Dominecker Milk Glass “Hen on Nest”
Glassware collectors know about the more obscure Hens On Nests, usually known in the trade as HON. However, we poultry enthusiasts are slow to find out these things. In my research I’ve only been able to find a few forms used to produce the Dominecker HON.
Normally I don’t get too excited about “Dominecker” items because most are of modern creation and have nothing to do with Dominiques. This glassware is different in that it was produced at a time when the term Dominecker was used to denote all fowls of mixed origin – though usually their color was predominately black and white with some foreign colors mixed in the plumage. Sadly, the colors aren’t what a Dominique fancier would expect on this glassware.
No written history could be found explaining why brown and white was used instead of grey or black. Hopefully that mystery will be solved some day, until then we’ll just have to enjoy them for what they are – a novelty.
The Challinor Taylor Milk Glass Dominecker on a braided basket is the one most commonly available. Both a hen and a rooster Dominecker was produced by Challinor Taylor. The Domineckers were listed in the factory’s Farm Yard Assortment catalog of 1891. The Challinor factory burned in 1891 and was not rebuilt; therefore each of these pieces is now over 100 years old.
Fenton created a Dominecker HON based on the Challinor Taylor HON, including the paint colors and patterns. The easiest way to differentiate the two is that the Fenton HON has eyes molded into the glass chicken, whereas the Challinor Taylor HON has separate glass eyes that were glued into the HON. The photo below is larger so you can see the eye detail.
Westmoreland produced the Dominecker HON later, however we don’t believe it was actually listed as “Dominecker”, rather it is inferred due to its likeness to the Fenton Dominecker HON.
Less commonly available is the one produced by Atterbury. Some sources list this as predating the Challinor Taylor Dominecker while others contend it was produced later. I do not have enough knowledge of glassware to state a case one way or another, however the authentic Atterbury version is only rarely available which has driven its prices quite high on auction sites. Be warned however that there are quite a number of reproductions of this piece.
The third and final category is the reproductions that began appearing in the late 1990s. The color, paint, glazing and firing are not near the quality produced in the 1800s, though may be difficult for the novice to detect, so be careful when buying glassware.
One last thought, yes there are other “Dominecker” animal covered dishes, but I’m really only interested in the chickens. Once this pattern was used, it seems that most variegated milk glass became known as Dominecker.
If someone knowledgeable in Milk Glass glassware has more information on this topic or notices inaccuracies in the text, please notify me. I strive for accuracy on this web site.