List of Vintage Glassware & Barware Brands
Christofle was founded in Paris in 1830 by the Christofle family and is still in operation today. They began producing jewelry in Paris in the late 1800s, but gained worldwide fame when Charles Christofle took over as the head of the company and began to produce luxury table service items. This maker is known for some of the most collectible barware pieces today, most notably their twisted handle bar spoon (that has a muddler finial) and their cocktail shakers. They are still in operation today.
Dorothy Thorpe was a mid-century American artist who designed beautiful glassware and ceramic pieces out of her Los Angeles studio. She purchased simple blank glassware, mostly crystal, from U.S. and European manufacturers and decorated them with her personal designs. She created these breathtaking designs by using a sandblasting technique. She was also known for her silver overlay, which is now her most popular and collected pattern. While some of Thorpe’s glassware pieces are signed with a large “T” and a smaller “D”, many of her pieces found today do not carry her signature or her original logo sticker on them. Since Thorpe designed on “blanks”, the only known silver pieces that can be attributed to Thorpe are her timeless and modern, wide-band sterling overlay glass pieces. If you’re a minimalist, then Dorothy Thorpe is your go-to for fine cocktailware.
Federal Glass Company
The Federal Glass Company, founded in Columbus, OH in 1900, started its operations making pressed glass with mold-etched patterns. The company was a leader in producing what is commonly referred to as Depression glass. By the 1920s, Federal Glass was well known for its glassware. Its hallmark is an F inside a shield. By the Mid Century, Federal Glass Co. was a popular choice for Atomic style patterns including the Inca pattern.
Mid-Century designer Fred Press was known for creating unique and stunning cocktail glassware (sold at places like New York’s Fifth Avenue and other upscale Mid Century retailers). Real 22k gold was used in the paint. Best known for his Gold Starburst series, his patterns are unmistakable including this gold leaf geometric pattern.
Gay Fad Studios started in Lancaster, OH in the mid 1940s. Gay Fad's founder, Fran Taylor, who worked out of her home before opening the studio, designed a variety of patterns onto "blank" glassware purchased from Anchor Hocking, Hazel Atlas and Federal Glass and others. Gay Fad Studios closed in the early 1960s but is known for some of the most popular Mid Century glassware patterns today.
Georges Briard was the go-to for decorative housewares in the 1950s and 60s and was carried at upscale retails like Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. Briard’s success and notoriety came with the use of 22-karat gold as screened decoration for bent glassware. His design hallmarks are repetitive patterns, most often featuring geometric shapes or nature based images. Georges Briard is known for creating some of the most stunning Mid Century Modern glassware as well as Atomic and Kitsch designs in the later 1970s and is the essence of MCM glassware excellence.
The Gorham Company was founded by Jabez Gorham. Gorham opened his own business as a jeweler, but the business struggled until he and his craftsmen began making coin silver spoons. Because of the spoons’ popularity, Gorham’s business flourished and became a very popular American silver company from the late 1800's into the 20th century. Attracting some of the world’s best designers and silver artisans, the company’s reputation led them to create one-of-a-kind pieces beyond silverware, including wonderful barware items such as jiggers, cocktail shakers, Julep Cups, and more whimsical items such as a "Vermouth Spike" and enameled stoplight jigger. Still in business today, Gorham is known for making unparalleled, beautifully crafted pieces.
The Hazel-Atlas Glass Company was a large producer of machine-molded glass containers headquartered in Wheeling, West Virginia. It was founded in 1902 in Washington, Pennsylvania. Hazel Atlas became industrious in formulating unique colors into design. One of the hallmarks of Hazel-Atlas glass after World War II is the prevalence of fired-on patterns and designs, many created by Gay Fad Decorating Company. Glasses, especially whiskey and highball tumblers, as well as cocktail shakers to match, were decorated with dancing sailors, hats, windmills, maple leaves, daisies, musical instruments, and flying geese. Their most notable design collections include pink and white polka-dots and pink elephants.
Imperial Glass Company
The Imperial Glass Company was founded in 1901 by Edward Muhleman, with production beginning in 1904. Their handmade glasswares were sold worldwide and were typically made of pressed glass patterns. Their "Shoji" line, which was manufactured from 1965 to 1974, gilded with real 22k gold and is the quintessential style of the Hollywood Regency Era.
Jeannette Glass Company
Jeannette Glass Co. was founded in the late 1800s and in the early 1900s became known for their Depression glass, milk glass, and high end collectible glassware. In the Mid Century, Jeanette created a huge number of glassware patterns throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s.They ceased production and closed their factory in 1983.
The Libbey Glass Company has been manufacturing glassware since the 20th Century and is still producing high quality glassware today. Certain vintage Libbey glassware pieces (but not all of them, depending on the size and type of piece) is signed with a cursive “L” within a circle or ring. The mark actually appears backwards if viewed from outside of the glass, but it appears correctly when looking down through the inside. The Libbey Kit Kat Cool Cat glasses remains one of their most sought after patterns.
The Napier Company was named after its president, James H. Napier, who led the company from 1920 to 1960. But the company's history can be tracked back to 1875 when it was founded as Whitney and Rice in Attleboro, Mass., manufacturing silver products. The firm changed hands and name in 1882 and became Carpenter and Bliss and shortly thereafter, E.A. Bliss and Co., Inc. After rapid expansion in the late 1880s the company moved to Meriden, CT in 1890. After WWI, the firm shifted emphasis from silver products to production of modern jewelry. James Napier became president in 1920 and the company adopted the name Napier - Bliss Co. In 1922, the name was changed to Napier Company. Like many jewelry companies Napier got into lines of art objects and other utilitarian objects like serving utensils and barware and is considered one of the pinnacles for vintage silver and silver-plated pieces.
Washington Pasinski, a popular Mid-Century cocktail glassware designer, was known for their filigree/textured patterns. Similar to Culver and other MCM glassware makers, Pasinski used real 22k gold in their paint/patterns. Some of his most notable patterns include "The Silent Woman" and "Kashmir" patterns.
Reed & Barton
Established in 1824 Reed & Barton Corporation is one of the oldest silversmiths in the United States. Known for their silver and silver-plated mastery throughout each era, the Reed & Barton Silversmiths division continues to produce a wide range of upper end items today including flatware, serveware, and barware. Their most popular an sought-after barware pieces include their figural silver-plated jiggers and their twisted handle bar spoons that have figural motifs (including a rooster, Leprechaun, Santa Clause, and a pineapple).
Mid-Century cocktail glassware designer Russel Wright created some of the most popular glassware patterns today, most notably the "Eclipse" pattern (that features vibrant polka dots with gold overlaid polka dots) and the "Asrterick" pattern (a retro Atomic pattern that resembles an asterick symbol). He teamed up with Oklahoma based Bartlett-Collins in the late 1950s to create these two patterns and they still remain wildly popular today.
West Virginia Glass Company
West Virginia Glass Specialty Company (WVGS) was based in Weston, West Virginia and created some of the most stunning glassware from 1929-1987 and was especially well-known for their hand-blown glass. In the 1950s and 60s, WVGS created a number of heavily embossed and/or Hollywood Regency style patterns that, similar to Culver, contained real 22k gold in the paint.