During the past few months, I’ve been buying, collecting, and selling dishes and dinnerware galore. There are so many things I have yet to learn. Luckily, I love to read.
Sadly, One of the first things I learned is that high-quality potteries and glass companies in the USA and Europe are mostly closed, just like the textile mills. For a variety of reasons too long to list, long-term competition with overseas producers is not possible. As a result, made in the USA back stamps are rarely seen on dinnerware these days.
In many cases the factories and jobs of yesterday have been replaced by museums for the tourists of today. How sad for the craftsmen who loved their jobs.
Glass is hard to identify for a novice like me, because it isn’t well-marked. I usually walk past it with an admiring glance. However, last week I got lucky. I found an Indiana Glass cake plate in its original box, and decided to do some research.
Indiana Glass began as the Beatty-Brady Glass Company in 1895. It survived mergers, bank-panics, name-changes, The Great Depression and two world wars. Although overseas competition affected sales, it continued to produce pieces until 2002, when Kmart, a major seller of Indiana Glass products, filed for bankruptcy. An employee strike also helped to put the last nail in the great glass company’s coffin.
I know that Americans (myself included) buy cheaply made overseas dishware. What’s interesting though, is that we tend to collect and value high quality hand- crafted china, glass, and dinnerware- in spite of our tendency to sometimes purchase cheaper items. Collectors love Indiana Glass! You can read this post by Donna Adler, an avid carnival glass collector, to get an idea of how serious Indiana Glass collectors truly are. http://indianaglass.carnivalheaven.com/id122.htm
Although they produced Goofus Glass and Carnival Glass, Depression Era Glass is their claim-to-fame. Indiana glass produced the first piece of Depression Era Glass in 1923, in an Art Nouveau pattern called Avocado, or Sweet Pear. They made Depression Glass in green, pink, milky-white, and crystal for many years.
Some of their other popular patterns of that time were Horseshoe, Black Ice, and Bananas.
My favorite piece by Indiana Glass is the “Hen on a Nest,” produced originally in the 1930s. I’ve seen them in kitchens my whole life, and hope to own one in the future.
The company survived the wars, and went on to produce massive amounts of glass for diners in the 1950s.
Some of their popular glass patterns from 1940-1970 were Christmas Candy and Teardrop. Unfortunately, business continued to slow after the post-war boom until Indiana Glass finally closed.
Worth: Indiana Glass Pieces can be purchased on Ebay for $6- $3000, depending on age, condition, and rarity.
History: read article above.
Appeal: Indiana Glass is made in the USA, colorful, fun, and durable.
To read about other vintage items use this link: http://lovemylittlecottage.theblogpress.com/vintage-bean-pots/