Above Left to Right, Tails of:
Left: Fenton #5183, 8 inch Hen on smooth rim Nest, YOP: 1953-58; Center: Fenton #5182, 8" Hen on scallop rim Vallerysthal style
Nest, YOP: 1967-present; Far Right: Fenton #5186, 5" Hen on the arched Nest, YOP: 1967-present
|The Forms of Fenton's Art Glass Covered Hen on Nest Dishes
The colors of Fenton's Chick On Nest dishes
manufactured during the 1950s, and again later in
the early 2000s, often coincided with the color of
that year's Chicken Server and/or #5183 Hen on
Nest. Although infrequently produced, Fenton's
Chick On Nest has been produced as recently as
1999 in Dusty Rose, and was special ordered by
Martha Stewart's Martha by Mail to match the Hen
Egg Plates she'd also special ordered in Mint
Green and Shell Pink.
Over 250 forms of glass hen on nest dishes, produced by more than 100
companies are known to exist. Each has the potential of being incorrectly listed as
Fenton online on Secondary Market Venues, and of course eBay. Learning to
recognize Fenton's hen on nest forms, from online photos, based on knowledge of
their distinguishing characteristics and features can be a key factor for identifying
which hens are Fenton, and which are not.
|Introduction-Characteristics and Features of Fenton's hen on nest forms|
|Developing and Using Skilled Observation to Recognize Fenton's hen on nest |
|forms from online photos|
|Using your knowledge, online photos and often incorrect or "loosely" worded |
|descriptions to recognize which hen on nest dishes listed online are those of |
Fenton's, and which are not.
|Features to Observe, Study and Use to help Conclusively Identify a Hen as |
|Learn to Recognize Fenton Hen on Nest moulds/forms or immediately disqualify |
|a hen on nest as not being Fenton, by studying the hen top or base.|
|Ways to develop Skills of Observation|
|Visible distinguishing characteristics and features of Fenton's Hen on Nest |
|Fenton's 8" Hen Top-The eyes have it.|
|The Gibson Overseas Copy of Fenton 8" hen on nest # 5182|
|Marriages not made in Heaven-or by Fenton!|
|Common Hen on Nest brand names & forms frequently listed as Fenton when |
|they are not.|
|Observing the differences between Fenton brand hen on nest dishes and those |
|of other makers.|
|A photo essay of hen on nest forms for you to practice your skills of observation |
Get comfortable, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy.
Over 100 companies are believed to have manufactured the more than 250
forms (shapes & sizes) of covered glass hen on nest dishes that are known to
exist-thanks in great part to the seemingly tireless, comprehensive research of
Mrs. Shirley Smith, a world renowned glass hen on nest expert, keynote
speaker, and published author on this overall very broad topic. With so many
covered glass hen on nest dishes, in so many forms, known to exist a
significant number of them can almost always be found in the ever expanding
online Secondary Marketplace, including eBay.
|A simple answer-Online listing errors for glass hen on nest dishes are fairly common.
Knowledge is the best way to fight ignorance.
Although the Internet provides a broad marketplace from which collectors can
enjoy their pursuit of Fenton hen on nest collecting, caution and common sense
must be used when trading online with Sellers, many for the most part who are
strangers. Many hen tops in the 7 to 8 inch and 5 inch ranges are somewhat
similar to Fenton's and often mistakenly listed online and on eBay for sale as
"Fenton." On eBay, per their Selling Rules, it is the Seller's obligation to
authenticate any item listed by a brand name-such as Fenton. But, don't count
Both sizes of Fenton's hen tops and the nest/base forms used with them have
identifying characteristics and features. Enthusiasts can benefit from
observing, studying and learning to recognize the features of Fenton's hen on
nest dishes and in doing so can learn to identify a hen on nest as Fenton, or
not, from online photos.
We believe that before delving into studying the smaller, fine mould details of
Fenton's hen on nest dishes, its important to learn to observe the larger details
and via this observation and study and learn to recognize the overall shape of
Fenton's various hen on nest dishes, from their silhouette. Once familiar
with the forms of Fenton's various hen on nest dishes, it should subsequently
become easier to find and study the finer, less obvious features of Fenton's hen
on nest dishes, which we've addressed below.
FEATURES TO OBSERVE, STUDY AND LEARN TO RECOGNIZE
We believe it is advantageous for Fenton Hen on Nest collectors to spend some time learning to recognize the
features and characteristics attributed to the hen on nest forms produced by Fenton. However, we also believe it
is important to know which attributes seen on hen on nest dishes listed online for sale are those that would not
be found on a Fenton hen on nest. This "Reverse Engineering" approach to determining which hens listed are
authentic brand name Fenton, by identifying those that are not, is effective and time saving. Although it may not
help you find the Fenton hen of your dreams, it may prevent the purchase nightmares are made of. Determining
which hen on nest forms are not Fenton can take collectors closer to finding brand name Fenton and avoiding a
While looking at photos of hen on nest dishes include the specific study of:
|The overall shape and size* or "mould" of the Hen on Nest with the top on the base.|
|Once details of the complete 2 piece hen on nest have been studied, other features to that requiring a |
|good look are:|
|the shape and details of the tail-is it a split tail? Is it smoothly curved on its front and rear edges, or |
|does it have a scalloped look to the edge(s)?|
|note the angle the tail departs the back-does the tail rise steeply, or flatter and closer to the back?|
|check the number and placement of eggs around the hen, or the lack of any eggs on the hen top|
|Note the degree of the turn to the head, & the shape and proportionate size of beak, wattle, and comb|
|Study the types of faces and their details, including that of the hen's eyes|
|The details, style and design of the hen top's rim more-some are plain, other have decorative designs |
|around the rim, etc.|
|The nest or base can also provide many clues as to whether a hen on nest is Fenton, or not.|
|The 5" Fenton hen on nest, ware #5186 sits on a unique base with 10 arches forming the sides, which |
|rise to form broad petals along the upper rim|
|Fenton's 8" hen tops #5199 sit on basket woven nests.|
|Fenton used a smooth rimmed, Challinor style nest with Fenton's 8" Hen top #5199 in the 1950s, |
|until the base was retired in 1958, or late in 1957 as some claim.|
|The second style of nest also used with Fenton's large 8" hen is their scallop rimmed, basketwoven base, |
|which is still in production today. The 20 scallops along the upper rim of this nest are formed by the upper |
bytes of the double strands that cross over and under each other.
