Fostoria Crystal Wine Glassware
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
I am a fan of crystal and all things sparkly when it comes to a table setting. John and I have been collectors of antique crystal and glass accessories for many years. We have more wine, beverage, sherbet, and cordial glasses than we will ever need. I could have easily packed up a few sets for Kansas and they would not have been missed in our house in Arizona. Yet, due to limited space on the moving trailer, I was only able to bring a dozen of the logoed "Boisset" Reidel wine glasses I use for my wine business.
While scoping out the little antique and "rummage " stores in Fort Scott, I was surprised to find a set of etched crystal wine glasses sitting on a dusty shelf just as I was about to leave. They caught my eye as there were many more in the set than the odd three or five number typically found when you see these kinds of glasses. They were beautiful with a floral leaf and double-lined hortizontal design. I had seen this design before as one of my BFF's has a large set exactly like these in her crystal and china cabinet. Being familiar with this line of glassware, I immediately knew that they were from the Fostoria product line of stemware.
Do you know about Fostoria stemware? The company started in the late 1890's and produced products for over 100 years. According to the Fostoria Glass Society of America,
The Fostoria Glass Company began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, on December 15, 1887. This location was chosen because natural gas at a recently opened location in the area had been offered at a very low cost to attract new industries. Just a few years short later in 1891, Fostoria moved to to Moundsville, West Virginia, where there was an abundance of gas and coal, and other needed materials close by for production purposes.
During its first ten years, Fostoria made pressed ware, but early in the 20th century the company realized the importance of developing fine quality blown stemware.
In 1924 Fostoria was one of the first to start a national advertising program, and the first to produce complete dinner services in crystal. Besides their regular line of blown, etched and pressed patterns they did custom work such as providing glass with official government seals for honoraries in Washington. All the presidents from Eisenhower through Reagan ordered glassware from Fostoria
At one time Fostoria was the largest maker of handmade glassware in the United States, employing nearly 1,000 people. Fostoria's business peaked in 1950 when they made over 8 million pieces of glass.
In 1986, after struggling with an outmoded plant and foreign competition, the Fostoria Company closed, ending nearly 100 years of glass making.
I got excited when I noticed these glasses. As I looked closer, I counted ten! They were very dusty and obviously had been on the shelf for quite some time. The furthest one in the back was housing a dead spider. A second one next to it had a live cricket trying to climb out of the side of the bowl. My eyes darted to the price tag. $23. I thought $23 per stem, that would be about the price I would expect, if not more. But, there was a handwritten smaller word written right next to the price. In small letters. It said, "set".
What? $23 for the entire set of 10 antique wine glasses? I couldn't believe it.
My excitement grew as I casually called the clerk over for clarification. After checking out the price tag, she confirmed what I read. All ten were available for $23. Total. With that, I suggested that if she would remove the bugs and set the glasses up where I could look closer for any cracks or chips, I would likely be making a purchase.
Every glass was in pristine condition. Not one ding in the bunch. What a steal! I asked the clerk to wrap the glasses up and paid. Twenty-three dollars, plus tax.
After a good hand washing and drying, these glasses now happily live on the newly painted shelves in my dining room, along with a few other basic entertaining items I brought with me from Arizona.
If you decide to pay me a visit in Fort Scott, Kansas, I can assure you that we will definitely be sipping Boisset wine out of these gorgeous glasses.
Until then, cheers!