The Federal Glass Company
The Federal Glass Company was established as a hand operation in 1900 in Columbus, Ohio. In the beginning they made pressed wares. Some of the early products had needle etchings. Federal had the foresight to anticipate the public demand for large quantities of reasonably priced glassware. They made the switch to automation and by the 1920's they were one of the foremost companies in the production of cheap machine-made tumblers and jugs. During the 1930's Federal was one of the leaders in the production of machine pressed, mold etched colored dinnerware. In the 1940's the firm expanded into the food service industry. During the next few decades it became a leading supplier to commercial institutions worldwide. In 1958, the company became a division of the Federal Paper Board Company. Federal remained active in the production of glassware for many years. A popular Depression pattern--Madrid--was even reintroduced as "Recollection" glassware as part of Federal's American Bicentennial celebration. This later amber issue was marked with a "'76" and the color is slightly darker than the color of the original Madrid. After Federal's closing in 1979, Indiana Glass Company acquired these Federal Recollection molds. The date was removed and pieces were made in crystal, light blue and pink.
Information for this brief history was adapted from the book "Colored Glassware Of The Depression Era 2" by Hazel Marie Weatherman. This wonderful book shows many old Federal catalog reprints and is a great source of information on Depression Glass.
Federal Depression Era Patterns
Federal Colonial Fluted "Rope"
- (1928-32) (Crystal, Green)
This simple Federal dinnerware pattern is free
of frills. This pattern is usually marked with the Federal Backstamp. It may be recognized by the rope border surrounding a series of panels. The pattern lacks tumblers, and accessory pieces. Federal may have wanted this pattern to be accompanied by its kitchenware accessories. A dinner plate which we have seen lacks the panels that most Colonial Fluted pieces have. However, this plate does have the rope border and we believe it was sold as Colonial Fluted. Many kitchen item collectors today use this pattern as a basic set to show off their kitchen collectibles.
-(1937-1941) (Amber, Crystal, Crystal Decorated, Pink, Frosted Colors)
Diana is a pretty swirled pattern produced by the Federal Glass Company, which was located in Columbus, Ohio. Diana is one of the few Depression Glass patterns to have a demitasse cup and saucer set. These cups and saucers were only made in crystal and pink. There are full-sized dinner plates and plenty of serving pieces. The moderate pricing of Diana helps to establish new collectors for this attractive pattern. Hard to find pricey items include the demitasse sets, tumblers, and salt and pepper shakers.
--(1931-1936) (Amber, Crystal, Green)
This beautiful pattern has a basket of flowers on one side and two pretty parakeets side by side on the opposite side. The Federal Glass Company began production of Georgian in 1931. This pattern is found predominately in green. Crystal hot plates are fairly common but other crystal pieces would be considered rare. I have never seen a piece of amber Georgian but the sherbet has been reported to exist in this color.
-(1932-1939) (Amber, Blue, Crystal, Green, some Iridescent, Pink)
The Federal Glass Company produced the Madrid pattern. It was one of Federal's largest offerings. A complete dinnerware set can be obtained. The listing is extensive. Madrid was the most popular Depression Glass amber pattern ever produced. There are three sizes of pitchers, and numerous styles of tumblers. Serving pieces can be found for most every occasion. Rare items include an ashtray and gravy boat. This set is fun to collect and attracts many admirers today.
Madrid was reissued in amber in 1976 by the Federal Glass Company. These later pieces are marked with the date hidden in the pattern. Reissued Madrid is over 30 years old and has its own following today. This New Madrid was called "Recollection" and was issued to celebrate the American Bicentennial.
In the 1980s Indiana made Madrid in crystal, pink and blue. Most of the molds for this issue were changed drastically. Tumblers, shakers, candlesticks, and the cake plate do not even remotely resemble the older pieces. The dinner plate, oval bowl, flat soups, cups and saucers, and butter dish molds do have mold differences, but these are harder to detect. The colors though are a dead give-away. The blue is much brighter then the old blue color and the pink is a washed out version of the old.
Federal Parrot (Sylvan)
- (1931-1932) (Amber, Some Crystal, Green)
Parrot is another Federal pattern among the Depression Glass Top 10 in popularity. This pretty pattern with two large embossed parrots has fascinated collectors for years. Parrot was produced by The Federal Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio. Green is the most collectible color. Pitchers are considered rare and are almost impossible to find. Tumblers, the butter dish and salt and pepper shakers are on the list of very hard to find in both green and amber.
-(1933-1937) (Amber, Crystal, Green, Pink)
The Federal Glass Company of Columbus, Ohio produced this Depression Glass pattern. This pattern is often referred to as "Spoke." This is an early name given to this pattern by collectors. A complete setting of Patrician can be found in all of the production colors. There is more amber found in the Patrician pattern than in any other color. Today, Patrician is one of the best selling amber Depression Glass patterns. Hard to find items in all colors include bowls, and tumblers. The cookie jar is extremely rare in green or pink. The pink butter dish is also very hard to find. Amber dinner plates are plentiful and are usually reasonable in price. Dinner plates in green and pink are hard to find and command a higher price.
Federal Rosemary ("Dutch Rose")
-(1935-1937) (Amber, Green, Pink)
This lovely pattern is another rose pattern that is sometimes confused with Sharon. However, this pattern mixes roses with arches to border the edges of the pieces. Rosemary was a fairly small dinnerware set that consists of only 13 different pieces. Amber pieces are abundant. Collecting green and pink is much harder, but a set can be found if you are persistent. This pattern can be used with both Mayfair (Federal) and Sharon since it incorporates elements from both patterns into its design. The hardest pieces to find are the tumblers and cream soups.