In most cases the forms of the bases, or nests differ from brand to brand. Nests that are basketwoven, ribbed, or with
the criss-cross adorned sides of the former Westmoreland hen on nest mould, now Mossers are three of the more
commonly seen types of bases used with hens in the 5 to 7 inch range.
Just as features and details can help identify a hen top's brand, the same is true of the bases, or nests used with
glass covered hen on nest dishes. Again, its all in the details. Learning to recognize these details can help a
collector go a long way towards achieving your collecting goals.
|What better way to learn and
develop skills of observation
than by studying the very items
you've become passionate
about? Study the hens and
roosters in your collection, from
as many photos and angles as
you can find!
|Fenton Hen on (smooth rim) Nest, #5183
|Fenton Hen on (scallop rim) Nest, #5182
YOP: 1967-not retired as of 1/09
Shown #5182 MD, YOP, 1971-72
|Fenton Hen Egg Plate, #5188
Shown #5188 YZ, LE to 950 pieces.
YOP: 1995- (not retired as of 1/09)
|Fenton 5" Hen on Nest, #5186
YOP: 1967-not retired as of 1/08
Shown: #5186 RX, Ruby Marble (slag)
Identifying characteristics can be found on both moulds
(sizes and shapes) of hen tops produced by Fenton, and on
the various Fenton bases used with these tops.
Fenton's 8" hen top #5199, introduced with their Chicken Server in 1952,
and used with two other different bases in subsequent years, is probably
best renowned for having the big round eyes Fenton used to replace the
glass eyes of the Atterbury hen top Fenton copied their first hen top from.
At least one other hen top, excluding the Gibson Overseas Copy of Fenton
hen on nest #5182, is known to have bulging eyes, however the
remainder of the hen lacks many other features of Fenton's hen on nest
dishes-most notably the tail and base which are very different from
Fenton's 5" hen on nest #5186, is similar in style to other hen on nest
forms in the 5" to 7" size range. Fenton's very detailed 5" hen top sits on
a distinctive base, which appears unique when compared to those of the
other hen on nests. This base has sides made from 10 arches that rise to
the upper rim, where they broaden slightly to form the lovely petals of the
#5186 nest's rim. Fenton claims as their own, completing a sweep of all
Fenton hen on nest forms as having originated with Fenton. That is not
the case with Fenton's roosters since many of them are produced from
moulds bought or leased from other companies.
Although Fenton's hen on nest moulds are claimed by Fenton as their
own, copies of Fenton's 8" hen on nest, and their Hen Egg Plate were
manufactured in one color similar to Jade by Gibson Overseas. Many
features found on Fenton's 8" hen tops are present on the Gibson
Overseas copy-yet although close to Fenton's design a close inspection of
both hens reveals obvious differences between the two. The clearly
visible differences between Gibson's copy of Fenton hen on nest #5182
and the Fenton original are not the only differences between the two hen
on nest dishes. The Gibson Overseas Copy seems to lack substance and
appears "flatter" than the authentic Fenton hen.
Although the deflated appearance of the Gibson Overseas Copy of the
Fenton 8" hen on nest could be argued as being simply a subjective
difference, that is not true. There are many differences between the copy
and the original that become immediately apparent when seen in person.
One of the most apparent differences that is clearly visible between the
two is the lack of the geometric design Fenton incorporated into the
outside rim of their 8" hen top. Unlike, Fenton's fairly intricate design, with
lines evenly spaced and placed in a pattern, there are randomly space
diagonal slashes on the Gibson Overseas hen top.
Below are representatives of the 6 Fenton Hen on Nest moulds, including their Chick on Nest dish.
Fenton's 8" hen top #5199 is used with 3 different bases with each combination forming a new Hen
on Nest ware. Study of the photos below and the differences in the features of the various
combinations of Fenton's hen tops and bases produced and sold inline by Fenton from 1952 to
present day may help your collecting become more rewarding. The more familiar a collector
becomes with the overall appearance and distinctive details of Fenton's hen on nest dishes, the
easier and more productive your online browsing for authentic brand name Fenton hens may
become. The Sections in this Site for each Fenton Hen on Nest point out and illustrate many
features and characteristics these hens are known for.
|Fenton Chicken Server, #5188
"Technically," the Gibson Overseas Copy of Fenton's 8" ware # 5182 Hen on the scallop rim Nest appears to possess many features and meet several criteria of Fenton's 8"
hen on nest. However, a visible feature of Fenton's large hen on nest dish is lacking on the rim of the Gibson Overseas Copy. Although most eBay photos do not show the
distinctive geometric design which decorates the circumference of the Fenton's 8" hen top's rim. Please see the section below about the Gibson Overseas Copy of Fenton's
8" Hen on Nest #5182 for photos and more information about them.
