Our featured museum pieces this month are two, three-light candlesticks from Heisey’s Empire pattern. These candlesticks showcase a repeating series of parallel lines that create the candlestick’s symmetrical form. The shape of the central pillar is reminiscent of the architecture of the Empire State Building. In America, this building is one of the most enduring symbols of the Art Deco movement. Unique to these three-light candlesticks are the removable inserts that fit in the top of each central pillar. These decorative pieces can be removed from the candlestick, converting a two-light candlestick into a three-light candlestick. With the center plug inserted, each piece stands 9 inches tall and 7 3/4 inches wide. The oval base of each piece is accented with a series of crosshatched cuts. Heisey produced the Empire pattern from 1935 to 1937, and our research indicates that the only pieces made in this pattern were the three-light candlesticks. During the time these pieces were produced, a variety of etched designs were applied to the oval base of the pieces. The museum pieces we are featuring bear a laurel wreath pattern on each base. Literature indicates that the design of these pieces was originally inspired by sculpture that was popular during and after the reign of Napoleon
In 1842, A. H. Heisey and his parents immigrated to the United States from Germany. The Heisey family settled in Merrittown, Pennsylvania. As an adult, A. H. Heisey worked as a glass blower for the Cascade Glass Co. in Pittsburgh. He left his job at Cascade Glass to serve in the Army during the Civil War and was posted with the 155th Infantry Division of Pennsylvania. Soon after the end of the war, Heisey returned to Pennsylvania to resume work in the glass business. His primary duties changed somewhat when he was hired by the firm Ripley and Co. as a salesman. At Ripley and Co., Heisey met his future wife, Susan. Susan Duncan was the daughter of the controlling partner of the Ripley and Co. firm. Her father would later buy Ripley and Co. and rename it Duncan and Sons. Over the next few years, Heisey worked closely with Susan’s father, helping run the Duncan firm. Duncan and Sons joined the U.S. Glass Combine in 1893. US Glass was a group of glass producing factories located throughout the Ohio River Valley.
By this time, Heisey was made a member of the board of directors for the Duncan and Sons Co. and also served as the company’s managing director of sales. It is during this time that Heisey decided to open his own factory. In 1895, Heisey began building his own glass factory in Newark, OH. Heisey employed a number of exceptional artists who created a variety of great designs throughout the history of his company. While the Heisey Empire candlesticks we feature this month are extremely rare museum pieces and are not for sale, we do carry over 1,400 patterns by Heisey, all beautiful and all available for purchase. Click here to browse our extensive inventory of Heisey patterns. If you are interested in reading a history of the Heisey Glass Company, then click here. If the art deco design of Empire is something that impresses you and you are looking for other patterns similar in design, then consider Heisey’s Venus pattern.