Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fostoria, Friends and Birthdays!

I feel like I have been away forever - traveling and being sick. After a nice vacation, I had the Shingles and, yes, I had the shot a few years ago.  Thankfully, they were not too horrible. The anti-viral medicine was worse, than the disease.  I mention this only because I did not realized that, when you have the Shingles, you are contagious for the Chicken Pox.  Did you know that? I had no idea - just thought you might like to know it, if you were as clueless, as I was.

Well, enough of that subject.  What I really want to discuss in this post is the fact that this year, 2015, is the birthday of two iconic tableware patterns.  First, it is the 50th birthday of Wedgwood's "Wild Strawberry" dinnerware pattern.

Here is a wonderful "Wild Strawberry" window at Harrods in London. I wish I could be there to see this one and the others that are paying homage to this delightful pattern.  With summer almost here, strawberries are a fabulous addition to the dinner table. I am so happy that I own a few pieces of this pattern.

The one that started my collection is the footed vase that my friend and neighbor, Susie, found at Goodwill for $10.00, when I was away on a trip.  She called me and asked if I would like to have it and, of course, I said, "Yes!".  You might remember Susie, as she is the one who graciously loaned me her gorgeous "Georgia" transferware plates in a previous post that you can see Here.

While we are on the subject of sweet friends named Susie, a childhood friend of mine recently gave me these beautiful Fostoria green "Argus" iced tea glasses. I am humbled by her gift and the fact that she is allowing me to the be keeper of these glasses, until they pass to another obsessed Fostoria collector.  These pressed glass pieces (No. 2770) were created by a special arrangement with the Henry Ford Museum and were produced from the 1960s to 1985 with some being produced in the 1990s.  They were made in green, gray, cobalt blue, clear and ruby. Thanks so much, Susie.  I hope you like the way they look on my table.

Now, we finally are ready for the real star of this post, but I will give you a little background first:

Whoa!  What happened here and what does this Picasso painting have to do with this post?? Well, this painting, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon", was painted by Pablo Picasso in 1907 and the art movement, Cubism, was born.  Georges Braque and Picasso were the first to experiment with this form, but many others followed.  In 1913, a very famous international exhibition of modern art was held at the 69th Regiment armory in New York City. Every since, this show has been referred to as the Armory Show. The artwork displayed was shocking to many Americans, as they were used to more realistic paintings. Cubism was just one of the new styles introduced, but it was well represented.

Apparently, the cubist style made an impression on a man named Phillip Ebeling, because two years after the Armory Show in 1915 (a century ago!!), he applied for a patent for a Fostoria pattern (No. 2056) named "American".  Below is a drawing which accompanied the patent request:

American was the best selling Fostoria pattern for 70 years and was imitated by other manufacturers. I will not go into the crazy history of these manufacturers, because you will definitely go to sleep here. I will just write that there were many mergers and buy-outs among them.  However, two of the more famous patterns were "Whitehall" and "Cube or Cubist".  There was even a brief period of time, when a "Whitehall American" pattern was produced!

One of the reasons that I chose to purchase these goblets is that they have a hex-foot (six sides). As far as I know, Fostoria "American" was the only manufacturer to create goblets like these. Many books and articles have been written regarding the differences among the cubists patterns, but I have never seen any other pattern with a hex-foot. Also, "American" was mostly made in clear, although, Fostoria did make some pieces in color.  It is much more likely to find "Whitehall" (Replacements lists this, as a Colony pattern) or "Cube" (made by Jeannette glassware) made in colors.

This pitcher is a good example of the difficulties in identifying "American". However, an expert would point out to you that this piece is the "Whitehall" pattern, since the "American" pitchers have handles that end at the top of the pitcher, like this:

This all makes my head hurt and I am a Fostoria obsessed fan!  I do not have enough time left in my life to become an expert, but my heart is thumping a little faster at the thought of the hunt - oh, please, someone stop me! I have no more room! Oh, by the way, on Replacements the difference in the price of these two pitchers?  The "Whitehall" costs $15.99 and the "American" one is $79.00. Ummm, maybe, worth the hunt, after all??? Maybe, I could find some more room...