Sometimes it is easier to prove a hen on nest is not Fenton by studying that hen on nest for a combination of features known to be consistent with Fenton's hen on
nest dishes, and those that are not found on any Fenton hen on nest mould. Again, Buyer Beware popped into my mind!
Fenton 8" hen top Photos:
Fenton 8" hen top from ware # 5188 GM, Fenton
Chicken Server, YOP 1952, 1953.
Fenton 8" hen on the smooth rimmed base, ware #
5183 MY YOP, 1953.
Center & lower right photos:
Two views of Fenton 8" hen top used on the
scalloped rimmed basket woven nest in Red
Carnival, ware # 5182 RN, YOP 1996.
Above: Close-up of the face and eyes of ware
# 5182 RN, a Red Carnival 8" Fenton Hen on
(scalloped rimmed, basket woven) Nest, YOP
|The 8" Atterbury hen top with red Glass eyes.
Fenton's 5" hen on nest dishes are shown below in Cobalt, #5186 KN from 1999, and in Milk Glass with a Blue Royale Head, ware #5186 EU, from 1989, as part of the Elizabeth
Collection. This is not a limited edition, but the Elizabeth Collection was named after Frank Fenton's wife Elizabeth who was reported to favor the combination of Milk Glass and
Fenton's Blue Royale. Although similar to cobalt, Blue Royale is different in appearance with an almost richer blue coloring to it-despite the photos below which don't support that.
Please note how very detailed Fenton's 5" hen top is. She, like her 8" Fenton sisters, also has 6 eggs with two on each side of the front, and one on each side of the tail. Fenton's
5" hen top has very realistic face, with a well formed beak, comb, and wattle, and very detailed eyes-complete with pupils and eyelids-which Fenton's large 8" hen tops do not
have. These are the large hen tops used with Fenton's Chicken Servers, Hen Egg Plates, and on two versions of basket woven bases-the smooth and scalloped rimmed.
Fenton revised their copy of the 8" Atterbury
Hen top which had slotted eyes for the
application of glass eyes (photo left) with
some interesting features, including molding
big, bulging eyes that are void of detail into
the glass, see the other photos above and to
the right which show how Fenton efficiently
replaced the slotted eyes of the original 8"
Fenton Shell Pink Hen on (scallop rim) Nest,
ware # K 5182 SL, by Special Order for Martha
by Mail in 2000.
Fenton Amethyst Body with Milk Glass Head on
(smooth rim) Nest, ware # 5183 MY produced in
Among one of the most readily visible, and interesting characteristics of Fenton's 8" hen on nest are the big, bulging eyes of the 8" Fenton
Hen Top, which has been used with 3 Fenton different bases since her debut in 1952. The big round eyes Fenton's 8" hen top are void of
all detail, including eyelids, unlike the eyes of many other hen tops in that size range, most of which have detailed eyes and eyelids. The
rather uniquely "styled" eyes of Fenton's 8" hen top can be easily seen and their shapes studied from various views in the photos of
Fenton's 8" hen top included below. Big bulging eyes, although not as round as Fenton's, can also be found on the Gibson Overseas Copy
of Fenton's ware #5182, their 8" hen on the scallop rim nest. This topic is discussed below, since Gibson missed their mark on copying the
intricate geometric rim design of Fenton's 8" hen tops, opting instead to use diagonal slahes that all run in the same direction.
The now renowned bulging eyes of the Fenton's 8" hen top came
to be when Fenton developed their first hen top for the 1952 debut
of their first hen on nest, in the form of a massive Chicken Server.
Fenton's first hen top was a copy of the 8" Atterbury Hen Top.
However, the 8" Atterbury hen top had slotted eyes, for the
application of glass eyes, which Fenton replaced simply with big
bulging "blobs" for eyes, void of all detail and eyelids, which are
molded into the moulds used for the production of that Fenton hen
Since Fenton's first hen top was introduced in 1952, her interesting,
yet overly simplified eyes, have become one of the key
distinguishing factors for determining which hens in the 7 to 8 inch
size range may actually be the Fenton brand name, although this is
not the sole criteria for identifying Fenton's large hen tops. To
confirm her identity, maker or brand name, one should study the
remainder of the hen top, such as the style and angle of her tail, the
number of her eggs and their positions around the hen, the type of
rim and decorative pattern, if any, and of course the type of base
she sits on. The only Fenton hens, as of January 2009, known to
have been used on basket-woven bases are the 8" Fenton hen tops.
|Searching for a 1950s Fenton Chicken Server,
a Fenton Hen on a basket woven Nest, or a
contemporary Fenton Hen Egg Plate?
The eyes (& more!) have it!
