Dorothy Thorpe or Dorothy Thorpe Style?

Every time I see glass with silver/chrome in it, my heart melts. Where I live, I come across quite a bit of these glasses. At first I thought it was all Dorothy Thorpe glassware. But there were just too many designs that were too similar, yet not quite the same. So it spurred me to do a bit of research.

Yes, Dorothy Thorpe did make some of these pieces. What she is more well known for are her floral pieces. Yet many attribute only the silver rim glasses to her. Well, how do you know if it’s really hers? Well her two big designs with silver were Silver Band and Allegro. Silver band has a 1″ sterling silver band around the top that tarnishes, while Allegro has a 1″ metallic mirror-like band around the top that does not tarnish. If you’re not sure, you can measure. And the faded pieces? Well, they’re not Dorothy Thorpe designs.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with the faded pieces. They’re just not Dorothy Thorpe. Then who are they? Well, many of the faded ombre glass pieces were produced by Vitreon Queen’s Lusterware. Like Dorothy Thorpe, they produced tumblers, decanters, carafes and bowls. They used the process of applying metallic glaze to give glass an iridescent metallic ombre glow, or what is known as the silver fade or silver ombre effect. Here is an example of Queen’s Lusterware.

There are plenty of other companies that created glass with silver decor in them during the 1950s and 1960s. This punch bowl set didn’t come with a box but did come with original paperwork saying it’s by a company called Distinguished Gift. The band is just shy of an inch but it does look like Dorothy Thorpe.

To help you keep these pieces around for another 75 years, here are some helpful instructions courtesy of Distinguished Gift to help you take care of silver that tarnishes on your glassware. If you use this glass frequently, the silver shouldn’t tarnish. If you use it infrequently, wrap the silver edge with plastic wrap to keep the air from the silver. To retain its richness, wash by hand in warm water using a mild soap. No abrasive and no dishwasher use.

Vintage Supermarket Dish Purchases

One of the things I’m constantly attracted to are supermarket dishes. Starting in the 1950s, supermarkets had promotional dish sets to attract housewives to their stores. Each week you’d go in and there’d be a different part of the set of dishes or maybe a different patten. These were popular for quite awhile – maybe for a good three decades. I remember going to the supermarket with my mom back in the early 1980s and her picking up an extra set of dishes for the house.

These dish sets were quite the collectors items. People remember growing up with those sets and nostalgia has made them collectors items once again. Some of the more popular ones (and my personal favorites) are from the 1950s and early 1960s. They were usually produced by Royal China or Marcrest. Patterns such as Blue Heaven, Star Glow and Blue Spruce have a huge following and I can understand why. Their patterns are timeless and just as cool today as they were 50+ years ago.

Take a look at these ads to see how they were sold. If only we could buy such cool dishes for 99 cents today!

Arabia of Finland Teema Light Yellow Mid Century Modern Pitcher by Kaj Franck

This mid century modern Arabia of Finland yellow pitcher by Kaj Franck is part of the Teema dinnerware collection. This pitcher has pure, clean lines typical of Scandinavian. The bottom is faintly marked Arabia, Finland, Teema.

Mid Century Modern Smokestand Ashtray

One of my new favorite things is auctions. I was at a mid century modern auction several weeks ago and ended up in a bidding war over a bundle that included a wonderful standing ashtray. I lost the bid but as fate had it, the lady who outbid me was standing right behind me. She wanted the other part of the bundle and not the ashtray (crazy, right?), so I offered to buy it from her for part of her final bid. We both walked away happy.

I do pick up some atomic era and mid century ashtrays when I see them but this one has to be one of the most unique and streamlined ones I’ve ever seen. With its chrome base/top, sleek walnut body and clean lines, this looked like something straight out of Mad Men. A flip of the ashtray reveals that it was a Duk-It ashtray produced by McDonald Products.

A search revealed that McDonald Products was a major producer of ashtrays from the 1930s until the 1960s. The founder, Edward McDonald, used his metalworking background to help develop an array of ornamental smoking stands, pipe racks, ashtrays and floor stands, which they marketed to gift shops. A duck was added to the ashtray logo and the Duk-It brand was born.

