Hocking's Ring Pattern
Written by Rosemary Trietsch
A few months back, a collector wrote to me with questions about the pattern he collects. Not being one to waste valuable research, I figured I'd share what I learned about Anchor Hocking's Ring pattern with all of you.
Ring was made by Hocking from 1927 to 1933. The company catalogs list it as No. 1300 with no name, but in Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, Book 2, Hazel Marie Weatherman shows a Hocking ad for the 10 piece cocktail set which reads, "Stylish Pattern...Our famous 'Ring' design, known and appreciated everywhere for its extraordinary brilliance and sparkle. Each piece is artistic and graceful in shape." (Pg. 136) The colored bands found on Ring were called "Decoration 21" by Hocking, but somewhere along the way, collectors started using "Banded Ring" to distinguish the decorated from the plain. Most people use the two names interchangeably without any offense intended to serious collectors.
You will find Ring primarily in transparent green, plain crystal, crystal with silver trim, and crystal with colored bands. A very few pieces were also made in pink, Royal Ruby and "Mayfair" blue, but these colors were not marketed by Hocking.  Rather, they were produced as special orders for other companies to use as premium items, but judging from the amounts of these colors that exist today, the promotions must not have gone over well. The silver trimmed pieces tend to show wear as the silver was applied to the rims of plates, cups, and tumblers where it's subjected to the most use. The colored bands have proved more durable through the years, and come in various combinations of black, yellow, red, orange and, more rarely, blue and green. It's important to remember that colored bands on a piece of glass do not make it Hocking's Ring pattern. To truly be Ring, there must be molded bands of impressed ridges, or rings, and a slight paneling in the glass, similar to Block Optic.
Ring is a relatively small pattern compared to the others Hocking was producing at the same time, and although it shares many of the same shapes and handle designs as Cameo and Block Optic, it hasn't nearly as many pieces available. There were no dinner plates, butter dishes, or cream soup bowls made, and you won't find a covered candy dish or jam jar in the Ring pattern. What is interesting, however, is that there are pieces unique to the Ring line that weren't made in these larger patterns. For example, Ring has four different shaped cocktail shakers. There is also a 6 ¼ inch plate with an off-center ring that held a flat sherbet bowl. Hocking didn't produce these pieces in any other pattern of the time. The saucer has a cup ring, which is odd when you consider how many of Hocking's other patterns used the 6-inch plate as saucer/sherbet liner/bread and butter plate to save money. (If only they had put more of these cup rings on Cameo sherbet plates….)
Hocking seemed to be focusing the production and marketing of its Ring line in the area of casual entertaining. The catalog listings show that is was often sold in pre-packaged sets that were perfect for Bridge parties, afternoon luncheons, or evening cocktail parties. There were two 10-piece cocktail sets sold, consisting of a shaker, ice bucket and 8 low tumblers, or a shaker, 11-inch plate and 8 tall stemmed cocktail glasses, perhaps for more formal occasions. There was a Coffee set with 4 cups & saucers, a sugar and a creamer. The Beverage set included a pitcher and 8 tumblers, while the Iced Tea/Sandwich set had a pitcher, footed tumblers, ice bucket and the center-handled sandwich tray. The 17 piece Luncheon set is interesting in that along with 8-inch plates, footed tumblers, and the center-handled server, it included tall sherbets and 6-inch sherbet plates instead of cups & saucers. By including this sherbet set instead of cups & saucers, Hocking added a bit of elegance to an otherwise ordinary service for 4. Once again, marketing aimed at capturing the elegance of the more prosperous 1920's succeeded in selling glass during the Depression.
One of the nicest things about the Ring pattern is the way it blends in with whatever you're using, whether it's cobalt Moderntone or Lenox china. The stemware is graceful and really does have "…extraordinary brilliance and sparkle." Add the pitcher and ice bucket, and you've got a lovely beverage service. If you collect the decorated Ring pieces, there's lots of glass that was produced during the same time period with similar colored bands and decorations. In fact, the most beautiful collection of Banded Ring I've ever seen belongs to a man who purchased the decorated ice bucket and decanter from me to use with his Fiesta collection. He showed me pictures of the open shelves in his kitchen where he stores his dishes and glasses, and the combination of colors was amazing. If more Fiesta collectors discover this wonderful combination of pottery and Depression glass, there may be no decorated Ring pieces left for us Depression glass collectors. Then again, I may have just created a bunch of new Fiesta collectors….