One of the single most successful patterns produced by an American glass company is Fostoria’s American pattern. It has been produced for 70+ years beginning with the Fostoria Glass Co and continued in later years through commissioned pieces and when the original moulds were sold to other companies.
A little History of the Fostoria American Pattern
The American pattern was introduced by Fostoria in 1915. I was produced until the factory closed in 1986. According to the Fostoria Company, the American pattern was line #2056. In the mid 1980′s, Lancaster Colony bought the Fostoria Company. Indiana Glass (also owned by Lancaster Colony) then purchased some of the moulds from the American pattern line. They re-named the “Whitehall” pattern “American Whitehall” and used the original Fostoria moulds to make the new items.
Patterns Similar to Fostoria American
Because of the success of the American pattern for Fostoria, they ended up with lots of look-a-likes being produced by other glass companies. Most notable are the “Cubist” design from the Jeannette Glass Company and the “Whitehall” design from Indiana Glass.
“Cube” or “Cubist” was produced from 1929 to 1933 and had 23 pieces available in amber, blue, canary yellow (sometimes called Vaseline), crystal (clear like Fosteria American), green, pink, ultramarine (shade of blue) and white.
Fostoria American was fire polished, unlike Cubist. The cubes in the Jeannette Glass imitator are flatter and duller in comparison.
Since Fostoria American was made almost exclusively in crystal or clear, you are pretty safe to rule out most colored glass pieces. However, there are a few exceptions so this tell tale sign is not foolproof.
Another imitation was the “Whitehall” pattern made by Indiana Glass and introduced in the 1950′s. One main difference is the handles. In the Fostoria American pattern, the handles on pitches and jugs where attached to the main body at the top. Whitehall and Cube designs attached their handles down farther. The shape of the handles are a bit different as well. “Cube” has almost a point on the top of their creamer handle — Whitehall’s creamer handle is is more rounded, like Fostoria’s.
Another telltale sign is in the glassware. Glasses in the American pattern usually flair at the top — are more rounded. Whitehall glassware tends to be more straight.Again, because of the fire polish step Fostoria used, the clarity of the glass is crystal clear and smooth. Whitehall, like Cubist, tends to be cloudier and wavy or rough.
Caveat Emptor — Buyer Beware
Sellers don’t always know what they have. A piece may be labeled Fostoria American pattern but, in reality, may not be. Knowing your glassware, using some simple tips and guidebooks, you will know what you are paying for. Happy hunting!