reprint [MAPCLK] page 6 shows a 9" Palmetto pattern bowl with split diamonds between stars in the border. Three Flemish jugs of unspecified sizes are shown on page 10, without split diamonds in the borders. Quart and 3-pint Flemish jugs, plus a ½ gallon jug appear on page 12.  Small and large sized cylinder vases are offered in Palmetto on page 25, without split diamonds in the borders.  The Palmetto trumpet vase is offered in 7" to 18" sizes on page 26, with no split diamonds but beading in the diamond chain surround.

 In the [MAPCLK] Clark 1905 catalog, Palmetto pattern only appears twice, suggesting that it had possibly declined in popularity nine years after introduction.  Page 18 shows a salt or pepper in Palmetto.  A nappy in Palmetto is offered on page 29.

 Various editions of the Hobstar present three Clark Palmetto pattern pieces.  The catalog illustration for a 9"bowl is pictured on [HOB] page CNP 140 with very interesting comparisons of relative cutting effort and value with respect to other patterns.  A surviving 9 ¾" diameter bowl with a 32-point hobstar center was shown for sale on [HOB] page CNP 3160.  A Palmetto carafe with a 36-point hobstar on the bottom was pictured for sale at [HOB] page CNP 3375.

 A Palmetto pattern Flemish jug catalog illustration is on [PE1] page 72, and the catalog illustration of the  9" bowl is reproduced on [PE3] page 79.

 Page 133 Figure 477 of [BOGID] shows an example of a jug cut in Palmetto, while Figure 498 shows an oval bowl in a Palmetto pattern variant.  Boggess’ discuss on pages 133-34 alterations or variations to the chain of stars used as a border in the Palmetto pattern.

 Pairpoint cut a pinwheel pattern called Palmetto, as shown by Figure S676 on page 175 of [BOGCOL].  There is a dissimilar pattern called by the author "Palmette" cut on a round bowl pictured on page 164 of [SWAN].

 Acknowledgments. This bowl is presently the only punchbowl and the singular example of Clark Palmetto in the ACGA Collection.  It was contributed in 2005 by the Heartland Chapter, after being acquired from the Ed Scheibel collection as Lot #7 at a Woody Auction, see [HOB] page CNP 4479.

 Craig Carlson provided the [JC] reference.  Ken Howe and Cindy Chandler edited and improved an earlier draft of this article. Cindy Chandler found a surviving Mercedes 4028 punchbowl for sale on the Biden website, which led to the catalog reference.  Contact Walter Poeth (530-873-6608) or Leon Torline (620-227-8154) for information about adding cut glass to the ACGA Collection.  If you can provide additional information about our Clark Palmetto punchbowl or would like to help catalog items in the ACGA collection, please contact Ken Howe at (859) 331 - 8954 or kenhowe@fuse.net.


References:       [BOGCOL] Collecting American Brilliant Cut Glass, Bill and Louise

Boggess, 1992.

[FRY04]  Cut Glass Catalogs of the H.C. Fry Glass Company, Fry Glass Society, 2003 , 3rd catalog fragment, as indexed in the LABAC Cycle #6 “FBMC” book

[FRYBLK] Catalog of Blanks, H.C. Fry Glass Co, ACGA Reprint, 1997.

[HOB] American Cut Glass Association Hobstar.

[JC]  Jewelers’ Circular, Nov. 20, 1895.

[PE1] Encyclopedia of American Cut and Engraved Glass (1880-1917) Volume I: Geometric Conceptions, J. Michael Pearson, 1975.

[PE3] Encyclopedia of American Cut and Engraved Glass (1880-1917) Volume III: Geometric Motifs, J. Michael Pearson, 1975.

[MANG03] “American Brilliant Cut Glass Before the Cutting Begins,” Mike Manginella, ACGA 2003 National Convention Presentation, Dallas, Tx.

[MAPCLK] Maple City Glass Company and TB Clark & Co. Cut Glass Catalog Reprints, eight catalogs, ACGA in cooperation with the Rakow Research Library, 1993.

[SWAN] American Cut and Engraved Glass of the Brilliant Period, M.L. Swan, 1986.

[WAY] The Glass Industry in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, 1807-Present, W. Barbe and K. Reed, 2003, pp 181-188.




Contact Walter Poeth (530-873-6608) or Leon Torline (620-227-8154) for information about adding cut glass to the ACGA Collection.  If you can provide additional information about this piece, or would like to help catalog pieces in the ACGA Collection, contact Ken Howe, (859-331-8954), kenhowe@fuse.net.


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