Kitchen Canister Sets

Kitchen canister sets became popular in the early 1900s, when Hoosier cabinets came into style. Hoosier cabinets came with glass sets to store everyday ingredients such as coffee, tea and spices. From there, kitchen canister sets got more popular.

Some of my favorite ones are of the retro and mid century modern variety. These sets usually include four canisters – flour, sugar, coffee and tea – with lids. I particularly love the chrome sets and even have one at home. Here are a couple other funky retro sets, including a red ombre set and a silver aluminum with bronze cover set.

Paul McCobb Contempri Eclipse by Jackson Internationale Bowl and Sugar Dish

I’ve admired Paul McCobb ever since I fell in love with the mid century style. My passion was always furniture pieces so I knew the big designers early on. To me, Paul McCobb was a furniture designer. Only within the past couple years did I realize he also helped design kitchenware.

Starting in 1959, Paul McCobb started designing a line of dinnerware for Jackson Internationale. This line – the Contempri line – included a number of different patterns. McCobb’s patterns were produced until the early 1970s.

The one I’ve acquired is part of the Contempri Eclipse pattern. The dishes have little blue and green bow tie sticks all along the rims. This pattern is layered on a pure white background. All the sets basically have the same shape but with different patterns.

McCobb’s dishes are so classic that they’re even featured in the Brooklyn Museum.

Amoeba Boomerang Space Age Teal and Gold Glasses

A set of glasses that I come across semi-frequently are what are frequently coined as the atomic boomerang or amoeba glasses. These glasses have a amoeba-like shape on them, typically in a teal, black, white or pink color with a gold hollow roundish triangle. Usually when I see them, the gold has usually rubbed off from usage or neglectful washing. The other day, I happened to run into a set of four teal thick-bottomed tumbler boomerang glasses with the gold perfectly in tact!

These glasses are actually called Contemporary and were produced by Federal Glass in the late 1950s. It also had the identification number of 4695 so it would not be confused with another line named Contemporary, also produced by Federal Glass. As mentioned above, they feature an amoeba boomerang design with a 22 Kt gold pattern integrated into this design.

They are very awesome barware and definitely fit in with any space age atomic era mid century motif going on.

Silver Rock Sharpe Libbey Leaf Glass Set in a Caddy

Glassware is something I love to collect. Many of the glasses I come across are manufactured by Libbey Glass Company, as referenced in an earlier post. One of the main lines produced by Libbey was the Rock Sharpe line. A fern-like leaf was a pretty typical design. They were promoted in many major women’s magazines and sold in many major department stores across the country.

This Rock Sharpe set in particular has three different kinds of leaves displayed on the front and is clear, rather than frosted. A thin silver trim lines the top of each glass. This set includes eight whimsical silver leaf glasses in a caddy. The caddy is silver metal and holds the glasses perfectly. It has a little handle so you can carry it around. It’s a very retro mid century modern glass and caddy set.

Anchor Hocking Chips and Dip Bowl in Rose Red / Pink

This chip and dip bowl will be the conversation piece of any party. The larger bowl is a great place to put your chips, while a metal brass stand holds up a little dip bowl to place salsa, guacamole or whatever condiment you like.

This set of bowls was produced by Anchor Hocking and is part of the Modern Accent line. It has an ombre effect, with the bottom being a rosy red or rose pink and slowly transitioning into clear glass as you get to the top of the bowls.

Fire King Primrose Pattern

One of my favorite patterns by Fire King is the Primrose pattern. It features flowers in red and pink on stems in grey, with grey and black leaves on white milk glass. What I love about this pattern is how versatile and feminine it is. The pattern and colors allow the retro, shabby chic style of this dish ware to match a variety of decor.

The Primrose pattern was produced by Fire King’s Anchor Hocking in the early 1960s. These were produced for everyday use, rather than just special occasion use.

Pictured are several sets of Anchor Hocking’s Primrose kitchenware. There are several baking dishes – two rectangular baking dishes and a circular baking dish. There is also a set four snack trays and four cups. The trays have handles on each end for easy carrying and little indentations in the corner in which to sit your cup.