For moms who adore all things vintage, we’ve picked out some stunning Mother’s Day gift ideas that fit the bill perfectly. From enticing vintage tea cup & saucers to sparkling crystal to pretty decorative candle accessories, these will add an old-world charm to her décor that will make her feel like a retro movie star. Vintage Cup & Saucer Sets
If you’re stuck for Mother’s Day gift ideas, Candles offer a striking way to light up a table or
mantelpiece, while indulging the senses. Candle Holders are always a much appreciated gift as they can be used any season, always reminding Mom of the gift you gave. Vintage Candle Holders
Another possibility is to add a lovely serving piece or accessory piece to her everyday or fine tableware.
A unique idea id a set of wine glasses with her favorite bottle of wine! A gift to be enjoyed now and cherished forever.Crystal Wine Glasses
So as not to break your budget and still giving Mom an elegant gift use coupon code MOTHERSDAY for a 50% off discount at Mother's Day Coupon
In the 1930’s, General Mills Food Corporation hired Hazel Atlas Glass Company to produce a cobalt blue line of Shirley Temple items. Just as production had reached full swing, General Mills cancelled the order, leaving Hazel Atlas holding huge tanks of blue glass. In last month’s Shards column, we learned that cobalt Royal Lace was born out of this excess, but Hazel Atlas also produced Moderntone and Newport from the same vats of Ritz Blue glass. In fact, the Moderntone dinner plate was used as part of the Shirley Temple line. (I guess you could say we have General Mills to thank for three beautiful patterns – as well as Cheerios.) This month, we’ll take a look at Moderntone and save Newport for May.
Moderntone was produced from 1934 to 1942. The earliest production was probably crystal as we know that Hazel Atlas didn’t produce Ritz blue (cobalt) much earlier than 1936. There are a few pieces that turn up in pink or green transparent, mainly tumblers and ashtrays. Actually, there is no true Moderntone tumbler with the ‘wedding ring’ design, though there are two different style tumblers that were marketed along with Moderntone that collectors today accept as part of the set. (Remember, Hazel Atlas was known as the “World’s Largest Tumbler Factory” in 1928.) One style has a rayed bottom, thin, vertical panels, and 3 horizontal bands close together about 2/3rds of the way up. The other style has no panels, a plain base, and 4 evenly spaced horizontal rings that divide the tumbler in quarters. The paneled tumblers come in 1 ½ oz, 5-oz, 9-oz, and 12-oz sizes, and all are hard to find. The plain tumbler is a bit easier to find, though it only shows up in the 9-oz size, and that’s probably why collectors prefer the paneled style.
Cobalt is the most sought after color in Moderntone, but then there aren’t many cobalt depression patterns to choose from. (Mt. Pleasant, Moderntone, Newport and Royal Lace - if you can afford it – make up the menu.) Because Depression glass and cobalt glass collectors seek it, Moderntone prices continue to rise and hard to find pieces remain in short supply. Competition aside, condition is the biggest obstacle facing Moderntone collectors. Since the pattern is on the outer edge and not the center of the plates, use marks and scratches are very obvious. The same holds true for the serving platters and sandwich plate. (At 8 7/8 inches, the dinner plate is small especially by today’s standards. Judging from the amount of wear usually found on them, it’s safe to say that most people used the 10 ½ inch sandwich plates as dinners.) Bowls have a flat edge to bring out the pattern, but that means they have sharp inner rims that are prone to chips; thus mint condition bowls bring premium prices. Collectors often face the dilemma of finding a rare piece they need in less than perfect condition. Whether they buy it usually depends on how heavily used the piece is and how long the collector’s been searching for it.
The metal lids found on Moderntone items confuse many people. Hazel Atlas did not make a glass lid for the butter dish, cheese dish, sugar bowl or mustard jar. Rather, they sold Moderntone items to other companies who added the metal lids and sold them themselves. This was an easy and economical way to expand the line as no new molds had to be made: pieces already in production worked just fine. The mustard jar was made by adding a metal lid to the custard cup. (These custards also made the Moderntone punch set when used as cups along with a 9 ½ inch Hazel Atlas mixing bowl in a chrome stand.) By fitting the 6 ¾ inch salad plate with a wooden cutting board and metal lid, it became a cheese dish, and the butter dish is essentially the 6-½ inch cereal bowl with a lid. Finally, if you look at page 132 in Florence’s 13th Edition, he shows a reprint of an original certificate that could be used to buy Moderntone dish sets. Notice the sugar bowl is ‘topless’, indicating how Hazel Atlas marketed them. This explains why so many sugar bowls are found without lids.
There are some elusive pieces of Moderntone that are missing from many collections. The cheese dish, butter dish and sugar bowl cover are probably the most sought after items – partially because so many people are still looking for the ‘real glass cover’ as I just explained. Perfect sandwich plates are few and far between, again because so many folks used them for dinner plates. But the 12-inch oval platter, flat soup bowl and 6-½ inch cereal bowl are truly hard to come by, and finding any of them in perfect condition is even more difficult. The ruffled cream soup bowl, which Weatherman calls a handled nut bowl, is another hard to find piece. As the crimping was done by hand after the piece came out of the mold, fewer of them were made and no two will be exactly the same.
