Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Orange is red

brought nearer to humanity by yellow."~Kandinsky

Orange is the national color of The Netherlands because its royal family owns the principality of Orange. Being part Dutch & Flemish, maybe that accounts for my love of orange...I also like green...my other heritage is Irish so that works. But, I love fall for the colors; there is something about the vibrancy before winter softens the color palette.
I bought a stash of Fire King Peach Lustre...which I think fits so well in the fall color surge.
Fire King Glassware is the brand name of heat resistant glass made by Anchor-Hocking from 1942 to the late 1970s, and it can be classified further by pattern and by color. The shell pattern also comes in jadeite...or what I call "Martha {as in Stewart} green shown here in the Jane Ray pattern.
The Laurel design of peach lustre was produced from 1952-1963. You can see the laurel design on the sugar here.The Fire King family of kitchenware includes Fire King Oven Wear and Fire King Restaurant Ware. There were also numerous Fire King promotional and advertising items made throughout the years. The other pattern is called "Shell," identified by the scalloped edge. It was produced from 1965-1976.One thing to remember about this vintage/retro glassware~~do not put in the dishwasher. The colors are brilliant indeed, but, with the detergents and hot water, the colors will fade. They were not designed for the intense heat and harsh chemical detergents.

Anchor Hocking came into existence when Isaac J. Collins and six friends raised $8,000 to buy the Lancaster Carbon Company, Lancaster, Ohio, when it went into receivership in 1905. Unfortunately the $8,000 that was raised was not sufficient to purchase and operate the new company, so Mr. Collins enlisted the help of Mr. E. B. Good. With a check for $17,000 provided by Mr. Good, one building, two day-tanks, and 50 employees, Mr. Collins was able to begin Hocking Glass Company operations at the Hocking Glass Company.
Research always brings to light some fascinating information. It seems the development of a machine that pressed glass automatically saved the company when the Great Depression hit. The new machine raised production rates from 1 item per minute to over 30 items per minute. When the 1929 stock market crash hit, the company responded by developing a 15-mold machine that could produce 90 pieces of blown glass per minute. This allowed the company to sell tumblers "two for a nickel" and survive the Depression when so many other companies vanished. Might be something for companies to consider in today's economy...rather than raise the price, offer more for the money.

The company continued to expand and offer a variety of household products including tableware, toiletries, and cosmetic containers. Baby boomers may remember free glasses and mugs given away at gas stations or grocery stores.

The word "Glass" was dropped from the company's name in 1969 because the company had evolved into an international company with an infinite product list. They had entered the plastic market in 1968 with the acquisition of Plastics Incorporated in St. Paul, Minnesota. They continued to expand their presence in the plastic container market with the construction of a plant in Springdale, Ohio. This plant was designed to produce blown mold plastic containers. Anchor Hocking Corporation entered the lighting field in September 1970 with the purchase of Phoenix Glass Company in Monaca, Pennsylvania. They also bought the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company, located in Chester, West Virginia, to make earthenware, fine stoneware, institutional china dinnerware, and commemorative collector plates.

They acquired other companies, and, as you can imagine, as the economy went into chaos so did their production. They are currently in Chapter 11, and their future is uncertain. Despite their climb to the top of the ladder, they have faced competition from foreign companies as well as perhaps expanding way beyond their means. Still...when you see the Fire King mark, you know you are dealing with an old American company built from the ground up.

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