Word of the Week: Cranberry Glass

We’ve gotten our first request – cranberry glass!

After mentioning that cobalt glass was one of my favorite colors of vintage glassware, one of our readers heartily agreed. When I mentioned that I loved cranberry glass too, she mentioned that I should share some pictures of it. Great idea!

First off, let’s do a little background information:

Cranberry glass is also called “gold ruby” because of how it’s made. Basically (without getting technical and flubbing up some of the details that I really don’t understand) it’s made when you add gold oxide to molten glass, which you get by adding gold to acid.

Pretty cool right? I had no idea you needed gold to make this type of glass! This glass is typically hand blown or hand molded, so that just adds to the value.

Here are some pictures of cranberry glass that we’ve had around here:

This is a gorgeous hanging lamp with cranberry glass along the top that fades into clear glass.

This is an orchid-shaped vase of a deep cranberry color. Beautiful!

Here’s another vase with a brighter color of cranberry. This was hand-blown.

How to Sell: Hats

This is a super cute hat that is flat and brimless. The material is gathered on the side with a rhinestone.

Just like vintage purses, there are a lot of different styles of hats, especially if you throw in all of the typical fashions from decades past. Today we’re going to mention a few so you can identify them when you’re out and about at auctions, estate sales, and garage sales!

(Because we don’t have pictures of each type of hat, I’m linking the names of them to their respective Wikipedia article. Looking at pictures is the best way to learn the different styles, so make sure you check them out!)

Styles:

A. Cloche – This is a very 1920s style hat. It is bell shaped and sits tightly on the head, with the front coming down to pretty much cover your forehead. These could be worn plain or highly decorated, and apparently how you decorated your hat said a lot about you!

B. Pillbox – This style of hat reminds me of Jackie O, so it has a serious 1960s vibe to it. The shape is pretty common (and the name fairly self explanatory) – it’s rounded with vertical side, and sits right on top of your head. Check out this search result, and you’ll see that almost every hat that Mrs. Kennedy wore was a pillbox.

Here’s a fancy pillbox hat with a netted top – it’d be perfect for wearing to the theatre!

C. Wide-brim – This link will actually take you to an article about cowboy hats, which are a type of wide-brim hats. These are pretty easy to figure out – it’s any hat that has (wait for it…) a wide brim!

A very cute vintage wide-brim hat. This style is timeless.

D. Fedora – This hat is probably the most iconic one on this list. It’s defined by a medium-sized brim, and the typical “pinched” look of the crown. These should bring up images of 1930s gangsters holding tommy guns in one hand and a cigarette in another.

E. Bowler – Think of the fedora, minus the “pinch” and with a much rounder crown, and you’ll get the bowler hat. These were worn by the working class in Victorian England, though the style did jump the pond to the Americas where it was eventually referred to as the “Derby.” (The nerd in me is saying, “Think of Cornelius Fudge from Harry Potter! He wore a LIME GREEN bowler hat!!)

F. Bonnet – This is a pretty common and distinctive hat. It’s usually made of cloth and is brimless. This was generally used to keep your hair in place and clean. At first they didn’t cover any part of the forehead, but they eventually began transforming and some of the later styles were quite different from the originals.

G. Newsboy – These are pretty similar to the beret, except that they have a brim (much like a baseball cap would) with a button that attaches it to the main body of the hat. These were typical of the late 1800s and into the early 1920s, and weren’t just worn by newspaper boys. In fact, I often associate these with Scottish/Irish working class men, but maybe that’s just because I’ve seen The Molly Maguires one too many times.

This could probably be described as a fashionable beret.

How to buy and sell:

There are many more styles of hats than the ones that I listed above. Even among each distinct style (ie. the cloche, the bonnet, the fedora, etc.) there are differences that almost warrant their own category. These are pretty popular ones though, so if you can master the looks of these, you should be fine when hunting for vintage treasures.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all vintage-style hats are actually vintage. Whenever you can, try to double check with whomever you’re buying it from that it’s not a reproduction piece. If it has real feathers and real fur, that increases the chances that it’s authentic.

This could probably be considered a women’s fedora, or maybe even just a wide-brim hat.

