Quick Facts About Collecting Kitchen Glass:
- Many collections of kitchen glass start out with a single piece of glass inherited from a beloved family cook.
- Some of the most popular kitchen glass items include nested bowl sets, reamers or juicers, canisters and refrigerator dishes.
- Depression era kitchen glass remains collectible, but items from the Ã¢ÂÂ40s, Ã¢ÂÂ50s and Ã¢ÂÂ60s also have a following. Some bargains on Ã¢ÂÂ60s kitchen glass can still be found.
- A number of kitchen glass pieces have been reproduced in Depression era styles, especially in cobalt blue. These pieces are usually of poor quality when compared with older pieces.
Think back to a favorite cook's kitchen. What do you remember?
More than likely, anyone willing to show their age will recall some type of kitchenware from days gone by. Maybe it's a pair of heavy Depression glass shakers with metal lids grandma always kept handy at the top of the stove. Or, perhaps a colorful Pyrex mixing bowl mom used to whip up family favorites comes to mind. For me, itÃ¢ÂÂs a bright yellow bowl my mother used time and again to layer up a tasty homemade banana pudding for our family.
Your immediate recollections might not be quite as specific, but when you see a familiar item sitting in a collectibles shop or shown in a movie, something immediately takes you back in time to that beloved kitchen.
Popular Items in Kitchen Glass
Many times an entire kitchen glass collection is built around one special piece inherited from a favorite cook. Other collectors don't recall specifics, but theyÃ¢ÂÂre still drawn to the glassware by it's nostalgia, functionality and cheerful colors.
Often labeled with familiar staple terms such as flour and sugar, many canister sets included jars for rice, cereal, cookies and coffee as well. There were also special jars for drippings, spices, tea and even bicarbonate soda, all carefully labeled and smartly coordinated into sets. Many of the labels have worn away, so finding one in tact adds value the these pieces.
Frigidaire capitalized on the popularity of kitchen glass producing a line in a pretty frosted Depression green color with their crest logo molded regally into the bottom. These kitchen accessories came along with the purchase of a new refrigerator as a buyer's premium back in the day.
Long before Tupperware became a household word, glass refrigerator dishes in coordinating sets stacked neatly in the ice box. Alongside them were water bottles with matching lids and/or metal spigots, and butter dishes in various shapes, sizes and colors.
If an item was used anywhere in the kitchen and is made of glass, right down to very functional items like drawer pulls, curtin ties and rolling pins, someone out there collects them.
Kitchen Glass Colors
All the popular Depression glass dishware colors of pink, green, cobalt blue and light amber found their way into kitchen. And, other colors such as minty green jadite, sky blue delphite and deep forest green also graced the shelves of industrious cooks during the Depression era.
As a point of caution, keep in mind that a number of kitchen glass pieces have been reproduced in Depression era styles, especially in cobalt blue. These pieces are usually of poor quality when compared with older pieces so do some comparison shopping to learn to detect the difference. ItÃ¢ÂÂs also good to know that of all the Depression era colors in kitchenware, genuine cobalt blue pieces are the hardest to find. Running across piece after piece at a flea market signals a fly in the ointment youÃ¢ÂÂd be wise to avoid.
Looking at kitchen glass from the Ã¢ÂÂ40s and Ã¢ÂÂ50s, youÃ¢ÂÂll find it becomes much kitschier. White bowls with red polka dots were popular, along with those bearing brightly colored tulip decals and other motifs. Pastel colors were the decorating rage during the mid-Ã¢ÂÂ50s and kitchen glass in light turquoise blue and pale pink was produced to match similarly colored appliances purchased by trendy homemakers.
Now days, colors of the Ã¢ÂÂ60s and early Ã¢ÂÂ70s are the rage in vintage boutiques catering to hip shoppers. Pyrex kitchenware in orange and olive green were cast aside for next to nothing at garage sales just a few years ago, but have become quite collectible today.
What to Expect in Price
Depression era kitchen glass isnÃ¢ÂÂt as plentiful on antique shop shelves as it once was, so when a dealer does run across a piece to stock a booth it wonÃ¢ÂÂt come at a bargain price. However, there are still quite a few bargains available through online auctions, and the global marketplace makes what might seem scarce in your area easier to obtain affordably.
Prices range from $5-10 for a single green furniture "coaster" to $1,000 or more for a rare reamer, also known as a juicer, in a desirable color. Lots of Depression kitchenware falls in the $50-200 range now. A rather rare item like a Depression green funnel might bring $125 in excellent condition, while a similarly colored lidded canister will fetch $50-75.
Even sets of Pyrex bowls and baking dishes in excellent to mint condition can bring a good price these days. Look for individual bowls and baking dishes at garage sales, flea markets and estate sales for the best prices. And if you really want a bargain, keep in mind that clear kitchen glassware remains surprisingly affordable no matter when it was made.
Condition and Value
Luckily, most kitchenware was made with the abuse it would receive in mind. These pieces generally pretty heavy so they wore quite well, but some scratching or a little roughness may be present. If youÃ¢ÂÂre willing to accept that, you might find pieces for your collection at a discounted price. Discoloration or removal of lettering on labels, decals and metal lids is a common problem too, since repeated washing over the years ultimately took its toll.
A little wear actually adds a desirable patina to many of these commodities, so don't completely rule out a piece due to minor flaws. Just remember that top values should only be paid (or asked) for items in perfect, relatively unused condition. Avoid pieces with major damage such as large chips, cracks, faded decals and excessive wear to build a collection that will increase in value over time.