- (1938-1942) (Crystal, Pink)
Federal produced this popular stylized dinnerware pattern. The pattern is heavy and stands up to a great deal of use and abuse. At one time crystal was collected due to its availability and economical prices. The plates (9 1/2" luncheon plates are as large as most dinner plates) and bowls are large and serviceable. While book prices have crept up in the last few years, this pattern can still be found priced reasonably. Of course more of it is found in the Ohio area then in other areas because that is where it was made. A complete set of Columbia (minus the tumblers) in pink is beautiful, but it is extremely hard to find and is very pricey.
- (Crystal, Pink, Green) (1931-1936)
Fruits is a pattern that has been attributed to Hazel Atlas. Hazel Marie Weatherman's book on Depression Era Glassware shows Federal catalog reprints of the Fruits tumblers in a 1936 catalog. This listing pictures both the mixed fruit pattern and the pear pattern. Gene Florence states that the handle on the pitcher matches the Hazel Atlas pitcher in the Florentine pattern. On close inspection of the pitcher you become aware that the handles are distinctly different. Hazel Atlas may have made some pieces of the fruits pattern and if this pattern were found in yellow I might be convinced. For now we prefer to list Fruits as a Federal production.
-(1934) ( Amber, Crystal, Green)
Most of the Federal Mayfair found today is amber, but acquiring a set of crystal is also possible. With a great deal of perseverance you may be able to complete a set in green, but green is seldom found. When it is seen the prices are usually high. This pretty rose pattern was produced for a very short time period and then the molds were then altered to produce the popular Rosemary pattern (shown below). Many Mayfair collectors mix Rosemary (Dutch Rose) with their pattern to help complete a set. These patterns complement each other and look great together. Mayfair is a beautiful pattern and well worth the effort to find.
-(1933-1940) (Amber, Crystal, Iridescent, Pink)
The Federal Glass Company produced this pretty Depression Glass pattern. Normandie was not as popular a pattern as Madrid (one of the top 20 Depression Era Patterns). That may have been because it was only offered in Pink and Amber in the early years. The pattern is an attractive basketweave pattern and it does have a collector following. It is a bit difficult to put a set together since less of it was produced, but it is well worth the effort. Quite a few people are collecting the iridescent color Normandie. Iridescent pieces were made closer to the end of the Normandie production period. Iridescent is a marigold finish that was (in this case) fired on over crystal. Quite a few pieces of Normandie were produced in the iridescent Marigold color. Unfortunately the iridescent set did not include a pitcher and tumbler set (as far as we know). It did include dinner plates, cups and saucers, and various sizes of bowls and plates. There were quite a few serving dishes as well. This is a great pattern, and if you decide to add to your collection you will love it..
Federal Pear Optic ("Thumbprint")
- (1927-30s) (Crystal, Green)
Pear Optic, commonly called "Thumbprint" by collectors, is a pretty pattern that was introduced as a beverage set. Although it is a small set compared to some of the other Federal patterns, cups and saucers, plates, jugs and vases can be found.
Federal Raindrops (Pebble Optic)
-(Green, Crystal) (1927)
Raindrops is a simple pattern which, of course, got its name from the pattern of dots that symmetrically decorate each piece. Raindrops was sold as a luncheon set. The listing was limited. It was not as popular a seller as many Federal patterns. As a result, not a great many pieces are found today. Bowls are difficult to find in this pattern. Most collectors of Raindrops use pieces to complement their collection of green Depression kitchenware.
Federal Sharon ("Cabbage Rose") (1935-1939)
- (Amber, Crystal, Pink, Green)
Sharon is one of the most popular patterns in the Depression Glass Category. The Federal Glass Company produced this awesome pattern. Pink is the most plentiful color and, of course, there are more collectors of pink than any of the other colors. Green is also very popular but is harder to find. Amber has its share of loyal followers as well. Hard to find pieces of Sharon include thick tumblers, flat soups, cream soups, and pitchers. The pink cheese dish is considered rare. There is also an uncut footed tumbler that was made into a lamp that is impossible to find.
Federal Kitchen Items, Barware, and Miscellaneous
Federal Amber Tab Handle Orange Reamer (Golden Glo)
The Federal Glass Company made more amber glassware during the Depression, than any of their major competitors. They made full lines of dinnerware patterns such as Madrid and Patrician and to make sure you could complete your kitchen they concentrated on a large line of Kitchenware as well. They made leftovers, reamers, butter dishes, mixing bowls, and pitchers and tumblers. If you collect amber Depression Glass this is the best grouping of kitchenware to be found in this color. The great thing about Federal kitchenware is that it can be mixed with pieces of amber glassware made by some of the other companies.
Federal No. 2523 One Pound Butter
- (1930s) (Amber, Crystal, Pink)
Amber was the largest kitchenware line made by Federal, but they also made a good assortment of pink kitchen items to accompany their pink Depression Glass sets. These kitchen items were popular and were often found in the homes of persons who owned Depression Glass dinnerware sets made by other companies. Leftover sets, butter dishes, mixing bowls, and measuring cups were made in pink. Kitchen pitchers and tumbler sets were also made in may shapes and sizes for kitchen use.
Federal Tab Handle Lemon Reamer
Federal did not make a full line of kitchen items in green. Their kitchen glass in this color was very limited. Pitcher and tumbler assortments and plain green dinnerware were made. Measuring cups and reamers were also produced, but the other items mentioned above in amber and pink were not made. Perhaps this is because Federal produced more amber and pink glassware than other colors and was noted for these colors.
Federal Handleless One Cup Measure
(Early 1930's) (Amber, Crystal, Green)
Federal Glass produced this handleless 3-spout one cup measure during the 1930's. It was made in amber crystal and green. Although federal produced an abundance of amber glassware, this measuring cup is not often seen in amber.