The Lancaster Glass
By John P. Zastowney, MBA
July of 2008 will mark the 100th anniversary
of the inception of the Lancaster Glass Company. Even though it is sometimes
referred to as one of the minor glass companies, Lancaster's Plant #2 is still
in operation today under the auspices of the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation in
Lancaster, Ohio. In addition, the Hocking Glass Company throughout the 1940s,
'50s and '60s used many of the molds that were originally made by Lancaster for
some of its lines. Hocking acquired controlling interest in the Lancaster Glass
Company in 1924 and eventually dissolved the Lancaster name by 1937 after
completing the final purchase. However, the name Lancaster and their
exquisitely-made pieces live on.
Lancaster had ties to some of the
contemporary glass companies of its time: the Standard Glass Manufacturing
Company of Bremen, Ohio, which cut many of the Lancaster blanks; the Monongah
Glass Company of Fairmont, West Virginia, which was acquired by Lancaster in
1927; and the Lotus Glass Company of Barnesville, Ohio, which put silver overlay
decorations on some Lancaster blanks.
Lucien B. Martin and his son, L.
Phillip Martin, started The Lancaster Glass Company of Lancaster, Ohio (30 miles
southeast of Columbus), in early July of 1908. He had formerly worked for the
Fostoria Glass Company of Fostoria, Ohio (128 mi. northwest of Lancaster.) The
foundation for the new plant was completed a month later in August, and the July
9, 1908 edition of the China, Glass and Lamps trade journal stated that
operations were expected to commence in the fall of 1908. Lancaster was formally
organized by November, and by the end of 1908, the plant employed slightly more
than 200 employees.
In 1903, Isaac J. Collins moved from Maryland to head
the Ohio Flint Glass Company. Collins, who eventually headed the Hocking Glass
Co., became the president of the Lancaster Glass Co. Collins stayed with the
Anchor Hocking Corporation until his death in October of 1975.
Lancaster's most famous and well-known lines were Jubilee and Patrick. Patrick,
marketed in both topaz (yellow) and rose (pink), was actually marketed as
Decoration #203, called "Patrician." Patrician was renamed by Hazel Marie
Weatherman as "Patrick" in her 1974 book, Colored Glassware of the Depression
Era 2. The name Patrick still stands today.
Jubilee, on the other hand, has
quite a controversial history. The Jubilee design, Cut #1200, was actually done
by the artisans of the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company. Standard also
marketed its own line of Cut #1200, which adds to the confusion. The pattern
Jubilee was named for the 15th anniversary of the Frigidaire Corporation wherein
a complimentary 19-piece, topaz-colored luncheon set was given to anyone who
purchased a Frigidaire appliance. Today, Jubilee continues to create confusion
among buyers and sellers since the 12-petal flower was cut in many variations by
the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company. Those cuts carried many different cut
numbers and names. Much of Jubilee's (and Patrick's) charm comes from the fact
that it is one line that has a full array of luncheon pieces. Many of the other
lines by Lancaster were more decorative in nature.
Lancaster made so many
beautifully designed cuts, molds, patterns and decorations that one can hardly
choose a favorite. Lines such as Jody, Marguerite, Morning Glory and Sunshine
continue to rise in popularity. As with all collectors and their prized
collections, the quest to find every piece and color made in one line keeps one
on that never-ending journey.
Lancaster's most extensive line to date is
#906, Open Work, with more than 30 documented pieces. Open Work served as a
basis for Hocking's Old Colony, which was made in pink and crystal. Lancaster's
Open Work, on the other hand, was made in seven different colors in both clear
and with a satinized finish. Open Work's other decorations include: etching,
decaling, gilding and painting.
Some of the Standard Glass Manufacturing
Company's lines have also endured the ages and are still popular today, such as
Standard's Grape, which is sought after by collectors. Twinkle (pink) and Tyrus
(topaz), both Cut #28, are also heavily coveted by Jubilee collectors since the
12-petal flower is very similar to Cut #1200. Many of the Twinkle/Tyrus pieces
are decorative in nature and are used as serving pieces or sideboard pieces to
compliment the Jubilee line. Beadles, another Standard cut on pink Lancaster
blanks, is also popular and seems to proliferate in online auctions and antique
With regard to Monongah, Lancaster marketed many of their stemware
pieces after the acquisition. Monongah etches are also found on Lancaster
blanks. Vida is one such etch that has been popularized on pink Lancaster
pieces. Lotus' Hunt Scene is probably the most recognized etch/silver overlay
design done on both pink and topaz Lancaster blanks. Grecian Urn is another
popular Lotus silver overlay decoration used on Lancaster blanks. Grecian Urn
appears on other company's blanks as well.
Lancaster also ventured into
Stretch glass production during its manufacturing years. Rose Lustre and Green
Lustre with their painted purple (Decoration #400) and orange flowers
(Decoration #401), respectively, is highly sought after by both Lancaster and
Stretch glass collectors. Iris Ice, a white satinized Stretch glass line with
painted purple flowers, continues to draw attention of collectors when
The Lancaster Glass Company has certainly made its mark on the
glass-collecting world in its 29 years of production under that name. Even after
the dissolution of the name, Hocking continued to use those molds for its lines.
Grape was an etch that was used well into the 1960s.
Today, rare pieces of
Lancaster's Sphinx and almost any colored piece of Lancaster's Cable or Petal
with the Corn Flower etch done by the W. J. Hughes Corn Flower Company of
Ontario, Canada, will command prices in the hundreds of dollars. Certain pieces
of Tyrus and Twinkle will also command prices in that range due to their
association with Jubilee.
Every new etch, cut, design and pattern that I
found in my research over the years led to new alliances and friendships with
collectors that further brought the company and its wares to life. New
collectors have emerged, and seasoned passionate collectors have added to their
prized and coveted assemblages. Every day brings the opportunity of a newly
discovered piece, color or design for those passionate collectors. As you can
tell, I am one of those passionate collectors.
John P. Zastowney
was born and raised in Philadelphia. He graduated from Brigham Young University
with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management-Operations, and he also holds an
MBA from the University of Utah. He currently resides just outside Salt Lake
City. John became interested in glass collecting in 1995 as a result of a local
thrift store auction. Three years later at that same thrift store, he acquired
his first piece of Lancaster glass. John is the author of The Lancaster Glass
Co. 1908-1937. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jody bowls with various finishes/cuts.
Grecian Urn, various colors.
924 Octagon pink handled tray with Monongah's
pink center-handled tray.
with orange overlay.
Morning Glory green with a pink satinized finish.
Sunshine pink with satinized
Open Work with green satinized finish.
Lancaster Glass Co. ad
Rare Sphinx console bowl, booked at $1,750, probably the rarest piece in the
Patrick pink handled salad bowl.
Standard Glass Mfg. Co. catalog page depicting Cut No. 1200, aka Jubilee.