Condition is always super important. Check for missing feathers. Check for stains. Check for tiny holes where moths may have gotten to the material. If you’ve come across an awesome find and it’s a little beaten up, don’t worry about it too much. There are still plenty of people out there who will take the time to repair vintage hats and restore them to wearable condition.

Always try to pinpoint the era – is it 1920s or 1950s? Many people like to shop by decade, so this might even be more important than knowing what type of hat you have. Wikipedia has a great list of the different fashions of various decades. Skim through them to brush up on your information.

Accessories like hat boxes are always great to ship with your hats – they’ll keep them safe and give the buyer something to store them in. Hat boxes also sell really well on their own!

This is an adorable vintage hat box that features ballerinas!

This is a slightly newer hat box.

Lastly, be very upfront about the material. If it’s made of fur or feathers, don’t skirt the obvious. Tell your buyers this information and – if you can – what kind of fur or which bird the feathers came from. Wearing fur today is generally looked down upon, but in the early 20th century, it was a sign of social status. There’s nothing wrong with selling vintage fur – we’ve done it a million times and we’ve never gotten any hate mail for it. (But also be aware of eBay’s policies. You don’t want your listing to get pulled!)

A gorgeous pillbox covered in tiny feathers.

A beautiful hat – maybe a cloche? – made of fur.

What are your favorite styles of hats? I love the cloche for women and the newsboy for men, though the 1950s in general speak to me pretty loudly when it comes to fashion. If you had to pick an era to live in, which would you choose?

My Weekly Score: Figural Cigar Cutters

(Just a side note that this is our 50th post. Hooray!!)

We’ve had pretty good luck with vintage tobacciana products – that’s stuff that has to do with tobacco and smoking. Whether it be ashtrays or lighters, we always turn a nice profit on them.

This time around, we had three different cigar cutters up for sale…and they all sold to the same person! Each one was made of brass and in the shape of some sort of animal. They didn’t have any major identifying marks, but I was able to track down one of them and date it to the late 1800s. Chances are the others were of a similar age.

First up we have this beautiful cutter in the shape of a dragon, with a dog on the opposite side. This one was my favorite and it was HUGE! It was almost 10” long and about 4” wide.

Next was this neat one that looks plain at first glance, but is actually in the shape of a bird. I didn’t think it was going to sell, but at the last minute someone bid on it!

This one was definitely a close second when it came to which one was my favorite. This is also the cutter I was able to pinpoint the date on. It’s in the shape of a horse and is made in such a way that when you open and close it, it looks like it’s running! It’s dressed up in full wartime regalia.

We bought the dragon cutter for $22.40 and the other two were $5.60 each. That’s a total of $33.60. We ended up selling the dragon cutter for $44.99, the bird for $34.99, and the horse for $41.00. That’s a total of $120.98. That’s over three times what we initially paid for them!

Word of the Week: Vaseline Glass

Believe it or not, there is a (somewhat vague) connection between Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and the glassware.

First off, let’s just say that the real name for Vaseline glass is Uranium glass. This type of glassware has had uranium added into the mix before melting, which glows bright green under ultraviolet light. The normal color of this glass (ie. under regular light) is a light yellowish-green, which was said to resemble that of Vaseline and picked up the nickname somewhere in the 1920s.

(And for the traditionalists out there, “Vaseline glass” is normally considered to be the pieces that are greener. All others are generally referred to as “Uranium glass.”)

Vaseline glass has about 2% Uranium in it, though older pieces have more. Production of Vaseline glass was popular during the late 1800s through to the early 1920s. Manufacturing of it had to pause during WWII while the government confiscated all the Uranium they could find. It resumed again in 1958 but popularity for newer pieces has decreased significantly.

(Thanks to this Wikipedia article for the stats and dates!)

Here are some really neat pictures:

This is a beautiful Vaseline glass water set.

Here’s a closeup of one of the tumblers. You can usually tell Vaseline glass by its bright green coloring that is mostly apparent around the edges.

This is one of the more yellow pieces of Vaseline glass that we’ve come across.

Here’s that same piece glowing under black light!