Although this hen top was first in used in 1952 with the Fenton
Chicken Server, in subsequent years Fenton used their 8" hen top
with their smooth rimmed Challinor style base from 1953-1958,
again in 1967 with a new, scalloped rim Vallerysthal style base, and
in 1995 for the re-release of their first hen on nest, the Chicken
Server, which they renamed the Hen Egg Plate. To the best of our
knowledge, as of January, 2009 the # 5182 Fenton hen on the
scalloped rimmed base, and the #5188 Hen Egg Plate have not
Even if a potential buyer is not familiar with all the characteristics of
the large Fenton hen on nest dishes, such as the numbers, sizes
and positions of their eggs, checking for those big, round eyes can
provide an especially useful start for those looking to purchase
large Fenton hen on nest dishes, manufactured prior to 1972,
when Fenton began marking all their wares with logos embedded
into the glass.
Many photos, and much more information about the Fenton's hen
on nest dishes made with the 8" Fenton hen top, including
measurements, the colors they came in and when these colors
were produced, which should be marked with Fenton's embedded
logo and which should not, are included in separate sections for
each form of hen on nest made by Fenton. Please use the links to
go to those pages.
|The Atterbury 8" hen top clearly showing her
red glass eyes, which prior to being applied
were simply slots in the glass hen's face. When
developing their copy of the Atterbury Fenton
replaced the slots with the now renowned, big
bulging eyes of the 8" Fenton hen top.
As of January, 2008 Fenton's 8" hen top,
with the big bulging eyes, is the only hen top
Fenton ever used with a basket woven base.
The 8" Fenton hen top was used on both the
Challinor style smooth rimmed basket woven
base of the 1950s (shown above), and the
Vallerysthal style scalloped rimmed basket
woven base Fenton introduced in 1967 (shown
to the right), as well as on the Chicken Servers
of the 1950s (see top of page), and the Hen
Egg Plates made from 1995 to present day
(2009*) have not yet been retired.
Although the 5" Fenton hen on nest is similar to those in that size range made by other makers, Fenton has always been produced their 5" hen on nest with a beautiful base,
featuring 10 arches forming the sides, which broaden slightly on the upper rim. The base features a centered starburst with the Fenton logo embedded in the center, when
applicable. There were no other contemporary bases used by other companies of the same form as Fenton's, which Fenton family members have claimed as their own, with
various anecdotal stories of how it came to be, furthering this point in print media, published books, and on TV's QVC Show. The unique nest for the 5" Fenton hen on nest is
attributed to Fenton, despite some controversy about it. Fenton Art Glass has openly staked their claim to this base and hen top combination, and maintained it as their own,
despite some controversy surrounding its actual origins.
|Indiana Hen on Nest-front & side
views-perfect shots of a tail that is
not a split tail.
Another important distinguishing characteristic of Fenton's hen on nest forms,
which can be clearly seen in most photos, is the respective designs of the "split
tails" of Fenton's 8 inch and 5 inch hen tops. Both of Fenton's hen tops, their 5"
and 8" hen tops, feature tails designed with the split tails. Although there are
very notable differences between the tails of Fenton's 8 and 5 inch hen tops,
both have split tails with rounded rear edges, and no indentations on the tail.
The easiest way to describe a split tail, including those of Fenton's hens, is a
tail that's been designed to create a more dimensional image, by the use of
the "split tail." This type of tail splits from a single point at the top of the tail,
into two sides of the tail which widen as they make their way down to the base
of the tail. Fenton's hen tops feature a pair of prominent eggs, with an egg
positioned on each side of the base of the tails of Fenton's hen tops. The
resulting shape resembles an inverted "V" which is easy to see when the tail is
viewed from behind. The photos below illustrate the split tails of the only
moulds used for the hen on nest dishes produced by Fenton as of January 2008.
Many hens have split tails, but the tails of Fenton's hen tops also have another
distinguishing trait, they are smoothly curved with no feathered indentations, or
scalloped edges on either edge of the Fenton hens' tails. The tails of Fenton's
large and small hen tops all feature what are called "split tails" which are also
present in varying forms on the large and small Fenton Rooster boxes, covered
in the Rooster Box section.
Below is a cobalt non-Fenton hen with a split tail and a scalloped affect
along the rear edge of the tail, as well as molded details of the feathers.
This can also be seen in the photo the scalloped cobalt tail to the right for
comparing to those of Fenton's.
|The Indiana Glass hen on nest shown here
lacks many visible features attributed to
Fenton's hens including- a turn to the head
and neck, more realistic detail and overall
dimension to the hen, a split tail and eggs
present on the hen top. The Indiana base
is also unlike any nest or base produced
and/or used by Fenton. Indiana made their
bases in beaded and non-beaded rims and
with different types of sides, stippled, not
stippled, e.g. Even when viewed from the
front, the tail of the Indiana Hen is clearly
not a split tail, as it does not split apart, or
widen, from the top down to form an
inverted V, as the tails of all of Fenton's
hen on nest forms do.
|Quick differences noted
between Fenton's and the
hen on nest to the
right-No eggs, no split
tail, scalloped tail, no turn
to head or neck, beaded
rim design...and so much
Below left is a close-up of a non-Fenton Cobalt hen top tail. Notice how the tail of the cobalt hen features a
"scalloped" or "sculpted feather" appearance along the outer edge of her tail. This scallop effect is quite clearly
visible in the photo of the same brand of cobalt hen on nest shown to the far left. The cobalt hen on nest is
very different in style from Fenton's, and the shape of her tail, and the details of her face are unlike any of
Fenton's hen on nest dishes. Compare the shape and edges of the cobalt blue tail of the non-Fenton hen on
the far left, to Fenton's hen tops' tails shown to in the center and on the right. A Fenton 8" hen's tail is pictured
below center with the painted Daisies on it. To the far right is the tail of a Fenton 5" hen on nest. Note how the
edges of both of Fenton's hen tails are smooth and without any indentations. Also note how the 5" hen's tail
rises more steeply than the 8" does and has an overall different shape to it, although they are both split tails.
