Samuel Hawkes’s Legacy of Errors



Mr. Samuel Hawkes, of Corning, New York, gave me suggestions, help, and guidance during all the years this book has been growing. Mr. Hawkes is directly responsible for the identification of many of the more important patterns (emphasis added by JMH).

From Cut and Engraved Glass by Dorothy Daniel (1950, p. 18)

It is quite remarkable that, of the first half dozen patents that were taken out by T. G. Hawkes or assigned to him, four of the five that are discussed by Dorothy Daniel in her book CUT AND ENGRAVED GLASS, are incorrectly identified, a fact that has led to considerable confusion during the past 50+ years. Given the quote above, it is all but certain that these errors originated with Samuel Hawkes (1877-1959) whom Daniel consulted and who was president of the company at that time. Daniel has been unfairly criticized over the years for many errors because, as a pioneer in the subject of American cut glass, she made so many. In the examples that are discussed in this file, she is not to be blamed; she was merely the messenger. The errors should be assigned to Samuel Hawkes. They are discussed chronologically here, in the order in which they were discovered:

Princess pattern (pat. no. 18,301; 1888). Bill Evans discovered this error in 1994. Daniel undoubtedly had been provided by Hawkes with the name Devonshire for this pattern instead of its correct name, Princess. Evans’s excellent detective work has set the matter right. It can be read in his article “Desperately seeking ‘Devonshire'”, published in The Hobstar, Vol. 16, No. 9, pp. 1, 6-8 (Jun 1994).

“MacDonald” pattern (pat. no. 12,982; 1882). Bill Evans also played a crucial role in the discovery that this patent is not a patent for the Russian pattern as stated by Daniel and quoted by innumerable others for several decades. In fact, the Russian pattern was never patented — by anyone. Early in 1997 Evans provided the writer with a copy of the patent’s illustration. At this time a copy was not readily available from the U. S. Patent Office. Evans’s photocopy revealed that the pattern that had been known as the Russian pattern was actually an entirely different pattern to which the writer has given the name “MacDonald”, pending discovery of its catalog name. In 1998 the writer obtained a copy of the complete patent that is at the Rakow Research Library (Brothers archive). This copy includes the patent’s illustration-page on which MacDonald is misspelled “McDonald”. At some time in the recent past the USPTO removed this page from its Web site, substituting the original illustration but without the names of the witnesses to the illustration, the attorney, and “Philip McDonald” himself. The Patent Office currently lists Philip MacDonald, and only Philip MacDonald, as patentee of the “MacDonald” pattern.

Further, writing in her 1996 book, Spillman (p. 246) indicates that

[Dorothy Daniel and myself] have reported that the 1885 order was the Russian service. [That is, that this order, the first White House order filled by Hawkes Rich Cut Glass, was cut in the Russian pattern.] Daniel received the information from Samuel Hawkes, son of Thomas Hawkes and most subsequent authors have taken her account at face value. Hawkes Cut Glass, the advertising booklet published by the company for customers around 1898-1900, even gives the date of the first presidential order [that was filled by Hawkes] as “the spring of 1886” when the National Archives papers show that the order was a year earlier. It’s not then surprising that the evidence of the set itself proves that Samuel Hawkes’s memory was wrong. Hawkes supplied glass for the White House a number of times, but in 1885, the glass was not in the Russian pattern which was not to be used for a state service for six more years [Emphasis supplied by JMH].

Grecian & Hobnail pattern (pat. no. 18,267; 1888). A photographic folio assembled and published by the American Cut Glass Association in 2003 provides the catalog name for this pattern which was previously known as “Old-Fashioned Hobnail”, a name given to it by Daniel, coined either by herself alone or, more likely, in consultation with Samuel Hawkes.

“Russian & Notched Pillars” pattern (pat. no. 17,838; 1887). Although this pattern was produced commercially by Hawkes, it is rarely seen, and its catalog name has not yet been found. A variation of it, however, was given the name Russian & Notched Pillars when a large, two part punch bowl bearing it was exhibited in Paris in 1889. It is reasonable to use the name of the pattern on the punch bowl as the name of the patented pattern until the official name is discovered, as long as quotation marks are used. The name Daniel uses, Russian and Pillars, is incorrect because this is the name of a different (although similar) pattern that is found in a set of nineteenth century salesmen’s cards at the Rakow Research Library. The Russian and Pillars pattern is illustrated in Spillman (1996, fig. 8-9, but not fig. 2-14 which is probably the Russian and Sharp Pillars pattern), and it can also be found in Sinclaire and Spillman (1997, figs. 137 and 198). Russian and Pillars differs from pat. no. 17,838 because it does not contain notching. Samuel Hawkes undoubtedly was aware of the photographs of the Russian & Pillars pattern that we have today, but he probably simply overlooked the lack of notching when he passed the name along to Daniel.

Of the two remaining Hawkes patents of the first six, Daniel correctly provides the pattern-name for pat. no. 17,837, Grecian. The last pattern, Empress, was not discussed by Daniel and, therefore, it is likely that Sam Hawkes provided no information about it. Several examples of Empress were sent to Paris in 1889, but the pattern is seldom seen today and no catalog illustration of it has yet been found. The patent’s pattern was given the name “Star Rosette” by Revi in 1965 (p. 180). The writer, however, believes that the true name of this patent is Empress; he discusses this in the hawkes7.htm file in Part 2.

This file is not intended as a criticism of Samuel Hawkes. As a member of the office staff, and president of the company after the death of T. G. Hawkes in 1913, he was somewhat removed from the company’s cutting shop and its products, although he did design some of the company’s patterns, two of which — both realistic gravic-glass patterns — were patented in 1909 (nos. 40,324 and 40,325).

The evidence at hand suggests that Samuel Hawkes had only a rudimentary knowledge of American cut glass’s basic motifs and patterns and little or no practical experience in cutting and engraving. This is not surprising in that patterns such as those discussed here had little relevance during the years when he headed the company and when he generously assisted Dorothy Daniel with her book. While one wishes it were otherwise, we now at least know the reasons why the above group of patented patterns contains so many errors.