Some time around 1937, Hazel Atlas came out with a color they called Burgundy, but we refer to as amethyst. (They had been trying to come up with red glass but never quite got it right. The name ‘Burgundy’ may have been wishful thinking on their part.) Hazel Atlas used this new color for Moderntone as well as Newport, and these are the only two choices you have if you’re going to collect an amethyst Depression glass pattern. (Remember, Moroccan was made in the 1960’s.) Although cobalt Moderntone seems much more prevalent than amethyst, prices for amethyst pieces are a little lower because it isn’t as widely collected. You can put together full amethyst sets, though the cheese dish, butter dish and whiskey tumblers have yet to turn up.
During the 1940’s, Hazel Atlas used the Moderntone molds to produce a platonite line of dinnerware. Platonite is an opaque white glass that Hazel Atlas had been using in their kitchenware since the early 1930’s. The earliest pieces made in this color show opalescence under a strong light, while later pieces are fully opaque. Platonite Moderntone was made from the same molds as the transparent colors, the only change being redesigned bowls without rims. It was decorated in many fired on color combinations and sold in mixed color sets. Weatherman says that the orange, blue, yellow and green set was called “Carnivalware” and produced as early as 1938. This seems likely as the colors look very much like the original Fiesta colors Homer Laughlin produced in 1936. It’s not such a far stretch to think that Hazel Atlas was capitalizing on the success of ‘Fiestaware’ with it’s own ‘Carnivalware.’ Pastel Moderntone was made in sets of pink, green, blue and yellow in the 1940’s. The most popular, though hardest to find, of the platonite sets is known as “Deco.” It’s white with blue or red trim, and is sometimes found with a Japanese Willow design in the center. (Again, Hazel Atlas tried to capitalize on the popularity of the Blue Willoware that was all the rage in diners of the time. Remember the “Blue Plate Special”?)
Madrid was reissued in amber in 1976 by the Federal Glass Company. These pieces are marked with the date mixed in the pattern. Reissued Madrid is over 30 years old and has its own following today. This New Madrid was called "Recollection" and issued to celebrate the American Bicentennial.
In the 1980's
Indiana made Madrid in crystal, pink, and blue. Most of the molds used
were changed drastically. Tumblers, shakers, candlesticks, and the cake
plate do not even remotely resemble the older pieces. The dinner plate,
oval bowl, flat soups, cup and saucers, and butter dish molds do have
mold differences, but they are harder to detect. The colors though are a
dead give-away. The blue is much brighter then the old blue color and
the pink is a washed out version of the old.
Manhattan is one Depression glass pattern that many people don't recognize as 'Depression glass'. It doesn't fit into the usual framework that so many of us think of when we hear the words 'depression glass.' It's not delicate with fancy edges. There are no flowers or etching, and it's most often found in crystal, not the 'typical' depression greens, yellows, blues and pinks. It looks 'too modern to be that old', a discussion I've had about Manhattan with many of those poor non-collecting souls who are dragged along to glass shows. I have found that people who hate Depression glass, like the Manhattan pattern for all the things it isn't: namely, 'typical depression glass.' (Now, we collectors know better than to even think such a thing. But as it's nice of these folks to drive us to shows and wait while we examine every single piece of glass that's there, let's be a little tolerant ... for now.)
Manhattan was produced by Anchor Hocking from 1938 to 1943. Crystal is the most common color, though pink, ruby, green and iridescent were also made. With the exception of the 3-footed candy dish - and perhaps the sugar, creamer and relish insert - pink is difficult to find and expensive when you do find it. Tumblers are the only piece 'commonly' found in green or iridescent, and ruby production was limited to the 24-oz ball jug pitcher and the triangular relish inserts. You will also find Manhattan pieces with metal accessories such as handles and spoon holders. Other companies made the metal parts; Hocking only supplied the glass.
Color, though, is not nearly as much of a problem to Manhattan collectors as condition is. The Manhattan pattern is made up of concentric ribs. These ribs are pointed so that if you rub your fingernail across them, it will catch on each one and you can hear a little 'ting'. (The 'ting test' is one way to tell Manhattan from some look-alike pieces, though the ball jug pitcher is the exception, as it has rounded ribs.) Of course, this means that every piece of Manhattan is covered with edges. Add to this closed handles with ribs and pointed edges, and you have a chip waiting to happen. (As one frustrated collector said to me while examining the 14-inch relish tray, "The whole #*&$^ plate is an edge!") Manhattan pieces also tend to be heavy because of all the glass that went into making the ribs, and, although this adds to the potential for damage, many collectors feel this is part of its appeal. Because it's not paper-thin, people are less nervous about using it around clumsy relatives.