The eyes of Fenton's 5" hen top, (immediate
right), and many other hen tops in the 5 to 7
inch range are very well detailed, complete with
pupils and eyelids. Fenton's, big gals, their 8"
hen tops (shown in many views above & to the
far right) do not have detailed eyes, but instead
big, round bulging eyes that are void of all
|The Cobalt Hen below is not Fenton.
Note the scalloped appearance to the
rear edge of her tail.
The green Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton's 8" hen on nest #5182 is not marked with an embedded or any sort of
permanent logo, and is only marked by a large sticker on the bottom of the Gibson copy is easier said than done. and
is often seen incorrectly listed for sale online as a Fenton 8" hen on nest #5182 in Jade. Although very similar, one clue
stands out which can be used tell the imported hen from the authentic 8" Fenton hen on nest is that the imported copy
is not marked, and the rim around the hen top lacks the geometric design the 8" Fenton Hen top has. The Gibson hen
also has many other visible differences from the Fenton hen on nest the mould used to make it was copied from.
Although the Gibson Overseas 8" hen on nest has bulging eyes (not shaped as round as Fenton's), and a tail that's
close in style to that of Fenton's 8" hen top, the Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton's 8" hen on nest has a several visible
differences from the Fenton hen it was copied from.
The Gibson Overseas hen on nest has bulging eyes but they are not as round, or evenly placed as those of Fenton's.
There seems to be a "bumpier" almost misshapen appearance to the back of the Gibson's head, and the entire hen top
is slightly smaller, appearing almost deflated when viewed beside a Fenton hen on nest #5182. This smaller size
causes the Gibson hen top to sit deeper in the nest-which has issues of its own. The Gibson hen's tail is more pointed
at its tip and lacks the rounded exterior curve of the Fenton 8" hen's tail, and many other differences that can be seen
on close inspection, including those with the base's foot.
Easier for many to see is that the Gibson Overseas hen top also lacks the unique geometric design found along the rim
of Fenton's 8" hen top and instead has simple diagonal slashes around the rim's edge all go in the same direction,
which is very different from the complex pattern Fenton used along the rim of their 8" hen top mould.
The "Green" 8" hen on nest shown here has big, bulging eyes
and other features of Fenton's hen on nest #5182, yet
something about her just doesn't seem right. The reason for
this is the green hen on nest shown in this section is actually
the Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton 8" Hen on Nest #5182.
For comparison's sake, we've included photos of Fenton's 8"
Hen on Nest #5182 CN, in carnival.
The blueish green areas that appear to be slag, or a mix of
2 or more colors, however what appears to be slag is
actually a thinning of the glass in that area. The thinner
glass in some areas of Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton's 8"
hen on nest seems to point towards a lack of quality control,
and/or the use of inferior materials for production of glass
wares. The thinner glass in some areas of Gibson Overseas
copy of Fenton's 8" hen on nest seems to point towards a
lack of quality control, and/or the use of inferior materials for
production of glass wares.
Left: Green Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton's 8" Hen on Nest.
Right: Fenton 8" hen on nest, ware #5182 CN, in carnival.
|When compared to the Carnival Fenton hen on the right, and viewed from the
side the Green Gibson Overseas imported copy Hen Top sits deeper in her nest,
has a flatter back, a more pointed tip to the tail, a tail which departs the back at
a slightly steeper angle, while also lacking the more rounded curve on the rear
edge the Fenton hen has.
What appears to be slag glass on the green hen is actually a thinner area of the
glass, which allowed the flash to show through, creating this pseudo slag look.
The Gibson also has less of a turn to her head with a longer wattle, and other
differences on the head and face. The Gibson base has sides that are straighter
than those of Fenton's which have a slight outward curve to its sides. Gibson's
base also has a larger foot than the Fenton base. Most, if not all of these points
can be seen in the photo to the left.
When viewed from the back, the Green Gibson copy displays a more tightly inverted V to the tail with
thicker edges to the rear of the tail. The Gibson copy's tail also appears slightly different than the Fenton
hen on nest #5182 since the Fenton hen's tail is more rounded on its rear edge, with less of a point at the
top. The Gibson copy has more of a pointed tip to its tail. The difference in the degree of turn to the neck
and head can also be seen in the photo above left.
The eggs of the Gibson, its eyes, and the glass used to produce it, all have problems with consistency and
misshapen forms to some of the hen's parts that Fenton would not consider first quality.
The Gibson's eyes are not evenly set or as round as the Fenton's hens are, and the comb on the head of
the Gibson hen is also not as evenly placed, with the back of the Gibson hen's head appearing to be
covered with a random grouping of round "balls" which is very different from the detail of the 8" Fenton
hen's head and comb. The glass of the Gibson hen also appears to be inferior to that of Fenton's, with
varying thickness, poor mixing, rough spots and extreme very noticeable mould lines. A combination of
production problems, the use of inferior materials for the production of the Gibson Overseas copy, and an
apparent lack of quality control led to many inconsistencies resulting from Gibson Overseas manufacturing
process. When problems such as those listed above are added to issues that often arise when moulds are
copied and left uncorrected the resulting ware is clearly inferior to the original.
