Schenning’s book, A Century of Indiana Glass, (which
see) has cleared up much confusion which has long reigned in the
Early American Pattern Glass world.
And in addition to sorting out for SURE what glass was made by one company, Indiana Dunkirk, he has uncovered the answer to another great mystery!
Here’s the intriguing thing about this glass. Many of their patterns were distributed by the Lee Mfg. Co., “THE BIG RELIABLE PREMIUM HOUSE”, in their catalogs.
Lee Mfg. was a Chicago mail order outfit that sold products. And get this! If you thought women in the early 20th century were relegated to the kitchen..........
cover of the
1909 Lee Catalog
|...... Lee's products were sold “direct to the consumer through, lady agents”! So this was an actual turn-of-the-century forerunner of the 'Tupperware Party' selling modus! It is not known for sure how often these catalogs were issued - possibly yearly. The few that have been seen are dated only by the year - 1909, 1912, 1930, etc..|
are about 8 1/2” x 11” and some have well over 100 pages.
On the back page of the 1909 Catalog is the provision: “WE GIVE
PREMIUMS AND CASH FOR APPOINTING AGENTS”. Our lady agents “tell
other ladies about our method of doing business and they in turn make
among their friends and neighbors.” A pre-feminist “pyramid
Look at this 1930 catalog reprint at right! These enterprising ladies held parties in homes and sold Lee’s “dinner sets - tea sets - silverware - watches - beds - chairs - couches - lamps and many other useful articles.”
catalogs were given to their lady agents
for introducing LEE’S FAMILY SUPPLIES which included toiletries and kitchen
goods such as baking powder. They advertised “NO MONEY REQUIRED IN ADVANCE
- WE TRUST YOU”. And all premiums with goods were shipped before any payment
Premiums. This is where Grandma’s Indiana Glass came in..... it was the free premiums given with the purchase of Lee’s other merchandise. For instance, with the 40 cent purchase of Baking Powder & Dry Yeast Cakes you got a “Large 9 1/2” Cut Glass Pattern Oval Salad Bowl FREE!” Okay, so it wasn’t really “cut glass” - it was Indiana Dunkirk’s Gaelic pattern pressed
|Gaelic Pressed Pattern Salad Bowl FREE!|
But this was before “truth in advertising”, okay?
If you wanted to up the ante, for 85 cents you got Lee’s Baking Powder, Lee’s Washing Powder, Lee’s Tooth Soap & another bar of Lee’s soap with the FREE condiment set. This FREE Indiana Dunkirk Gaelic pattern condiment set consisted of a condiment tray, salt & pepper shakers, a cruet and a toothpick holder!!!! Just try and put that condiment set together for under $100 in 2014!
The company also sold Indiana Glass as shown in the catalog page “Plan No. 1644” showing pieces of their popular Panelled Strawberry (aka Strawberry with Roman Key Band) pattern.
|Gaelic Pattern Condiment Set FREE!|
$2 you got the seven piece water set with pitcher and 6 tumblers or
the four piece table set which included the covered sugar, creamer,
spooner and covered butter dish. Another “truth in advertising” slip-up;
the colors in the catalog were a far cry from the actual colored decor
on the glass.
See reprint at left.....
Panelled Strawberry Sets - $2.00 each!
Five cents got you Lee’s Baking Powder, Washing Powder, their
Princess Violet Talcum, a bar of Scouring Soap AND Wait! There's
More! .... a “cut
glass Tea Set” which, it turns out, was a Prosperity (aka Ferris
Wheel aka Lucile) pattern pressed glass four piece table set. It is
as “most beautiful in design, up-to-date and a gem of art.”.
Indeed, it is a collectible pattern today.
See reprint at right.....
Prosperity Pattern aka Ferris Wheel
similar purchase included a “cut glass pure white crystal tea
set” (four piece pressed glass table set) in the pattern that
Indiana Dunkirk called simply Pattern #124. It is very popular today
and known by collectors as the Daisy & Button With Narcissus pattern.
See reprint at left.....
Daisy & Button With Narcissus pattern Table Set FREE!
the years, Lee sold and gave away other Indiana, Dunkirk glass in EAPG
patterns such as Rosette with Pinwheels and Bismarc Star (aka Nebraska
pattern) as well as patterns in crystal and iridescent colors by other
glass companies including McKee, Jenkins and even Northwood.
An interesting piece of glass we all see but never are quite sure if it is an original piece or a reproduction is the Lord’s Supper tray. Lee sold the original and in a close-up of the picture from their 1930 catalog, it is easy to see the detail that is the giveaway for the original; there are “rays” surrounding Christ’s head. So far, this radiance does not appear on any of the many reproductions of this tray. This is just one of the surprising learning experiences to be found in these catalogs of yore.
| At Right are
some of the Early American Pattern Glass patterns shown in Lee's
From left: Daisy & Button with Narcissus covered butter dish, Prosperity aka Ferris Wheel 6" goblet, Panelled Strawberry aka Strawberry with Roman Key Band flat tumbler without the painted decor and a Gaelic pattern heart shaped nappy or nut dish .
Much more can be discovered about Indiana, Dunkirk glass in Craig Schenning’s book which is reviewed HERE.