I could go on and on and on, about all of these wonderful pieces, but my crazy obsessions are not shared by everyone. However, one of the reasons that I am obsessed by many fine pieces of tableware is because of the history behind them.  The decorative arts move with history, just as fine arts do.  China, crystal and silver patterns change with different art movements that come and go. One moment, society is wild over Art Nouveau or Baroque and the next, we must own Minimalist art or architecture.  It is all connected and I wish that I could preserve all of it for the generations to come.  My poor husband, definitely, thinks that I am doing my part!!

So, Happy Birthday, "American" and "Wild Strawberry".  You both look great for your age and I hope there are many more birthdays to come!!!


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Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday


  1. I LOVE the way they look on your table!!

  2. I'm smitten by the strawberry pattern, Diane, and yes, it looks gorgeous on your table. Who knew that Picasso influenced the Fostoria pattern??!! Thanks for all the history. You're so knowledgeable. Now I'm going to look at my pitcher that I was gifted years ago and look at the handle.

  3. Diane, so sorry to hear about the shingles. I had the shot last August. Yikes. I always loved these strawberry dishes. I love the way you set the table. Very pretty.

  4. Wow! I learned so much in your post. Thanks for sharing the details of these patterns. It's clear to me that you have pieces that have history and meaning, not just things that cover "the whim of the day". I'm glad you're feeling better after the horror of shingles!

  5. I love your table and the history is fascinating! I have a few pieces of "American" that belonged to my grandmother, and they are among my treasures.

  6. Great post. My mom has a collection of American that someday my sister and I will share. I like it because it is a sturdy pattern that should hold up to regular use as well as being very versatile in pairing with many different dish styles. Thanks for sharing. I was familiar with the Cubist pattern but not the Whitehall.

  7. I love your dishes and all the history you shared! What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings My Friend,

  8. Fascinating Diane, I had no idea there was so much history and art behind this glassware! Wow, really amazing stuff, makes it so interesting and appreciated! Beautiful! Sorry about the shingles, I've been debating about getting the shot or not...

  9. Thank you so much for the history, Diane. I own some Fostoria pieces and I have just stored them in the garage. John bought them from an estate sale in Natchez while I was in FL. I was not too interested in them and now, because of your post, I am. Your table is beautiful!...Christine

  10. What a wonderful post! I love art, Picasso is one of my favorites (a huge replica graces my foyer)....your table is lovely, so fresh, and the glasses are phenom! Just look at that Harrod's window! I will be pinning a few of these pretty pics, thank you so much for sharing!!

    1. Sorry, also.....glad to hear you've gotten over the shingles, that must have been terrible! :(

  11. Diane, this is a wonderful post. I'm sorry you've been dealing with shingles, but glad you had a good vacation. I love seeing the display in Herrods and learning about the crystal inspiration. Strawberry season, yes!

  12. The Wild Strawberry pattern is so pretty, and I just love those green glasses. It seems to me that you are already an expert!

  13. First I'm glad to read you're feeling better. I recognised the Wedgwood Wild Strawberry pattern the moment I saw it on your first picture. It's lovely. But I also learnt a lot in your post, something I love about your blog.

  14. Hi, Dear Diane! I've been thinking about you lately, but I've "lost" my sidebar with all my favorite blogs and have had to add them back a few at a time. Tonight I saw that you'd posted this GREAT post, so I came right over! I'm sorry about the shingles...that's no fun. My doctor is trying to convince me to get the shot, but I'm not going there...

    I love your "seminars" where you educate us on things that we would never research ourselves. I have several pieces that I'm pretty sure are American, but I've wanted the goblets and I now I now to look for the hex-foot! Thanks!

    I also read your Pinterest post...I'll be attending that meeting with you! LOL! I've even not renewed my beautiful magazines, because I'd rather be on Pinterest (for way too many hours!). I'm going to look for you so I can follow you (just what I need!! haha!).

    I hope all is well with you and your family, Diane. Good to spend some time visiting you! ~Zuni