Early in the year of 1887, full-page advertisements announcing W.L. Libbey’s “latest novelty, Agata Art Glass,” appeared in the Crockery and Glass Journal and other trade papers. The method of producing this novel type of glassware was patented January 18, 1887, by Joseph Locke.
According to Mr. Locke’s patent specification the article to be ornamented was first partially or wholly coated with a metallic stain or mineral color of the color desired, and thereafter the part of the glassware so stained was either spattered or had applied to it a volatile liquid, such as benzene, alcohol or naptha. The volatile liquid would evaporate leaving a mottled surface on the glassware which was fixed by placing the article in a muffle.
This technique for decorating glassware was mostly confined to the New England Glass Work’s Wild Rose Peach Blow. It is usually encountered in a glossy finish, the mat-surfaced pieces being rare. The mineral stains used on Agata were the same as those Locke employed to decorate his Pomona glassware.
Pattern-molded Agata, Agata facsimiles of the Morgan Peach Blow vase, and Agata lined with opal glass are rare examples of this ware.
The Cambridge works also produced an opaque green ware which they decorated with a narrow band of mottled blue metallic stain around the top or midsection of each article.
Agata had been in production less than a year when the New England Glass Works was closed down and the factory removed to the Midwest. It was not made again.