The Cubic Triad, or, 'Do I really have a piece of
By Toby Aulman
Fostoria Glass Co. produced high-quality elegant glass
tableware for nearly 100 years. Founded in 1887 in
Fostoria, Ohio, they moved to Moundsville, West
Virginia, in 1892. Today many of their pattern lines are
highly sought after by collectors.
Line number 2056, American, was Fostoria Glass Co.'s
most successful pattern, produced continuously from its
introduction in 1915 until the Moundsville, West
Virginia, plant closed in 1986. It is also one of the
most misidentified patterns by both buyers and sellers.
Like anything that is extremely successful, American has
spawned lookalikes and wannabes. The two pattern lines
that cause the greatest confusion are Cube, a.k.a.
Cubist, by Jeannette Glass Co. and Whitehall by Indiana
Glass Co. While remarkably similar at first glance,
there are differences to look for that will help you
tell the patterns apart.
Jeannette vs. American: Let Color Be Your Guide Since
Fostoria made relatively little American in colors, it
is best to assume a colored item is either Whitehall or
Cube until proven otherwise. Jeannette's Cube is a
Depression Era pattern, produced from 1929 to 1933, and
was made primarily in pink and green. Jeannette made a
few Cube items in crystal and other colors. Most of
these are relatively scarce with the exception of the
individual creamer & sugar set that was later produced
in crystal for a much longer period and are quite
abundant. You can identify these by the much sharper
turn of the handles that almost come to a point.
round two-handled tray goes with this set.
This same creamer and sugar is also common in milk
glass, but these were not made by Jeannette. Hazel-Atlas
Glass Co. either borrowed or purchased some of the
moulds and produced these. Some even bear the familiar H
straddling A mark on the bottom.
Jeannette's pink tends to have a bit of an orange hue,
and the "depression green" color is not found in
American or Whitehall. For that reason, color is your
best clue that you have a piece of Jeannette Cube. Cube
is a relatively small line of just over 20 items and is
well documented. Once you suspect you have a piece of
Cube, a quick check in most any Depression Glass
reference will confirm or deny your diagnosis.
Whitehall vs. American: 7 Tips
Indiana's Whitehall was introduced in the mid-1950s. It
has been made in a wide variety of colors, and some
pieces are still in production today. In addition to the
Indiana Glass label, Whitehall was also sold under the
Colony Glass(a) trade name. Unlike Jeannette's Cube,
Whitehall is poorly documented, is a rather extensive
line, and is abundant in crystal, so other methods must
be employed to tell Whitehall apart from American.
1) The most reliable method is the black light test.
Fostoria's crystal American(b) will glow a very pale
yellow when exposed to black light in a darkened room.
Whitehall will not.
2) Examine the clarity of the glass: it should be clear
with a smooth surface. Fostoria fire-polished each
piece. Indiana Glass doesn't, so a wavy or rough surface
or cloudy glass is a good indication you have Whitehall.
3) Look at the bottom of horizontal pieces, plates,
bowls, etc. If the base ring, where the item rests on
the table, has been ground flat, you have American.
4) Handles on most Fostoria pitchers and jugs (all those
with C shape handles) will attach at the very top edge
of the pitcher. Corresponding Whitehall pitchers will
have handles that attach an inch or so down the side. (
5) For footed pieces, such as 3-toed tidbits, bon-bons,
or fruit bowls, check the shape of the feet (toes). Feet
on American pieces will have flat vertical sides with a
front and back that is slightly s-shaped. Whitehall feet
have an octagonal tapered peg shape.
6) Vertical pieces of American, goblets, tumblers,
vases, etc. tend to have more curve to their profile and
flare at the top. Corresponding Whitehall pieces are
more straight sided with little or no flare.
7) Most American pieces will have 3 or more mould seams.
Whitehall, due to the simpler, straighter overall
shapes, will usually have only two seams.
Only the black-light test can be applied to all crystal
items, and that isn't always possible or practical. The
best solution, if you plan on buying or selling much
Fostoria American, is to educate yourself. Get a good
reference book and study the shapes. I highly recommend
the works by the mother/daughter team of Milbra Long &
Emily Seate(c). It is also helpful to visit antique
shops and handle pieces that you know are Fostoria's
American. I'll bet you'll also find a few pieces of
Whitehall mis-labeled as American.
I'll conclude with one absolute fact that you can take
to the bank. All avocado pieces are Indiana's Whitehall.
a) Lancaster Lens Co. purchased Indiana Glass Co. in
1957 and at that time changed their name to Lancaster
Glass Co. In 1962, Lancaster Glass Co. merged with
several other companies and became Lancaster Colony
Corp., the "Colony" part of the name coming from the
Colony Glass trade name.
b) Lancaster Colony Corp. purchased Fostoria Glass Co.
in 1983. Several years after the 1986 closure of the
Fostoria factory, Lancaster contracted with
Dalzell-Viking Glass Co. to produce selected American
items from Fostoria's moulds. This production continued
until Dalzell-Viking closed in 1998. All ruby pieces of
American are from this later production. These
Dalzell-Viking pieces of American are of better quality
than Indiana's Whitehall, but are not up to Fostoria's
standards. These later crystal pieces by Dalzell-Viking
do not glow under black light.
c) Reviews of Long & Seate's books as well as other
glass references can be found at
About the author:
Toby Aulman is a "student of glass", who enjoys
researching glass as much as he does hunting for and
finding glass treasures. He collects late Victorian Era
blue opalescent glass. His primary area of study is
American pressed patterns from the last 100 years, with
an emphasis on poorly documented patterns from the
1940's to 1970's