Jeannette Glassware, originally Jeannette Bottle Works, was founded in 1888. The company, based in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, rebranded in 1898 and took on the name Jeannette Glassware. Interestingly, the town of Jeannette was not named for the glass company but for one of the founding father’s wives, Jeannette McKee.
As you might have guessed, originally, the company made glass bottles. In the 1920s, they began producing tableware and dinnerware, eventually producing depression glass patterns. Two patterns, Iris and Herringbone and Poinsettia are some of the most well-known depression glass patterns. Jeannette Glassware became the first company to fully automate manufacturing pink and green glass. This ability meant lower prices, which was significant during the Depression.
Remember the founding family of Jeannette, the McKees? It’s interesting to note that the McKee family had been involved in the glassware business since the 1830s, long before Jeannette Bottle Works came to town. In fact, the area surrounding Jeanette was quite popular for glass producers, thanks to the wealth of natural gas sources. Another famous company, Westmoreland Glass Company, operated within the same county. Several companies shared the area with Jeannette Glassware, and the area became known as Glass City. At one time, 70% of the world’s glass was produced in a 30-mile radius in Westmoreland County.
When Was Jeannette Glassware Made?
The company was founded in 1888 and focused on creating hand-blown bottles for the first few years of its life. As the economy changed, they began producing glass for a variety of industries, including the automotive and housing industries. By the time the 1920s rolled around, they were producing glass blocks and glass for headlights. Architects installed their line of Lazalite glass bricks-also known as prism glass, in sidewalks, so basements beneath ground level could have natural light.
Throughout its history, Jeannette produced several collectible glass patterns, purchasing the McKee glass company in the 1950s in order to produce more glass to meet the demands. Unfortunately, as the economy and desire for other forms of glassware changed in the 1980s, the company could no longer keep its doors open. They closed in 1983, just short of 100 years of production.
What Type of Glassware Did Jeannette Glassware Produce?
When the company moved to produce tableware and dinnerware, it flourished. In the 1920s, like many other companies, it focused on Depression Glass and Carnival glass. They also produced Glasbake, Jadeite, and Milk glass. This article addressed some of these styles below.
For many of their patterns, such as Iris and Herringbone, Poinsettia, and Gondola, they created a variety of finishes. This allowed customers to expand their collections or focus on the finish they enjoyed the most. One example is the satin finish of some of their crystal pieces, complete with hand-painted flowers.
Unlike other companies that focused on stemware or dinnerware only, the Jeannette team took their glass-making patterns to new heights by offering a wide variety of accessories. This included toothpick holders, salt and pepper shakers, candy bowls, and more.
They originally made their Iris and Herringbone pattern from crystal, specifically between the years 1928 and 1932. There were other crystal pieces made in the 1940s. Still, around that time, the company seemed to shift focus again. It began producing glassware to be gifted rather than the typical dinnerware sets. It is thought that this shift is why finding the original Jeannette dinnerware is harder.
Animal Themed Glassware
The Jeannette Glassware company seemed to be on the cutting edge, always willing to push their glass making in other directions. Today, you can find their animal-themed glass pieces on Etsy and eBay. The intricate pieces range from candy dishes to trinket holders.
Depression Glass Patterns
Jeannette Glassware was one of seven other companies that focused on creating Depression glass in a ten-year span between 1928 and 1938. In all, they produced fourteen collectible patterns during this time. One of these patterns, Cherry Blossom, has been widely reproduced over the years. The company also produced several children’s glassware sets.
Colors used for their Depression pieces included the traditional pink, blue, and clear. But as Jeannette often did, they thought beyond the norm and created pieces in a teal-blue green color. This color is widely known as ultramarine. Jeannette Glassware was the only company to use this color and created two complete pattern sets in Swirl and Doric and Pansy using this color. If you try to find these sets, Doric and Pansy is one of their children’s sets.
The company also produced a ribbed kitchenware pattern known as Jennyware in the 1930s. They created it in pink, clear, and ultramarine.
The Jeannette Glassware company was one of only three companies that produced Jadeite. It was primarily manufactured for forty years between 1920 and 1960. In the 1940s, it became widely accessible as the pieces were sold in hardware and department stores. Companies would often offer free pieces in return for purchasing complete sets.
In 1932, seeing the success of the McKee company’s opaque glassware, the Jeannette company produced its own line, called their opaque green glass Jadeite. Other companies have used this same name but in different spellings. The Jeannette company only produced Jadeite kitchenware. They did not originally produce this line in dinnerware. When they purchased the McKee company in the 1950s, they retained many of their molds for further production, allowing them to create other pieces using the McKee molds.
The McKee company originally produced Glasbake, starting in 1917. It was a line of heat-resistant cookware. When Jeannette purchased the company in the 1950s, they kept the molds and continued producing the line. They designed the cookware to compete with Pyrex. These pieces could go from oven to table with a focus on convenience. Many appreciated the fact that they could also place them in the refrigerator to ease storing leftovers.
As you can see, the history of the Jeannette Glassware company is varied, with the company producing a wide variety of glass pieces in several industries. It is difficult to find their original dinnerware. Still, a quick search of Jeannette Glassware produces quite a few options in accessory pieces.