Wells Art Glazes by Homer Laughlin
LaurelHollowPark.net, an informative website created and
maintained by Mark Gonzalez. Copyright © 2009-.
There can be some confusion regarding the Wells Art Glazes marking. It was subject to be used on any shape that received a solid colored glaze. This includes, but is not limited to , the plain round Wells shape, Old Roman, Orleans, OvenServe, Coronet, Empress teapots, and a few "pick up" and specialty pieces. These unrelated shapes have one thing in common: select pieces were dipped in solid colors first available in the early 1930s.

Art glazes are matte in texture and are usually uneven by design. The following table lists shapes and various colors that have been confirmed on those shapes. Click on the appropriate links for more on each shape.

Color Shape
Leaf Green Wells, OvenServe, Orleans
French Rose Wells, OvenServe, Orleans
(Melon) Yellow Wells, OvenServe, Coronet, Empress teapot
Burnt Sienna (a.k.a.Rust) Wells, OvenServe, Orleans
Sea Green Coronet
Depression Green Old Roman
Appletree green (sometimes called blue) Empress teapot
Red Wells

The first four colors listed are the standard Art Glazes. Wells is the dominate shape, but other shapes received the same glazes and often the same marking. Leaf green, rust, and rose, a.k.a. peach, have been found on OvenServe casseroles and under plates. Yellow was a standard OvenServe color so expect those pieces to have an OvenServe backstamp, not W.A.G. Orleans in rust, rose, and leaf green were sold as "Antique Orleans" and may be marked as such or simply "Antique."

The sea green color is a little more consistent than the leaf green commonly used on the Wells shape. Depression Green is not as transparent as the earlier green used on Newell and Trellis in the very late 1920s to early 30s. In fact, Depression Green is rather close to Fiesta's light green , but slightly darker. Coronet and Old Roman in art glazes may carry their own marks or W.A.G.

An HLC memo dated September 11, 1941 gives some indication as to when the art glazes were finally retired: As you know, we are discontinuing the art glazes in the four colors. It is suggested that you have the proper samples set aside for historical records.

Wells sauceboats in the four standard Wells Art Glazes: Burnt Sienna (rust), French Rose, Leaf Green, and Mellon Yellow.

Wells teapot in Leaf Green

Wells teapot in Burnt Sienna (rust)

Wells teapot in French Rose

Wells sugar in rust, creamer in green

Empress teapots in Melon Yellow and Appletree Green.

Wells syrups in green, rust, and rose

Wells egg cups in green, rust, and yellow

Left to right: Wells teacup and saucer in green, demitasse cup and saucer in vellum, coffee cup and saucer in rust

Wells demitasse set in green

Wells demitasse set in rust

Five sizes of Wells plates: 6 1/8", 7", 8", 9 1/8", and 10 7/8".

Fruit cups in green and rust

36s bowls in rust

Gravy faststand in rust

Covered muffin in green

Batter and syrup jugs in rose

Batter and syrup jugs in rust

Square plates in green and rose

Handled cake plate in rose, 11 3/4" overall

9 1/8" nappy in rust

9" baker in yellow

Butter pats picked up from Empress in rose

Shakers picked up from Tango in green and rose

Wells teapot in red

Lug soup picked up from Nautilus in rose with marking.

The "deco" tumbler was glazed in a golden color similar to OvenServe's orange (pumpkin) glaze.
The handed mug in leaf green was made in 1933. Entires in Rhead's journals mention this piece:

03.17.33 Modeled Beer Stein - grape border.
04.01.33 Barrel shape stein, modeled borders. Quantity three dozen only. Purpose: Beer mug possibility
04.15.33 Clay stein - fruit border out.
04.20.33 First modeled stein out in Art Glazes. Ordered bisque out today in Rust and Vellum.

The "deco ashtrays" were first made in 1931. They didn't originate with any particular dinnerware line and examples have been found with at least three different backstamps: Wells Art Glazes, OvenServe, and the general HLC marking.

When the first pieces of OvenServe were modeled in 1933, an ashtray was under consideration. Instead of creating one with the embossed OvenServe design, the "deco" ashtray from 1931 was used instead. Most of the ashtrays found with the OvenServe marking are in orange (pumpkin) or ivory.

The original center ring design mimicked the partial rings found on the rim; small with wide spacing between them. Within two years, these smaller center rings were replaced by the larger and more narrowly spaced type shown. In the foreground are ashtrays in WAG rose and rust.

Deco ashtrays in green and rust. The green example has the original center ring design.

The following ashtrays are from the collection of The Fiesta® Tableware Company.

Paneled ashtray in vellum, dated 1931

Daisy ashtray in vellum, dated 1931

Deco ashtray in experimental blue glaze

OvenServe casserole in rose and French casserole in rust

Assorted shapes with experimental art glazes. From the collection of The Fiesta® Tableware Company.

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