These photos were taken with both hens at sitting at the same angle so the
differences between the two could be more easily seen. The Green Gibson hen
top can easily be seen sitting deeper in the nest than the Carnival Fenton hen
does. This is due to the Gibson hen top copy being slightly smaller in size, or
more "compressed" than the authentic Fenton hen top. The difference in size is
especially noticeable over the wing areas and when looking at the overall width
of the hen's body, throat, and head. Many other differences between the
authentic Carnival Fenton hen on nest and the Green Gibson Overseas copy are
clearly evident in these photos.
|The Gibson Overseas imported copy of
Fenton's 8" hen on nest is a fairly good copy,
but has some "issues" which make it easy
enough to identify as a copy, and not an
authentic Fenton brand hen. These points are
discussed and shown in the section below.
The Gibson Overseas Copy of the Fenton 8" hen on the scalloped rimmed nest is considered a good copy. However,
there are several visible differences between it and Fenton's 8" hen on (the scallop rim) nest, which can be used
identify the Gibson copy from an authentic Fenton hen on nest. Small, but visible, details such as the Gibson hen top's
slightly smaller overall size, the hen top's lack of a rim design, and the straighter shape of the sides of the Gibson base,
its larger foot pedestal, it-all adds up...Overall, the Gibson Overseas Copy visibly differs from that of an authentic
Fenton 8" hen on nest in ways that can be seen from photos. Most of these differences may be related to working with
a copy of a copy, and the use of overseas substandard materials-for starters. More detailed information and photos of
the Gibson Overseas copy are included in the section below.
What visual clues can be used to help determine which, if any of these 3 red and white hens are Fenton?
1) The tail of the hen on the top left is not smoothly curved, but instead has indentations, or a scalloped
affect, along the rear edge of the tail, with less obvious longer curves along the front edge of the tail as well.
All Fenton hen tops have smoothly curved tails with no indentations or scallop affects on either edge. Only
Fenton's heavy 8" hen tops with big, round bulging eyes sit on basket woven bases and egg plates.
2) The egg placement, top of tail, wing design, and cowl are also unlike any of the Fenton hen top moulds.
The neck does not have the same degree or angle of turn as either of Fenton's 2 sizes of Hen tops and the cowl
is barely visible, if at all. The beak is not as pointed as the 5" Fenton hen top but too pointed for the 8" Fenton
hen top which would be the only Fenton hen top used on a basket woven style base.
3) Note the details and styling of the "basket woven" base.
Fenton's basket woven bases are different from the style of the basket-woven style of base shown in the top
photo/ That base has a high profile to the relief design, creating a more 3-D, or raised pattern to the under and
over design of the basket weave on the rim and on the sides. The exterior edges of Fenton's basket woven
bases have less of a raised profile to the sides and a tighter twist to the rim design.
4) Proportion of the base to the hen top.
The proportion of the top to the base appear more top heavy than those of Fenton's hen on nest moulds which
are fairly well balanced.
1) The hen on nest shown below right has an overall size and style that is closer in form to Fenton's 5" hen
on nest #5186.
Despite some similarities between hen tops, the base for this 5" hen on nest is very different from any used by
Fenton. This base features a beaded rim with a criss-cross design along the sides clearly indicating this hen on
nest is also not Fenton. The criss-cross design shown has been used by Westmoreland on several of their hen
on nest bases, and Mosser, who bought many WMG moulds when they went out of business continue using them.
This hen top is also different from Fenton's 5" hen top. The tip of the tail is more rounded, the degree of turn to
the neck, and the overall shape of the head, beak, and cowl differ from Fenton's hen on nest dishes.
Fenton hen on nest, ware #5186 MD, produced 1971-72. Milk glass hen on nest with hand painted face,
comb and beak. Note the angle of the tail and the type of base used.
|The L. G. Wright 7" Hen on Nest
|The Westmoreland 5" Hen on Nest
Hen on Nest marriages are not as uncommon as one might think,
since many hen tops do "appear" to fit on bases of different
brands. Although occasionally useful for parting out, to replace a
broken top or base, as a rule these "marriages" are not made in
Heaven-or by Fenton. These mismatched hen and nests and can be
difficult to resell unless the unfortunate buyer of such a creature can
locate an appropriate top or bottom to divorce the "marriage."
Trying to resell a mismatched top and base with honesty will more
than likely not earn back funds spent to buy it.
