How to Identify Tiffin Glass

By Linda Richard
Tiffin made quality crystal stemware.

Tiffin Glass has produced glassware for the American table for over a century. Originally A. J. Beatty and Sons of Tiffin, Ohio, the company merged with United States Glass Company in 1892 and became Factory R. Pressed glass was the original production line, but by 1900, blown glass was becoming increasingly popular, and Tiffin was a large producer of quality blown stemware. Tiffin produced blown glass stems with intricate etched patterns of giftware quality for the American bride and home, but black satin and Tiffin Modern are favorites with collectors. Although early Tiffin was marked only with a label, you can identify Tiffin glass by quality, color, style and shape.

Identify Tiffin glass by label. The oldest glass in the Tiffin production was marked with USG on a gold shield; later pieces were marked with the word “Tiffin” on a T in a shield label, according to a Tiffin Glass website. View a copy of a Tiffin label on the Kovels website in References.

Examine the quality. Tiffin emphasized quality glassware after 1937 and even prior to that, the Depression lines were elegant glass, not common Depression glass like Hazel-Atlas. Tiffin made Cadena, Cherokee Rose, Flanders, June Night and Fuchsia elegant etched patterns. Tiffin stems are fine quality blown glass with intricate etchings.

Learn the colors. Tiffin made transparent pink or blue stems, and made a neodymium or alexandrite glass in a color they called twilight. This dichroic glass changes color from lavender to blue in different lighting. Canary was the vaseline glass production and opal was a translucent white. Clear crystal was the majority of Tiffin stemware production. Satin glass was a mainstay for Tiffin, and canary, two shades of green, blue, pink, crystal, amberina and black were satin colors. It also made a few opaque colors, notably royal blue, amethyst and black. Pina attributes some marbled opaque pieces to Tiffin, but little additional information is available.

Identify the styles. Tiffin produced colored glass candleholders in sturdy shapes, many with cupped bottoms. It made a dahlia vase with a cupped top and a flared one, dresser sets and perfume bottles, lily vases, bud vases and wall vases or wall pockets. Most of its production in these lines was weighty and substantial--not flimsy and fragile. Tiffin Modern production began about 1940 and this was a radical change in style. The new biomorphic or free-flowing organic shapes were a sharp contrast to the geometric and symmetrical shapes for which Tiffin had become famous. Tiffin made these beautiful art glass pieces for 20 years and this production was a significant contribution to mid-century modern glass.

About the Author

Linda Richard has been a legal writer and antiques appraiser for more than 25 years, and has been writing online for more than 12 years. Richard holds a bachelor's degree in English and business administration. She has operated a small business for more than 20 years. She and her husband enjoy remodeling old houses and are currently working on a 1970s home.