Fostoria Glass Company, the largest and best-known American glass company, was in business for 100 years. In 1887, the company went into production in Fostoria, Ohio. After four years the fuel supply ran short at the site so the company was moved to Moundsville, West Virginia. Fostoria was known as "The Crystal for American." Fostoria Glass Company was called a "hand house," meaning every step in production was done by hand. The company's craftsmen became experts at shaping, finishing, and decorating.
Identifying Fostoria Glass
The earliest glass Fostoria made was pressed crystal wares. Its specialty was hand-blown and hand-painted globes for oil-burning lamps, called "Gone with The Wind" lamps today. Hundreds of patterns were produced. Later into the early 1920s Fostoria focused on glassware for the home. The crystal was blown and hand-molded and left blank. A craftsman would apply a design by hand to the pressed blanks.
Colorful Clear Glass
Fostoria Glass Company didn't make opaque colors in decorative occasional pieces like many of the other glass houses of the day. It was the first to produce unique, all-glass dinnerware in a variety of colors. Colors initially introduced in 1924 included canary yellow, green, amber and ebony.
Fostoria Glass Company created many etched designs for its colorful glassware. The most identifying characteristic is the intricate and delicate detail of the etched designs. Iris was the most popular and recognizable. It was introduced in 1887 and discontinued in 1920. The design is delicate irises with a tint of gold on the interior of the piece and exteriors in a wide variety of iridescent colors.
Fostoria produced a number of brocaded pastel floral patterns. These were made in ice green, ice blue, pink and vaseline glass with a gold edge applied to some of the finished pieces. Some of the design elements used were acorns, daffodils, daisies, palms, poppies and roses.
Fostoria created a unique design called coin glass. There are four basic frosted coin designs: the liberty bell, colonial soldier cameo, the torch, and eagle. These pieces were made between 1958 to 1982 and came in a variety of colors. The emerald green was only in production for two years and is the most desired on the collectors market. The earliest colors were amber, olive green, and dark ruby.
- “Fostoria: Identification and Value Guide to Etched, Carved & Cut Designs”; Ann Kerr; 1996
- “Fostoria Glassware, 1887-1982: Identification & Values”; Frances M. Bones; 1999
- “Fostoria Tableware: 1944-1986”; Milbra Long and Emily Seate; 1999
Karen Malzeke-McDonald is both an illustrator and writer in the children's publishing market. She has an A.A.S in art and advertising from The Art Institute of Dallas and a B.A. in art history and studio art with a minor in English literature from Hollins College. Malzeke-McDonald has enjoyed many career challenges, from designing a nationally licensed character to creating and marketing new businesses.