However, if a mismatched item such as this is purchased on eBay
and paid for via PayPal the Buyer has some recourse and can take
action to return the item for a refund-especially if the title and
description did not reveal that the hen and nest were mismatched,
and not of the same brand. In a case such as that the buyer must
contact the seller immediately to explain the situation and request a
refund. If the Seller is not cooperative about permitting the buyer to
return the mismatched item for a refund the Buyer can begin
proceedings with eBay and PayPal by registering a complaint against
the Seller- since it is the Seller's responsibility to verify the
authenticity of any item they elect to list by a brand name.
|Hen on Nest "Marriage." This is a Westmoreland hen
top on base from Fenton's 5" hen on nest. Note the
more sloping angle of the tail of this hen top, when
compared to the tail of Fenton's hen top shown to the
right in milk glass. Other differences can be seen in the
way this hen top's tail meets the bottom of the hen top.
|Hen on Nest "Marriage." This is a Boyd hen top
on base from Fenton's 5" hen on nest. Note the
many differences of this hen top compared to the
Fenton hen top shown to the left. Other
differences can be seen in the way this hen top's
tail meets the bottom of the hen top.
|Fenton 5" Hen on Nest, #5186 MI, Note the refined
face, neck, flatter back, and how the tail of the Fenton
5" hen top rises nearly straight up on the rear edge,
forming more pointed tip, before turning down to meet
the back with a slight curved bow to the top edge of
the tail. 6 eggs are grouped in 2 pairs, and 2 singles
on the hen top. The sides of this distinctive base are
formed by 10 arches, triple outlined, and rise from the
foot of the base to the upper rim where they flatten
slightly creating a lovely, decorative rim. Please see
the section about Hen on Nest #5186 for details.
|All hens are chickens.
But not all chickens are hens.
|Its true! Roosters are chickens too. Hens are
female chickens and roosters are males. Yep,
its that simple.
|Fenton's Chick on Nest, # 5185.
YOP: 1953-still in production. (1.09)
Shown: #5185 MY, YOP 1954
Amethyst Chick, Milk Glass Egg/Nest
Fenton's 8"Milk Glass Hen on Nest #5182 MD is the
only Fenton 8" hen on nest painted in any way. The
comb, cluck, face and eyes of this hen have been
painted, with a 5" Hen on Nest #5186 MD done to
match. Only painted 8: hen on nest by Fenton to
This especially gorgeous slag combination of
Fenton's 5" Hen on Nest was special ordered by
Levay during 1984. Of interest is that this was
the same year Levay special ordered their large
Rooster Box in the same, brilliant coloring from
Westmoreland. At that time Fenton did not have
any viable Rooster moulds.
|Fenton followed Mother Nature's lead on this
and Fenton hens and roosters, while both
correctly called chickens, do have their visible
The Fenton hen tops feature 6 eggs molded
around the hen on the top, while the boys that
top Fenton's Rooster boxes, (or covered
roosters dishes) do not have any eggs present,
but do have the typical, showy "rooster tails"
which is proportionately larger and more curved
than the hen top's plainer style of tail.
This brief introduction is to help familiarize fellow enthusiasts with the appearance of
Fenton's various hen on nest forms, while also providing general information about
Fenton's hens, and other issues relative to collecting them via the Internet when many
other hen on nest, and glass covered chicken dishes are listed as Fenton, while being
anything but. Large photos, with close-ups of details, measurements, and information
about the interesting features and characteristics of each mould shown here can be found
in the separate Section designated for each of Fenton's hen on nest dishes and rooster
forms. Because all Fenton roosters should be marked, its Ladies First!
|What is a glass hen on nest "Marriage?"
Why do some people want them?
|Enjoying the Art of Online Collecting~
For Collectors, by Collectors.
Features & Distinguishing Characteristics of Fenton's Hen on Nest Moulds
As the topic of this page implies, most glass hen on nest dishes have features
which can be used to determine what brand or make the hen is, and whether
she was produced by Fenton-or not. Even the Gibson Overseas copy of the
Fenton 8" hen on nest, which is considered a good copy has differences which
can be used tell her apart from Fenton's 8" hen on nest. Such as her slightly
smaller size, the top's rim design, and her base-for starters. More detailed
information and photos of the Gibson Overseas copy are included at the bottom
of this section.
There are differences in the shapes of Fenton's hen on nest moulds that those
who are familiar with Fenton's glass hen on nest dishes can identify by the
quick study of a solid black silhouette of any of their hen on nest moulds. Once
the (silhouetted) shape of Fenton's hen on nest dishes can be recognized and
Fenton hen on nest moulds easily spotted in online photos, the subsequent
study of the smaller, but equally important, features of Fenton's hen on nest
moulds can be more easily addressed. It takes time and practice to learn to
truly observe and then study anything, especially something as complexly
designed as an ornate, 2 piece glass hen on nest, with the study of said hen
usually being done from a low resolution online photo. Still, this is a great first
step to take.
On the near left is a close-up of a non-Fenton Cobalt hen top tail. Notice how the tail of the
cobalt hen features a "scalloped" or "sculpted feather" appearance along the outer edge of
her tail, also visible in the photo of the same cobalt hen shown on the left. The cobalt hen
on nest is very different in style from Fenton's, and the shape of her tail, and the details of
her face are unlike any of Fenton's hen on nest dishes. Compare the shape and edges of
the cobalt blue tail of the non-Fenton hen on the far left, to Fenton's hen tops' tails shown
to in the center and on the right.
The center photo is of the Fenton tail from the 8" Fenton hen top used on the Limited
Edition Hen Egg Plate from 1995, Ware # 5188 YZ. It was hand painted in one of Robin
Spindler's many beautiful, decorative patterns, called "English Daisy." This 8" Fenton hen
top is known for her bulging eyes. (see top of page)
To the far right is a photo of ware #5186 LR, the 5" Fenton hen on nest, in Misty Blue's
tail. Although the tail of the 5" Fenton hen top rises more steeply from the back, it too is
smoothly curved, and without a scalloped appearance.
