By Reyne Haines
Creepy crawlers and things that go bump in the night are always welcome this time of year. Halloween is right around the corner. Ghosts and goblins yelling “Trick or Treat”, carved pumpkins illuminated on the porch and your teenagers couch bound for a night filled with popcorn and scary movies!
Some of us who still enjoy a good Halloween bash like to decorate our homes
for the upcoming evening. You might
invite a few friends over for a costume party complete with a dinner menu of
brain spaghetti, ladies fingers and “ghoul”lash.
But wait! What will you
serve this tasty meal on? Why
Halloween glass of course!
What do I mean by Halloween glass? Glass produced in shades of white, red, black and orange. The colors you might not think of serving food on. How appetizing would it really look? Fortunately, there was enough glass made in these colors during the early 1900s to the 1960s to fit any pocketbook. If you take the time to think about how many people who have “passed on” that used the glass described below, you might find the glassware to be “Haunted.”
Black Glass has been used since the 1700s to make wine and other types of bottles. We find it being used again by several of the Depression and Elegant Depression glass manufacturers from the 1920s thru the 1940s. Black glass is semi opaque/opaque glass and is often confused with black amethyst and black ruby glass. One of the easier ways to determine which color it is would be to hold it up to very strong light. If the glass changes to a deep red hue – it would be black ruby. If it shows a deep purple color, it is black amethyst.
Milk Glass often referred to as milk white or just white. Opaque glass that looks like it is made of milk. The earliest known examples of opaque white glass was made in Egypt in 1500 BC. Around the mid 1800s, milk glass became popular again and was produced by firms in France, America and England. Kitchen and dinnerware were mass-produced to meet the growing demand by consumers. Two of the most recognized American firms producing this glass were Imperial and Westmoreland. Opalescent glass, a crystal based glassware with a ghostly appearance could be another example to use for white.
Red or Royal Ruby Glass is translucent and blood red. Seems fitting for the occasion. Several companies produced ruby glass. The term “Royal Ruby” was name originally used by Anchor Hocking for their red line of glassware, however most collectors use the term to describe the red color of most commercially produced glass of the period. Royal Ruby produced before 1950 contained some form of gold that gave the glass its deep red color. Ruby glass produced after 1950 the formula contained bismuth, tin and copper were used to create the red color. Eventually, bismuth was removed from the formula altogether.
Orange Glass was not a color widely used by glass manufacturers. The Akro Agate Company made a small amount of glass made in the “pumpkin” color from around 1925 to 1949. The company originally named the color orange. It is collectors who coined the name “pumkpin.” Fire-King Peach Lustre was made by the Anchor Hocking Glass Company from 1952 to 1963 and is inexpensive, and readily found. It offers a lighter, creamy shade of orange with a topcoat shine. Another product produced in the 1940-50s is Moderntone, made by The Hazel Atlas Company. It came in several fired-on colors, orange being one of them.
An alternative, though not always as cheap, would be carnival glass. Carnival glass was mainly an American phenomenon, however was also produced in several other countries (in small amounts comparatively). Marigold, an iridescent shade of orange, was the most common of the array of colors it was produced in. Originally, the marigold color was called Golden Iris or Rubigold. For diehard Halloween enthusiasts, you could also pick from shades of white such as pearl, moonstone (similar to white but more opaque), or simply white. Also available were several shades of red such as amberina, red, red opalescent, reverse amberina, brick red and red slag. Black was made but in small quantities by Sowerby’s in the United Kingdom. The most fitting of all the shades of marigold is pumpkin. Carnival glass was produced from around 1907 to 1925.
As you can see, Halloween can be more than just passing out handfuls of candy to the trick or treaters! Its about creepy glassware, and the stories behind them.
Perhaps you would like a Halloween theme to your dinnerware. Here are a few patterns that can accommodate you:
Autumn Acorns – Not too scary but has a Fall theme showing autumn leaves and acorns swirling about
Boggy Bayou – Perfect marigold vase to hold black roses in!
Dragon’s Tongue - Found mostly in light shades of milk glass with a marigold iridescence
Halloween – Marigold water set that has a black rim and handle. A great way to dispense, blood punch?
Heavy Web – Found mostly in bowl shapes in peach opalescent.
You can also choose from a nice “Covered Urn” to place on the mantle.
Carnival glass producers also made what we call “Funeral Vases”. What were they thinking?
Imperial made a pair of rare candlesticks called “Crucifix”. True to form they are shaped like a cross. Rumor has it, they were last seen in Transylvania.
Depression and 40’s 50’s 60s glass patterns:
Cloverleaf – Produced by Hazel Atlas in black glass. Perhaps this symbol of good luck would keep the spirits at bay.
Crows Foot – Paden City designed this pattern, most commonly sought after in red.
Black Forest – Elegant glass made in several colors, including black and red.
Candlelight – Another elegant glass pattern produced in crystal but offer candlesticks to help illuminate your haunted house.
Saturn – Your alien guests might be delighted with this pattern of dinnerware.
Occasionally we find art glass in Halloween shapes, or with a fall style enameling on the exterior. Currently, the Fenton Art Glass Company is producing a line of Halloween themed glassware. They offer a black cat, witch, ghost and a black basket to hold your candy corn.
One more thing to consider; glass knives. Originally made during the depression era as knives for cutting citrus fruits, tomatoes, cakes etc. They were advertised as being sanitary, and stain resistant. Keep this with you along side the holy water and garlic cloves.
Now you’ve decided this sounds like a great idea for your pending Halloween bash, where to find such Halloween glass?
Just Glass Mall -- http://www.justglassmall.com
eBay -- http://www.ebay.com
Woodsland Carnival Glass -- http://www.woodsland.com/carnival
Fire-King.net -- http://www.spglass.com/firekingnet.html
The Halloween Story -- http://www.holidays.net/halloween/story.htm
Most Played Song on the Radio -- "Monster Mash”
Most Popular Candy Given Out -- “Snickers”
Latest Scary Movie -- Halloween: Resurrection -- http://www.halloweenmovies.com