Here’s a typical piece of Vaseline glass.

And here’s the same piece under the black light!

What about you? Do you like Vaseline glass? Do you own any?

How to Sell: Pyrex

Pyrex is arguably the most recognized name in glassware. People collect it for the colors, the patterns, the retro look. They also collect it because they trust the brand. All of this adds up to the fact that it sells really well online!

Family Flair in the “Sea Isle” pattern, turquoise, 1950s.

Here’s some history:

Otto Schott was the first man to develop borosilicate glass, which was the pre-cursor to Pyrex. He did this in 1893 in Germany and sold it under the name “Duran.” After hearing about the borosilicate formula as a doctoral student, Eugene Sullivan (the Director of Research at Corning Glass Works) developed a similar product in 1908 called Nonex. This was a shock-resistant glass that was first used in lantern globes and battery jars.

A man named Jesse Littleton then accidentally discovered the cooking potential for this product when he gave his wife a cut down battery jar as a casserole dish. Corning removed the lead from the Nonex (good call), and developed it as a consumer product. They introduced it in 1915, during WWI, as an American alternative to the German Duran. They called it “Pyrex.”

(Interestingly, no one really knows where the word Pyrex came from. Some think it’s a mix between the Greek “pyr” (fire) and Latin “rex” (king), though the mixing of languages in order to form the word seems unlikely. (Also, does Fire King sound familiar to anyone else??) Others think it comes from the fact that a pie plate was one of the first products to be sold under this name. They often added “ex” to the end of their product names (like “Nonex”), so “pie” and “ex” were combined into the more easily manageable “Pyrex.” The truth is, we may never know the real story behind this word.)

In the 1930s and 1940s, new shapes, designs, and colors were introduced into the Pyrex line, including opaque pieces for bakeware and even a line of Flameware for stovetop use. In 1958, an internal design department was started by John B. Ward and over the subsequent years, many different artists and designers have contributed to the overall look of the line.

(All information came from this fabulous Wikipedia article.)

“Old Orchard,” brown with Fruit

If you want some more background information on your Pyrex (or Corning Ware/Corelle) Corelle Corner is a wonderful site to visit. The owner does all of her own research and relies on brochures and catalogs to find the truth behind many of the misconceptions that are floating around on the internet. She doesn’t deal in pattern guides, but she does have a lot of relevant information. This page was particularly helpful to me when trying to find more information on the “Sea Isle” set in the first picture.

Shapes:

There is an entire array of shapes that Pyrex comes in, and each one has its own function. Here are some of the more common ones:

A. Mixing Bowls are regular bowls that can be stacked inside one another. Used for mixing up anything and everything, and can also be used as a serving bowl.

B. Cinderella Mixing Bowls are exactly like regular mixing bowls, but they have handles.

This is a really old picture, so I’m not sure what the pattern name is. I’m not even sure it’s Pyrex. But this is what a set of Cinderella nesting bowls would look like.

C. Bake, Serve, and Store Casserole Dishes are used for the purposes that are inherent in their name. They come in the same size, but all vary in depth. These are great containers to move from the oven to the table to the refrigerator!

D. Casserole Dishes can either be round or oval. You can bake your meals in them and are probably the most recognizable Pyrex dishes. They come with their own lids. Unlike the BS&S dishes above, these DO vary in size.

E. Refrigerator Sets are really neat looking and are generally square or rectangular. They’re great for serving leftovers and stacking your meals in an orderly fashion inside the fridge.

G. Divided Dishes are great for holding two different kinds of vegetables, heating them up, and then serving them to your family. They’re usually oval in shape and have a pretty obvious divide between the two sides.

H. Utility Dishes and Baking Dishes are basically square or rectangular casserole dishes, but generally have a more generic use: casseroles, cakes, brownies, bread, lasagna, etc.

I. Hostess Sets were mostly used for serving and apparently there were only two types ever made. I’m sure if you could get your hands on one of them you could make some great money!

(This information came from this page on In Color Order. Check out her entire Pyrex series to learn a whole bunch of information about collecting vintage sets!)

