I have three glass tumblers that were part of several series of US State drinking glass sets in the 1950s. Naturally, I am drawn to the ones that depict Ohio. I found these at Ohio Valley Antique Mall. Let me say that despite my interest in Ohio history, I never thought I'd be writing a blog post about drinking glasses. I've since discovered that these have a bigger connection to the Buckeye State than just the name on the tumbler. Did you know that Ohio was once a leader in the US glass industry and several museums are devoted to that fact? Before plastic was invented and in widespread use, glass was used for many items. Over 70 glass companies operated in Ohio between 1880 and 1920.
These glasses sold as promotional items by Big Top Peanut Butter of Lexington KY. They were originally filled with delicious peanut butter and sold in grocery stores. Not a bad deal. Buy peanut butter for the kids, get a free highball glass for Dad! Big Top Peanut Butter was bought out by Proctor & Gamble of Cincinnati OH in 1955 and re-sold as Jif Peanut Butter. I am uncertain if the glass painting was outsourced or done by the glass company itself. I do know that a lot of Hazel-Atlas glassware was painted by Gay Fad Studios of Lancaster OH like the next item.
This was sold in roadside souvenir shops. During the post-WWII boom, the turnpikes and Interstate Highways developed. The middle class grew and more Americans were now driving around the country on vacations. Collecting the glasses was a way to show your friends back home were you've been. Think of it like t-shirts, refrigerator magnets, and bumper stickers today.
The glass decorating itself was sometimes done by another company, which was the case here. Fran Taylor’s Gay Fad Studios in Lancaster OH was the most famous of the glass decorating companies.
This glass illustrates cities along an Ohio Turnpike map at the top. Also represented are Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Perry's Monument, Schoenbrunn Village, the State Bird, the State Flower, the Ohio River, the State Capitol, and Fountain Square/Carew Tower in Cincinnati.
The Federal Glass Co state glasses were also sold at souvenir shops across the nation during the 1940's through 1960's.
|Federal Glass marking|
Now if this were Antiques Roadshow, here is where I would reveal my estimate at auction. If this were Pawn Stars maybe Rick would call an Ohio glass buddy he knows. The truth is, they aren't worth much money. On eBay, I've seen people try to sell these for inflated prices. Someone listed the yellow one for nearly $70 and described the paint as a decal. Needless to say, it didn't sell. The reality is, I don't think I've ever seen any of these types of glasses sell for more than $10. With shipping.
I only paid five bucks.
- Santa Fe Trading Post
- Hazel-Atlas Glass Database
- Federal Glass Company Database