Fostoria glassware is famous for its ingenuity, creativity, colors, design and “American” pattern. Though the Fostoria Glass Co. was in business for nearly 100 years, the limited number of pieces that survive and the quality of the products make them collector’s items today.
The Fostoria Glass Co. opened in Ohio in the late 1800s and soon became one of the largest producers of handmade glass in the United States. Originally the company made glass lamps, but soon moved into dinnerware and crystal for the home market. Fostoria became famous for its pressed glass technique, a patterned design pressed into the hot glass as it was being formed. Fostoria was also the first such glass company to add color to its production line. The company closed in the mid-1980s.
What Makes it Valuable
The popularity of Fostoria glass led other companies to imitate the product. So authenticity is the first step to determining value. Because the Fostoria Glass Co. was a leader in creative glassware production, pieces of genuine Fostoria hold high value today.
The Fostoria Glass Company also became known for its etched patterns. The most valuable pieces today are the colored glassware with etched patterns. Undamaged pieces and whole sets are more valuable than individual pieces. A colored pitcher can be valued anywhere from $600 to $1,000 as of 2010. A rare piece such as an old parlor lamp can garner over $2,000.
Even if you have an incomplete set or a chipped glass, so long as it is authentic Fostoria it is valuable. These pieces are the least valuable of all Fostoria crystal, however. Individual salad plates, butter dishes and individual cup and saucer sets are valued between $15 and $100. Imitations hold no value for collectors.
Identifying features of real Fostoria can be found by close examination. For example, authentic Fostoria has three seams, whereas imitations have only two. The best test for Fostoria authenticity, however, is known as the black light test. When Fostoria crystal is held up to a black light in a dark room, it gives off a light yellow glow. None of the imitations does this.
River Lin is an independent writer and consultant. With a Master's degree in teaching English as a second language from Ball State University. She lived in Japan for 15 years teaching and editing. Now based in the US, she works for a variety of clients. Published work can be found in print and online at various websites and goarticles.com.