Patterns:

The most important thing, next to condition, is the pattern name. We know from experience that if you have the maker’s name and the pattern name, that your piece should sell fairly well (unless the combination is a total dud). Pyrex is no different and in fact might even be one of the most important things to make sure you have the pattern name for.

A lot of people collect certain patterns for the sake of nostalgia – those are the patterns that their mothers or grandmothers used in their kitchens. Some patterns are going to be more rare than others – and that’s a given. But I think, in general, all Pyrex sells pretty well.

I can’t go into detail about which patterns are the best to sell because it’s always changing (but mostly because I just have no idea!). But here are some pattern guides that will really help you figure out what you have, which is the first step in trying to find out how much it is worth.

Pyrex “Snowflake.”

First up we have Pyrex Love’s pattern guide. This is my go-to source. They’ve got some great pictures of the pieces they’ve been able to identify, and an easy to use grid system that lets you fly through the page and figure out what you have. Some of the pattern names aren’t the “official” names (as they’re currently unknown), but they mark this pretty obviously.

Then we have Replacements. This isn’t the best resource, as some of the patterns that are marked unknown are actually known, while others might be mislabeled. It’s a good picture guide, though. I always follow up an “answer” from Replacements with a Google search to double check that it’s the right information.

There are tons of Pyrex guides out on the internet, but I’ve found that most of them just offer the same information as Pyrex Love. Their website has been the easiest to navigate, so I strongly recommend them.

Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

1. Pattern name. Even if you can’t name it, give it a general name that reflects the design, such as “Berries.”

2. Shape. Is it a bowl? A casserole dish? A refrigerator set?

3. Condition. Hold the piece up to the light and let it shine through the solid color. It’ll be easier to see any scratches this way. Also note any chips or cracks.

4. Date. Use some of the above resources to narrow down a date. This is always helpful.

“Butterprint” by Pyrex.

5. Color. Some colors just speak to collectors more than others – turquoise is a big 1950s item! This is always important to mention in your listing.

6. Numbers. There are numbers on the bottom of each piece. This helps to identify it, even when you’re not sure what the shape or size is. If it has the amount of liquid is holds (usually in quarts) on the bottom, make sure you mention that too.

And don’t forget that Pyrex makes more than just bakeware! Here are some other interesting pieces:

A simple brown lid. These are great to sell, as they’re often the pieces that break first!

These are snowflake napkin holders!

This is a detachable handle for a pot or pan.

So, what about you? What do you like or dislike about Pyrex? What are some of your favorite patterns or shapes? I like the ones that are bright and fun!

My Weekly Score: Moderntone Soup Bowls

We had a little surprise waiting for us this week: one of our older listings sold for a nice amount of money. It was a great lesson in patience and how having a little bit of it can really make all the difference in the world.

What you see below is a set of four cream soup bowls from the Hazel Atlas Glass Company. They are made of a gorgeous cobalt blue colored glass and have a handle on each side, plus a ribbed pattern across the outside of the bowl. The pattern name is “Moderntone.”

This pattern was produced in West Virginia and Ohio between 1934 and 1942. It was also produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

We got a whole set of these dishes for around $75. We haven’t sold them all yet, but we’ve more than doubled our money already. These four bowls alone brought in $60. Yay!

I love anything in this beautiful cobalt color. What about you? Do you have a favorite color of glassware?

Word of the Week: Fluted vs. Crimped

These two words are practically interchangeable, but (in my mind at least) there’s a small difference that warrants them two different definitions.

If something is fluted, it means that the edges have been shaped to form a series of “waves.” If something is crimped, it has the same characteristics, but has a tighter “wave” along the edge.

It’s strange to put the definition into words in order to explain it. And, as always, it’s easier to see these things than to just read about them.

Here are a few examples of pieces with fluted edges:

Here’s an example of a piece with crimped edges:

And, just to confuse you some more, here is a “scalloped” bowl. The difference between “scalloped” and “fluted” is pretty simple – fluted items have that wave characteristic, an up-and-down motion to the form. If something is scalloped, it just means that the edges are not perfectly round, but come in and out (not up and down, too). Think of flower petals or even the way in which you would draw a fluffy cloud.