Although Fenton retired their wonderfully impressive
Chicken Server after a fairy short run in from
1952-1957, this was more of a lengthy lay-off than a
In 1995 Fenton re-issued their Chicken Server as a
signed and numbered Limited Edition of 950 hand
decorated pieces, and the new name of Hen Egg
Just a few years later Fenton again issued a Hen Egg
Plate as a Limited Edition, again decorated with a
beautiful painted design.
In the years since the Hen Egg Plate's revival she has
been produced in some especially appealing colors,
many by special orders by companies such as Rosso
such as Topaz Opalescent-(aka Vaseline) and most
recently in Fenton's hit of 2008, Chameleon. Martha
Stewart's Martha by Mail also ordered Hen Egg Plates
from Fenton in Jade and Pastel Pink.
Above: Gibson Overseas Hen Top, a Copy of Fenton 8" Hen on Nest
#5182. Note how the trim around the hen top consists of diagonal lines
that are all in the same direction-as opposed to the more intricate
geometric design of Fenton's 8" hen top.
Below: Red Carnival Fenton 8" Hen on Nest #5182 RN, from 1996.
Below is the Hen Top from the Red Carnival Fenton Hen on Nest #5182
RN. Study the design along the hen top's rim and compare it to that of
the green Gibson Overseas copy of Fenton's 8" Hen on Nest #5182.
Below are photos from the rear of the "split tails" from each form of Fenton's hen tops. Note how each tail has an appearance similar to
an inverted "V" as opposed to tails made of a single, solid piece of glass. These differences can be seen when compared to the Indiana
hen on nest shown to the left in blue carnival, and below in white.
The 8" Fenton hen top used for ware # 5183 and # 5812 was first used with Fenton's Chicken Server, produced from 1952-58, and the
more contemporary Fenton Hen Egg Plate, produced from 1995 to present day. Although a bit difficult to see in these photos, note the
eggs located on either side of these Fenton hen's tails. Please refer to the separate Sections about each Fenton hen on nest form, as
well as those regarding Fenton's Rooster Boxes, for more details, and lists with photos of the colors they are known to have been
Glass Hen on Nest enthusiasts consider a hen on nest "marriage" to be
a mismatched hen on nest consisting of a marriage between a hen top
of one brand, color or size and a base /nest of different brand, color
These 2 photos are examples of marriages-both on the arched base of Fenton's 5" Hen on Nest #5186. At first glance
they both appear to be Fenton, especially the red slag combo with the Fenton sticker clearly visible on the right. Look
closely. These hen on nest dishes are both marriages. The photo on the left is a blue and white Westmoreland hen top
on an arched base from a 5" Fenton #5186 hen on nest. This combo, or marriage was listed on eBay and marked
Fenton, with no mention of it being a marriage, even after the seller was notified of such.
Although similar to Fenton's 5" hen top, the Westmoreland hen top has a rounder tip to her tail, different egg sizes and
placement, and other noticeable differences, including the overall design of her feathering and the rim of the hen top. The
base she's been paired with is one of Fenton's from their 5" Milk Glass hen on nest # 5186 MI, which is shown to the
right. When compared to the Fenton hen on nest in milk glass shown below the others these differences are easier to
|Fenton 5" Hen on Nest #5186
Below is a sketch of a Fenton hen on nest #5182 with the hen top lifted
slightly from the base so the rim's design of the hen top is more easily
seen. (please pardon the artwork! :)
Each of Fenton's hen, rooster and turkey tops and the bases used with them
have their own mould numbers. To keep this site simple, for the most part we
refer to the ware/mould numbers used for the complete 2 part hen top and
base/nest combination, such as using Ware # 5186 for Fenton's 5" hen on nest.
Ware numbers can be an invaluable tool for collectors, helping to prevent
duplicate purchases of similar colored hens, and for record keeping.
|Fenton 5" Hen on Nest, #5186 MD
Please have patience as the site, its pages & many photos load.
Because none of L. G. Wright hens were marked, and with several companies
including Fenton known to have produced hen on nest dishes for L. G. Wright, it
can be very difficult to convince a vendor that a hen such as the one pictured
here in cobalt is from an L.G. Wright mould, and not a "pre-logo" or "unmarked"
This hen on nest is not a "pre-logo" Fenton, it is an L. G. Wright, made from L.G.
Wright's mould, their choice of glass color and type, to be marketed by L. G.
Wright as an L. G. Wright hen on nest. The L. G. Wright hen on nest mould lacks
many attributes of Fenton's hens, such as the design and style of the hen top's
tail with its scalloped rear edge, its detailed eyes, and its base which also differs
greatly from those used by Fenton.
Although the base/nest used with L. G. Wright's 7" hen on nest mould is a
basket-woven style, their base is very different from Fenton's basket-woven
bases. Fenton's basket woven bases have a different count to the under and
over pattern of the basket-weave than the bases used with the 7" L.G. Wright
hen on nest base shown here.
It should be noted that Mosser bought the moulds for the 7" L.G. Wright hen on
nest at Wright's going out of business auction in 1999. Within a few months
Mosser put their new mould into production, which fortunately Mosser marks
their logo of the "M in the outline of the state of Ohio" located on the inside of
the 7" hen top. For more information about L.G. Wright's hen on nest dishes,
and somewhat of a controversy about who made them, and whether their actual
makers are known, or can be distinguished, please see the information below.