There are a few pieces that can be confusing to new collectors. The 5 3/8 inch handled berry bowl is sometimes passed off as the 5 ¼ inch cereal bowl. Remember, the cereal bowl has no handles and sells for 3 times the price of the berry. The relish tray and inserts tend to cause confusion for a few reasons. First, the triangular relish inserts came in crystal, pink and ruby, while the 14-inch tray and the round center insert were only made in crystal.
(There are a lot of people out there looking for these pieces in color.) Second, the sherbet is often mistaken for the round insert. The sherbet has a beaded foot while the insert has straight ribs around the base. Last, the 14-inch plate also came divided into 4 parts. Try as you might, you can't get all five triangular inserts to work in that four part tray. (Yup, people have complained about that one, too.)
Perhaps the hardest thing for the collector and novice alike, is the amount of ribbed glass that looks like Manhattan but isn't. Anchor Hocking produced Park Avenue in 1987 as a deliberate look-alike for Manhattan. (Those clever marketing people recognized the modern appeal of the old pattern and found a way to capitalize on it.) Hocking was careful however, to maintain the integrity of the old glass by changing the shapes and colors of this new pattern. If you find a piece that you think is Manhattan but the measurements don't match what you find in your Depression glass encyclopedia, you've got something else.
There are some look-alikes, however, that were contemporary with the original Manhattan and have been used with it all along. Hocking made a decanter and water bottle that have the same rounded ribs as the ball jug pitcher, and many collectors include these as part of their collections. Hazel Atlas produced the covered candy jar and salt shaker pictured at left. Both of these pieces are so widely accepted as "go-with" pieces that they're included in the regular Manhattan listings. The reason for the shaker's appeal is that the Hocking shaker is square and just doesn't seem to fit in with all those concentric rings. This is also true for the candlestick, which was made from the same mold as the square ashtray and just doesn't compliment the large open handled bowl the way the L.E. Smith double candlestick does (both items shown at right).
Once in a while, in my hunt for pieces of Manhattan for my husband's collection, interesting things have turned up. The green tumbler, pictured above and to the right, was a lucky find, as was the relish insert in the metal holder. The handled plate shown at right, however, is our most intriguing find. It looks and feels like Manhattan, but the tab handles are unique. I knew I had seen a reference to it somewhere and finally came across it again: Hazel Marie Weatherman pictures this plate with a domed metal lid in the Supplement to Book 2, and calls it a butter dish. She was unable to find it in any Hocking listing, but thought it such a close relative to Manhattan that she named it "New York" Unless one turns up in its original box or an old advertisement, we'll never know.
Finally, a warning: Heisey's Ridgeleigh has been known to masquerade as Manhattan on more than one occasion. If you should see a piece hiding among the relish inserts, approach slowly, remove it carefully and try not to act too excited as they've been known to bolt. After all, paying Hocking prices for Heisey is one way to support your 'glass habit'!
In a post about taking care of Depression Glass we showed a Hocking Mayfair pink depression glass sherbet that was all nasty haze from water spotting. I thought you ought to see what a beautiful pattern Hocking's Mayfair really is.
The nickname for this super pattern is Open Rose and you can see why in the photo. There are bouquets of big full blown cabbage rose on panels around the sides of this cup. It is quite a pretty pattern.
Hocking Glass made Mayfair in pink, light blue, green, some yellow, clear and frosted pink. You’ll probably find more pink than the other colors and I believe Hocking produced almost every piece in pink although that was not true for all the other colors. Just looking at the list of pieces produced it looks like Hocking green, blue and yellow for most of the different pieces, but the green and yellow are pretty scarce.
There are some reproductions out there, notably a beverage set in some obvious colors like cobalt blue, the cookie jar, shot glass and shakers. Most of these are rather easy to tell apart from the originals. The original pitcher, for example, has a round mold mark on the base and the pattern detail is sharper. If you are interested in collecting Mayfair – and it is one of the most popular patterns – then I recommend Gene Florence’s Collector’s Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, which gives tips to recognize and avoid repros.
Jeannette’s Cherry Blossom pink depression glass is exceptionally pretty with the entrancing design of blossoms, leaves and cherries dangling from a stem. Sadly this popular pattern attracted unscrupulous reproductions in the early 1970s.
So what’s a collector to do? You want to protect yourself, but how?
You can spot most repro pieces pretty easily. I was unsure I’d be able to recognize them from book descriptions, but last week when I went antiquing we found several cup and saucer sets that were obvious reproductions.
The repros didn’t feel quite right, true, but if you haven’t seen the real thing it’s not much use to tell you “it’s different”. The biggest difference in the cups were the flower and leaf pattern elements on the side panels were further apart and looked unconnected. The cherry leaves were crude and the bottom only partly designed.
Saucers also had poorly done, crude designs.
The cup shown here is the real thing. The design is tight with little bare space between the leaves and flowers on the sides and the base has realistic looking cherries and leaves.
Gene Florence covers repros in his depression glass encyclopedias and collector’s guides. It’s hard to feel confident just based on books but your best bet is to spend time reading and looking at pictures and getting familiar with your pattern.