What is it and What’s it Worth?
How many of you grew up with one of these in your house? This Indiana Glass Company hen on nest sold for $14.99 in February 2019.
Did any of you grow up with a “hen on nest” on your dining room table or in your living room filled with candy? Odds are, many of you grew up with several everyday pieces of glass from this particular manufacturer. This company actually produced glass for almost 100 years. We are talking about the Indiana Glass Company. Indiana Glass is most well-known for producing Depression glass, carnival glass, and “goofus” glass. Our Worthopedia has over 200,000 listings for Indiana glass, and our Worthpoint library has several books on glass that cover Indiana Glass Company. Keep reading and take your knowledge of glass to the next level. ENJOY!
In 1896, James Beatty and George Brady purchased an unused Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive and car repair building in Dunkirk, Indiana, and refitted it as a glassworks. Beatty-Brady produced household glass, lamps, lamp chimneys, and vases. In the early 1900s, Beatty-Brady Glass became part of the National Glass Combine. The combine changed the name to the Indiana Glass Company.
When the National Glass Combine failed in 1907, a group of investors led by Frank Merry and Harold Phillips bought the Indiana Glass Company. The company’s letterhead noted the company was founded in 1907. The company continued production of pressed glass.
Indiana Glass was a well-known manufacturer of carnival glass. This hobnail amber carnival glass egg dish sold for $20 in March 2019.
Although the company made iridescent (carnival) glass, the number of patterns was minimal. Indiana Glass’s principal products consisted of barware, berry sets, goblets, jellies, novelties, tableware, tumblers, stemware, and water sets. Many of the novelty items were miniatures meant for use by children. A soda fountain line was added in 1919. Indiana Glass also produced the A & W root beer mugs.
In the early 1920s, A&W baby root beer mugs (smaller and lighter) were created by Indiana Glass Company to accommodate small hands of the children who were customers. This baby mug sold for $10 in February 2019.
In 1923, Indiana Glass introduced Avocado, its first Depression glass pattern. Additional Depression glass patterns such as Pyramid, Tea Room, and Indiana Sandwich followed. By the late 1930s, over a dozen Depression Glass patterns were being manufactured. The 1930s also witnessed the introduction of a line of hen on nest novelties. In production for over 70 years, these hen on nest novelties were made in over 75 colors.
In the 1950s, Indiana Glass started making milk glass using versions of their old glass patterns. This set of 16 oz. tumblers in the Harvest Grapes pattern sold for $59.99 in February 2019.
During World War II, Indiana Glass made headlights, lenses, and other industrial products. Milk glass was introduced in the 1950s. New patterns such as Christmas Candy and Orange Blossom were introduced. Production of barware, restaurant, and soda fountain ware continued.
In 1957, Lancaster Glass Corporation purchased Indiana Glass Company, keeping the plant and brand name in operation. Colony Glass turned to Indiana Glass to help produce its Harvest pattern milk glass. A brief period of prosperity occurred in the early and mid-1960s. In 1962, Lancaster Glass became part of the Lancaster Colony Corporation. New lines, patterns such as King’s Crown and Ruby Band Diamond Point, and colors, like ruby flash glass, were added. Carnival patterns were reissued.
This Indiana Glass Tiara Honey Bee box in aquamarine sold for $29.95 in 2013.
In 1983, Lancaster Colony purchased Fostoria Glass. Several of the Fostoria molds were sent to Indiana Glass. Indiana Glass also acquired old Duncan & Miller, Federal Glass, and Imperial Glass molds. Reproductions made from these molds were marketed as “Tiara Reproductions.” In the 1990s, Indiana Glass made glasses for Budweiser and Coca Cola and a variety of household glass accessories under contract to Wal-Mart.
By the end of the 1990s, Indiana Glass and its parent company Lancaster Colony began experiencing financial difficulties. A disastrous strike occurred in 2001. The workers returned to work in January 2002. In November 2002, Lancaster Colony announced it was ending glass production in Dunkirk. The factory closed in November 2002.
Although Indiana Glass production ceased in Dunkirk in 2002, the Indiana Glass name survives. Since 2002, Indiana Glass is being produced at Bartlett & Collins, a factory owned by Lancaster Colony.
What to Look For
Indiana Glass collectors specialize, focusing either on type of glass, pattern, or novelty. Depression glass patterns are the most popular followed by hen on nest examples. Most Indiana Glass was made for utilitarian purposes.
Nostalgia plays a role. Collectors under 50 are more likely to focus on post-1945 material than earlier examples. Many buyers are motivated by filling in sets inherited from parents. Beware when buying flashed pieces. Washing, especially in a dishwasher, fades the colors.
Indiana Glass was a major producer of goofus glass. These goofus glass bowls sold as a set for $50 in January 2019.
“Goofus Glass,” pressed glass that is cold painted, is closely associated with Indiana Glass. It also was made by Northwood and Westmoreland. Popular with collectors during the middle of the 20th century, it has fallen from favor to the point were collecting interest is minimal.
Fenton has reproduced a number of the Indiana molds such as Paneled Daisy and Fine Cut and Heirloom.
Paper label: Rectangular with rounded corners and white ground. “Indiana / GLASS”
Paper label: Rectangle with rounded corners and black ground. “Indiana / GLASS”
Beginning in 1963, packaging for Indiana Glass was marked “Indiana Glass, a subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corporation.”
Post-2002 mark: Blue square with white circle. “MADE IN U.S.A.” in arch above item number and object description. Bar code in center under which is “LG Indiana Glass Co. / A Lancaster Colony Co.” above “Cincinnati, OH 45242” in a reverse arch.
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