Collector's Corner: Sandwich Glass and Sandwich Pattern Glassware
By Toby Aulman
The phrase "Sandwich Glass" is used to refer to two different categories of glassware. The most accurate of the two would be in reference to the glassware produced by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., Cape Cod Glassworks, and their contemporaries in and around the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts, from the 1820s into the 1880s.
The other usage of the term Sandwich Glass refers to some specific glassware patterns produced by a number of makers from the 1920s to present. These patterns were inspired by a group of patterns made popular by those Sandwich, MA glassmakers that have a flower and ornate scroll motif with the space between filled with stippling (tiny raised dots). The phrase "Sandwich pattern" would be much more accurate for these later pieces, as the common thread is the similarity of the patterns as opposed to the common locale of the various glassmakers.
Since Sandwich pattern items are much more recent, and have been produced in far greater quantities than the 19th century glassware that inspired them, you are much more likely to find Sandwich pattern items at shops, auctions, and flea markets. While these patterns were all inspired by the same source, they vary slightly depending on the specific maker. Telling them apart can be difficult, but not impossible.
There are four major makers of Sandwich pattern: Anchor Hocking Glass Co., Duncan & Miller Glass Co., Indiana Glass Co., and Westmoreland Glass Co. Iíve created a table with representative pieces from each company. Here is a chart that illustrates some examples of the Sandwich Glass that Iíll be describing.
There are a few others that have produced patterns that are similar, but most of them include variations on the flower and scroll motif that make them much easier to tell apart. I will address only the four major makers here.
Westmoreland's version of Sandwich is probably the least well known of the four. Their version, named Princess Feather, was produced from the 1920s into the 1960s.
Anchor Hocking produced their version of Sandwich from 1939 to 1964. Many will be familiar with this pattern as they were used as promotional items at grocery stores and gas stations. Five of the items, in Forest Green, were included free inside boxes of Crystal Wedding brand oats. While these five pieces are abundant, the remaining pieces in Forest Green are much harder to find and are highly sought after by collectors. Punch bowls, usually in milk glass, were fairly common promo items at gas stations in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Indiana Glass began producing their Sandwich pattern in the late 1920s continuing into the 1990s, with most of the post-1970 production being sold through Tiara Exclusives. It is easily the most abundant of the Sandwich patterns due to the length of the production period.
Duncan & Miller called their version Early American Sandwich. Duncan produced it from 1924 until 1955 when Duncan closed. Early American Sandwich is easily is the most extensive line among these four makers, with over twice as many items as any of the other three. When Duncan closed, their moulds were acquired by U.S. Glass Co. (Tiffin). Tiffin produced little or no glass from Duncan's Sandwich moulds, but in the midst of financial problems in the late 1960s they sold them to Indiana Glass Co., which produced items in several colors for Montgomery Ward, and in many more colors for Tiara Exclusives. A piece of Sandwich pattern with a Tiara Exclusives sticker can be either Indiana's or Duncan's version of Sandwich.
Whether you are trying to add to some pieces that you may already have, or looking to buy for resale, you need to know how to tell these four patterns apart from one another. There are a number of differences in the pattern details. The scrolls are each a little different, the central pattern on plates and bowls vary from one version to another, but the easiest to compare on the multitude of various shaped items is the flower, since it appears on almost every piece of each of the four versions.
On pieces by Indiana Glass, the flower is round in shape, the petals having curved sides, defined by a single outline. The flowers on Anchor Hocking Sandwich items are nearly the same as those on pieces by Indiana Glass except that they have a double outline. As would be expected on better quality glassware, the flowers on Duncan & Miller's Early American Sandwich have more detail. Instead of being defined by simple outlines they are done in raised relief with a line down the center of every other petal giving the round flower a true three-dimensional appearance. The flowers on Westmoreland's Princess Feather are also done in relief, but not as detailed as Duncan's, and they are oval rather than round.
Prices for the different versions of Sandwich aren't consistently higher for one maker over another. As with most glassware, it's all in the scarcity of a specific item in a particular color relative to the collector demand. In the more common items, Duncan and Westmoreland as elegant makers will bring slightly more than Anchor Hocking or Indiana/Tiara, but by far the biggest prices are demanded by the scarcer Forest Green items by Anchor Hocking.
Unfortunately there isn't a single reference that covers all four of these patterns, which is part of the problem. Indiana's Sandwich will be included in most Depression Glass books, Anchor Hocking's in 40's 50's 60's, Duncan's in Elegant Glass books, and poor Princess Feather usually requires a book dedicated to Westmoreland.
So even though "Sandwich Pattern" glassware is not as old as true "Sandwich Glass," it is highly collectible and makes a beautiful addition to your display shelf or dining table.
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 http://www.PixClix.com/glassproject/. When not buying, selling, or studying glass he works from home as a Web Developer http://www.abzoid.com. Toby also moderates the AuctionBytes Glass Forum.
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