Speaking of Milk Glass...

by Dee Sacherich

In May, I was invited to speak about Milk Glass at a meeting of the Rainbow Diamond Glass Club of Indiana, PA. Believe you me, for months before my scheduled talk I had the jitters, I am by no means a speaker and for sure do not know enough about Milk Glass to speak in front of a group of people. They assured me they would not "bite," so I accepted their invitation.

I decided it would be appropriate to focus my talk on glass houses that were primarily in our area plus a few that were a little further away. I also wanted to have at least one item to demo as a representative example from each of the glass houses. Since I do not have slides for a slide presentation, I had to take the actual pieces with me, ending up with over 50 piece to haul!

My presentation began with Atterbury, as you might have guessed. I showed them two covered dishes - the Ribbed Fox and the Boar's Head - as well as the Hen and Rabbit salt and the Rabbits only salt. For Challinor, Taylor, I had several Tree of Life items, including a syrup and cracker jar, and the impressive Indian Head match safe. Next, 1 showed two Easter plates by Dithridge; the "Santa Maria" Cigarette Box by Consolidated Lamp & Glass Company; the black Elephant cigarette holder by Cooperative Flint Glass Company; and the Hen on Rush Base, generally attributed to Coudersport Tile and Ornamental Glass Company.

To illustrate products of The Eagle Glass & Manufacturing Company, I selected the Pipe match holder, the "Ash Receiver" with bundled cigars matchholder, and a Victorian Scoop dish. I showed three examples of Flaccus covered dishes -- the Wooly Lamb, Deer on Fallen Tree, and Standing Dog. I chose the Lincoln Bust as an example of the fine craftsmanship of Gillinder & Sons, and Kemple's products I thought would be well represented by two of their hand painted flower plates and the Horse on split rib base. This I followed by showing some McKee pieces -- a Dove covered dish (signed top and bottom), both sizes of the Rameses III (Skull) matchholders, and several signed dresser trays.

Representing Westmoreland Specialty was the Log Cabin and Little Red Schoolhouse packer containers, Dutch Mother & Child vase, and a Fisherman & Sailor "Rookwood" Stein. From Westmoreland Glass, a Cherry Thumbprint Cookie Jar, several pieces in the Paneled Grape pattern, the Quilt pattern, and the English Hobnail pattern. From the L. E. Smith Glass Company, a Conestoga Wagon and the Abraham Lincoln Backward "C" plate.

I introduced them to French glass in the way of Vallerysthal and Portieux. I do a show for this glass club in November every year and they only allow American Glass to be sold. When they invited me to give this talk, I asked whether it would be all right if I included some French pieces. They were very excited about the examples I showed them, and 1 believe I could have done a talk just on those pieces.

The ten items I chose to show them were the Elephant with Rider butter dish, Pineapple CD, Spaniel Dog Mantelpiece, "Rip Van Wrinkle" at Tree Stump toothpick, Pig butter dish, Squirrel on Fancy Base (in French yellow opaline), Setter Dog, Pig on Drum, 6" Rabbit, and Old Man with Basket toothpick.

I also knew they would be fascinated by seeing some unknowns in the upper dentures and the leprechaun matchholder.

I used the Kemple Horse and the McKee Dove covered dishes to point out the difference between the original spilt rib base and a reproduction. They were very impressed having never seen anything like what I brought. If only they knew what was still out there that even I don't own.

This glass club meets once a month and whatever the speaker topic is for that meeting, the members can bring in items for "show and tell" after the speaker's talk. The items brought in for me to identify were a lot of Fenton hobnail vases and baskets and some Westmoreland Hens on two handled baskets. When the members got up to explain their piece, they almost always made the comment, "they have nothing like what Dee had to show" or "nothing as old as what Dee had."

In retrospect, I would probably do it over again. They were very appreciative of what I had to say and really enjoyed looking at the glass 1 brought to share with them, Of course, I had the advantage of knowing they were not too familiar with milk glass, except for Westmoreland and their Paneled Grape pattern. This made it easier to wow and dazzle them!