"National" is a pattern attributed to Jeanette Glass Company (Weatherman, Book 2). A 1947 catalog describes it as "gift ware." A later catalog, printed by Nora Koch in Daze Past, describes it as "a distinctive set in exquisite clear fluted crystal glass."
The sales pitch is, as most promotion prose, somewhat overdone. Still, "National" is an attractive pattern, and the pieces are distinctive. The design is a simple one, ass the photographs reveal, of hobbed center circles with the straight lines of the fluted panels leading to sharply turned up edges. The handles of the various pieces are unique in their shape among Depression Glass patterns. They seem to derive from the much earlier pressed glass patterns which frequently used the same shape handles, but which were often textured to resemble tree bark or twigs of other plants. On the "National" pieces, however, they are smooth and repeat the lines of the flutes.
The "National" line was never a dinner or luncheon set. Rather it was serving and accessory pieces in scope. The pattern was made almost exclusively in clear; I've seen only two examples of it that were not. The 9" vase was molded in Shell Pink milk glass in l958-59 by Jeannerte with the unglamorous name of "Heavy Bottom Vase." The seven piece berry bowl set was done in a frosted finish. The small berries were not only frosted but were also flashed in very delicate pastels of blue, pink and yellow. Some of the pieces have a heavy gold band as trim on the edges or handles; see the tumbler on the left and the candy dish in the appropriate photo. Some few of the pieces were also finished in a Goofus glass style, a silver side showing and the underside a dull maroon. However, this was poorly done. I've not seen a single example that wasn't flaking and peeling quite badly. Other pieces had designs painted upon them. The milk pitcher and the round tray behind it, see photo, show traces of bunches of cherries and leaves. The quality of the work indicates that the painting was not done by an amateur, although I doubt it was done at the Jeanette factory.
All the pieces are quite heavy, yet they are not awkward. On a table under lights they are quite brilliant. The clearness of them however, is subject to much variation, a variation common to the clear glass of Jeanette. Some pieces are quite yellowish in shade while others show a distinct blue. The metal tops on the shakers are not original. Those shown by Weatherman appear to be. plastic, rather like the ones used on Floragold (Louisa).
The punch bowl is a six quart, l2" wide 5½" deep affair. The separate base upon which it sets is no more than the candy dish bottom, inverted. That discovery solved a mystery for me when I was building my set. I was aware of many candy dish bottoms without a cover, but I was ready to throw in the towel when it came to finding a base for the punch bowl. Incidentally, Jeanette seems to have "cut corners" on many of their patterns in this way; the Windsor Diamond punch bowl affair (see Florence; 3rd edition), the lids to the candy and sugar in Adam, and several other instances. The punch set was composed of fifteen pieces: bowl, stand, 15" tray and a dozen cups. The cups are quite awkward to hold. The handles have an opening too small for a finger to fit through, and the cup is too heavy to grasp it securely by the sides of the handle. Weatherman pictures a saucer for the cups, so evidently they doubled for punch and for tea. I've yet, however, to acquire a saucer.
There are a couple of patterns, I believe, of Heisey and Duncan & Miller which greatly resemble "National" and I've grabbed saucers of those patterns thinking they were "National". The Duncan & Miller pattern is their line No. 113, called "Festival" in their punch set. The bowl is quite like the "National", but the cups and tray are easily discerned to be something other than "National". And, of course, the quality of the glass is evident also.
The small serving tray measures 9½" handle to handle, as all pieces in this pattern seem to have been measured in the Jeanette catalogs. It came bearing the two shakers, the creamer and the uncovered sugar. However, I bought the painted tray and milk pitcher along with our juice tumblers as a set and since a couple of the tumblers bore traces of the same paint job, I assume there was a juice beverage set in the line.
Weatherman lists a smoking set that has a covered cigarette box, two large ash trays and four individual ash trays.
The relish tray measures 15" and is molded with six divisions, one of which is a round one in the center. In it sets a covered mustard jar.
There is also a large console bowl, perhaps 11" or 12" across. It is identical to the berry bowl in shape. And there are candlesticks - I think. They match the pattern, but I've nor found them in a catalog shown with the other pieces. They set up on three feet - sort of a tripod affair. They appear to me to be cumbersome and without grace.
The milk pitcher stands 5" tall and holds 18 ounces. The shape is identical to the same item in Jeanette's Holiday pattern. The juice tumblers are 3¾", 5 oz., while the water tumblers are 4¾", 9oz. The tumblers do not have the hobs on the bottoms as do most of the other pieces. The water pitcher holds 60 ounces and stands 7" in height.
However, the water pitcher is still being made. In a 1972 Anchor Hocking catalog, among the beverage-ware pieces, the pitcher is pictured. The name has been changed to Continental, but it is the old Jeanette "National" mold. No other item from the "National" line is listed, but should your local restaurant serve your water in such a pitcher (and I've seen them locally in such establishments) chances are that it is new.
In its simplicity, "National" is a pattern well suited for serving accessories. For a buffet or such, it adds much sparkle to the spread and the size of the pieces make it quite practical for that sort of thing. Best of all, "National" is still rather inexpensive to acquire.