By Katie Skinner.
Hello! Back in the business of looking at cool vintage glassware? If you haven’t read the blog on Depression glass, that might help give you an idea on vintage glassware, with little ol’ me helping you along the way. If you are specifically looking for Fostoria Crystal, you found the right place. So, what in the world is Fostoria Crystal and how can we get our hands on it? The scoop is here on how to get this vintage glassware, and you’re not going to want to miss it! First, I’ll start with what and where this crystal started, and then I’ll help show you what it looks like.
We are all a little curious about the history of things, and this glass is no different. Plus, it differentiates between different glassware and the companies that they hail from.
Fostoria is a brand of glass that was produced by the Fostoria Glass Co. for just shy of 100 years. It was founded in 1887 and named after the city it came from, Fostoria, Ohio. They moved to Moundsville, West Virginia in 1892. They originally started by making glass lamps, but moved over to dinnerware, where they gained in popularity. The company ended up being one of the largest to produce handmade glassware. It was famous for the way that it produced its glass patterns, being pressed into the hot glass as it was being made. It was also the first company to add color in its production. The company closed in 1986, sadly. They were later changed into a different company, but this is about the time that they stopped making the true Fostoria glass.
Not to be confused with…
Replicas and lookalikes will always follow a popular product. It’s good to be aware of what might be a fake, and what is actually the real deal. Often times it’s really hard to tell, which is the point of the fake, to trick you into buying something less valuable. Don’t let it happen to you!
The American line is the most popular pattern that the Fostoria Glass Co. had and as such, has many lookalikes that popped up in hopes of replicating the popularity that the pattern had. The two companies that bring about the most confusion are Jeannette Glass Co. and Indiana Glass Co. These both have a pattern line that is similar to the American line, Cube or Cubist from the Jeannette Glass Co. and Whitehall from the Indiana Glass Co. Luckily there are a few differences so that you can tell whether or not you’re getting a replica from a different company.
Color is one indicator that you don’t have a piece of the American pattern. This line is produced in crystal, with very few color pieces that came out, so the likelihood that you have a colored piece is slim. You probably have Jeanette’s Cube pattern. This is actually Depression Glass, as it was produced from 1929 to 1933. The primary colors were pink and green, and the green color was not in any American or Whitehall patterns. The Cube pattern was a smaller line and is easily recognizable due to the documentation on it. A quick search through Depression Glass should give you an idea if it is the Cube pattern. Add this one to my previous blog about Depression Glass! Another one to look out for!
Whitehall, however, doesn’t have the documentation that the Cube pattern has, and is quite a large collection, so there are other methods on differentiating it from the American pattern. You can tell by the clarity of the glass because American was fire polished, so it should be clear and smooth. If it is wavy and cloudy, it’s Whitehall. American will often have three seams and Whitehall will have two. Whitehall doesn’t connect the handles to the top edge of the pitchers as American does. The base ring on which horizontal pieces rest on the table will usually be ground flat on American pieces. Whitehall footed pieces will have an octagonal tapered peg shape, while the American feet will be vertically flat on the sides and have a s-shape in the front and back. Also, vertical pieces of American usually are more curved and flare out while corresponding Whitehall pieces are straighter with little or no flare.
If you really aren’t sure though, another way to test whether or not you have a piece of Fostoria crystal is the blacklight test. If you hold the piece under the blacklight, it will emit a light-yellow glow. How cool! This is the only glass that does this, so it’s a surefire way of checking its authenticity. This isn’t very hard to do, you just need to get a blacklight lightbulb from the store and put it in your lamp and turn it on! It’s that simple and if it is the best way to tell the difference, it’s a small price to pay for one bulb.
A few pictures of the American Pattern
Since we focused on the topic of the American pattern line, here are a few examples of those Fostoria Crystal pieces. This pattern has an almost cube like appearance that is repeated throughout the piece.
Fostoria American Clear Quarter Pound Butter Dish
Fostoria American Cracker Jar with Lid
Fostoria American Footed Oyster Cocktail Stem 4"
Fostoria American Footed Iced Tea Tumblers
Fostoria American Wine Glass with Hex Foot
How can we determine if it might be valuable? Simple. Think similarly to the Depression Glass, many of the same ideas of determining worth are reflected here.
The most valuable pieces are colored pieces that have etched patterns. If you can find them in a set and relatively undamaged, they are more valuable, but the single or damaged pieces will still sell as long as it’s authentic. Collectors don’t have a need for imitations. This makes sense, because if you wanted the real set, why buy something that isn’t part of the real set?
This glass is way older than Depression glass, and was the first company to start doing colored glass. That’s pretty cool because the pieces are probably worth more because they’re older. In fact, some of these are antiques! They are over 100 years old, therefor, they can’t be vintage. Not that it’s a bad thing! It’s actually really interesting, and it shows that the value of these pieces is higher. Having them last this long, especially a piece that is undamaged, is incredible. There will definitely be wear and tear, but if they don’t have chips or cracks it is truly special. The amount of care that an owner had to put in to make sure that the pieces didn’t break is astounding. The company opened over 130 years ago, and even the last pieces that they did would still be considered vintage. So regardless, you’ll be holding a piece of history in your hands, which is the entire point of getting these beautiful pieces, right?
Happy collecting, Vintage Babes.
If you would like another reference to prices and patterns: