The company closed its West Virginia plant in early 1986, largely because of declining sales to international competition. Fostoria president Kenneth Dalzell said at the time, “Foreign imports have played a role [in the decision to close], very much so.”
But now, we can still look back on nearly 100 years of beautiful vintage Fostoria glass — from candelabra to stemware, in clear crystal or one of many colorful hues — that people have been using and collecting for generations.
The history of Fostoria glass (1971)
by Jabe Tarter – The Akron Beacon-Journal (Ohio) January 3, 1971
One of the most versatile yet least recognized glass houses to have its beginnings in Ohio is the Fostoria Glass Co., formed by Lucien B. Martin on December 15, 1887.
Fostoria was chosen because of the recent opening of an abundantly promising gas well. The company took the name of the town rather than a town being formed around a glass house and taking its name.
An interesting sidelight to the first president, L.B. Martin is that he was one of 17 children. His father was the man who operated a ferry across the Ohio River from a point called Jefferson, Ohio, to the West Virginia side.
This is not so unusual in itself. But the fact that the town of Jefferson lost its identity to become Martin’s Ferry, named for the man who operated the ferry, is unusual.
The gas well, so promising in 1887, played out in 1891, and the company moved its site to the present location of Moundsville, West Virginia.
Martin began his career as a salesman for the Hobbs, Brockunier & Company of Wheeling, W.Va., where he remained until he opened the glass house in Fostoria.
The Fostoria Glass Co., along with a score of other glass houses, joined the National Glass Co., a combine in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1891. Fostoria is one of the few companies which did not lose identity and become a numbered factory.
Merging with National or U.S. Glass Co. many of the early factories lost their identity, and thereby left a hole in research of later years.
Martin became sales manager for the parent firm when Fostoria Glass Co. joined the National Glass Co. He later went to Hocking Glass Co. in Lancaster, Ohio, later to become the Anchor-Hocking Glass Co.
Operations of the Fostoria Glass Co. have been continuous in the same location from their initial move to the present. It is now operated under the direction of a member of the Dalzell family of Findlay Glass fame.
One of the most famous patterns usually attributed to other glass houses is the Victoria pattern, named for the great queen.
It was a pressed piece in scalloped rim with frosted or ground background for scrolls. This piece has been attributed to the Cambridge Glass Co., Imperial, Findlay Glass Co., and Dalzell, maker of the famous crystal from Findlay [who was the president of Fostoria in the 1980s].
Correctly, the Victoria Scroll is a product of the Fostoria Glass Co., just before its move from Ohio to West Virginia.
Patterns and their variants number in the hundreds. But the brilliant pressed and wheel-polished glass was numbered among the pressed glass which spelled the demise of cut glass.
The Brazilian pattern was copied from one of the hob star patterns in cut glass. The crossed shields variant was a combination of cane and clear panels.
During the cutting and etching period at Cambridge, Heisey and Tiffin Glass Companies, Fostoria held its own with the best of them. And while these companies are now out of business, Fostoria is still going strong with desirable etches, frosted and cut crystal.
Fostoria Glass Co., because of the quality of its glass, is one of the few chosen by the Henry Ford Museum to reproduce some of the Sandwich glass from the original Sandwich glass molds.
As late as 1969 and early 1970, Rebecca at the Well, an original Sandwich pattern, was reproduced on a very limited basis by this company.
A type of coin glass has come forth in recent years from Fostoria. This is not to be confused with the early and rare coin glass from Wheeling Glass Co. Fostoria’s coin bears the date of 1887 in colored as well as clear. This was the year the company was formed.
Fostoria suggestions for early Christmas shoppers (1934)
Fostoria makes it possible for you to give really beautiful presents at surprisingly little expense. Be sure to see Fostoria’s beautiful stemware and dinnerware in crystal and in combinations of crystal and colors, including Fostoria’s exciting new Oriental Ruby.
Featuring a lovely glass tea warmer, prismed candlestick, two cocktail shakers, bar glass plus ice strainer, 5-compartment tray and fruit bowl.
“For Christmas presents…” (1934)
Fostaria suggests some lovely glass leaf and bird shaped dishes for small snacks, bubble candy jar, cocktail shakers and decanters for liquor. These are just a few of Fostoria’s almost endless creations in beautiful glassware.
Fostaria’s “Flame” line of glass candelabras (1930s)
A stunning new candelabrum at a thrillingly low price rosters Flame is one of those harmoniously beautiful creations that are produced only once in a generation.
Especially designed for Fostoria this fall, Flame comes at the right moment. For not in 30 years have candelabra been so fashionable, so smart as they are today.
Fostoria’s Colony Crystal (1938)
Beautifully expressive of the past… reflecting just the right note for contemporary entertaining. Colony is the answer for table accessories that yearn to be different.
Its ruffled lines spiral gracefully to catch the tossed reflections of candlelight… the colorful brilliance of tables bubbling with new ideas. Price? Don’t furrow your brow. Colony is always a comfort to every budget.
From cocktails to Cognac (1934)
Correct repeal assortments of really charming glassware.
- Penthouse service… the customary essentials for correct table service of wines and liqueurs.
- Hostess service… a satisfyingly adequate stock of glassware for those whose entertainment requirements assume more than ordinary proportions.
- Embassy service… for the occasional dinner of exceptional formality.
- Sideboard service… standard equipment for every home.
Glass is a thrilling gift (1930)
Not a woman lives who would not be delighted with a gift of Fostoria glassware. It has an exquisite, vivacious beauty… and the additional charm of being useful and practical.
You may want to give… or own… or give because you would like to own… merely a bit of glass, to add brilliance to a living-room… or a whole dinner-service, to form a colorful setting for the civilized ritual of dining.
Perhaps you are interested in stemware. There is a Fostoria glass for every kind of toast. Goblets that are bold and modern, liqueur glasses delicate and fine.
There are colors for every mood and every scheme of decoration. A warm Rose, a glamorous Azure, a brilliant Topaz, Amber, Green, clear Crystal, sophisticated Ebony.
To the making of vases there is no end… (1930)
The desire to arrange blossoms gracefully has always inspired the artist. Through the ages, he has sought to make his own creation, the vase, deserving of the loveliness it was to hold. Sometimes, like the ancient Greeks, he succeeded brilliantly. But how often his efforts have resulted in mere ”containers.”
A vase of startling though simple beauty, like chis Fostoria piece, is still news of the first importance in the smartest shops of any smart city.
Cleverly enough, it was designed to complement, rather than to overpower, the blossoms or sprays of foliage you are to arrange in it. It is modern enough to appear in the same room with a Modigliani or a bronze of Brancusi’s, though it could be used with equal harmony on a maple tavern table.
It may be had in the wide range of Fostoria colors… rose, green, azure, topaz, crystal or black.
Vintage Fostoria glass: There’s a “Master-Etching” for every setting… (1939)
Sampler… traceries delicate as frost express the patient and piquant beauty of the ancient cross-stitch art.
Navarre… a design that follows the Parisian craftsmanship inspired by Henry the Great, builder of the Tuileries and the great gallery of the Louvre.
Colonial Mirror… its exquisite simplicity completes the stateliness of a Federal setting.
These three are but significant of scores for your selection, each a tribute to your good taste. For gifts or for keeps, every one is exquisite. But never expensive. And all are open stock for years to come.
“To you I love best, I give you Crystal for Christmas” (1939)
You may conspire to hide your Fostoria gifts deep beneath the tree for a Christmas climax, but chances are you’ll give them first, impatient to share the thrill that giving brings. For last or first, Fostoria is always an invitation to lasting thanks.
Of all selections, none are more exquisite than the newest handcrafted pieces… frosty morning-glories deep laid beneath a smooth lucent surface…or a brocade design that stirs the worldliest heart… or a polished laurel motif gilding the simple beauty of a lustrous crystal vase.
Crystal Cuttings for those you love best (1939)
How gracious is the gift that meets the greatest expectations of those you love best! For such a gift, you’ll want stemware with the rich vitality that only master craftsmen can bring.
Then let it be Fostoria. Whatever the design, for colonial schemes or ultramodern settings, Fostoria is always distinctive, appropriate and practical.
It’s thrilling to give and thrilling to get! Or just as tempting to keep. But giving or keeping, it’s comforting to know that for priceless beauty, Fostoria Crystal is exceptionally inexpensive.
“American” has everything (1939)
How comforting it is to have a complete set of crystal. How easy when you choose and add to Fostoria’s “American” pattern!
Its sparkle catches every eye. Its simple colonial beauty is impressive in any setting. Its jewel-like brilliance is appropriate for smart entertaining. Its rugged quality is ideal for everyday use.
And best of all, “American” has everything… over 200 separate pieces. So let’s inventory your cupboard. Do you need fruit juice tumblers, goblets, cocktail glasses or salad plates? A flower bowl, a vase or a relish dish?
Sentimental moments call for Romance (1942)
Memories of you: linger long when thoughtfulness and beauty mark the gifts you give.
For weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other sentimental occasions, such a gift is readily found in Romance, a Fostoria “Master-Etching” distinguished by lovely tracery, sparkling clarity, and graceful lines.
Give Crystal… (1942)
… for home, a haven of peace
… for Christmas, a day of beauty.
Be sure this Christmas your gifts have a special significance… gifts that are lasting, but truly lovely, too… that capture the spirit of Christmas and hold it for years to come. “Master-Etchings” are such gifts. They add an extra lift to the holiday season.
In complete sets or single accessory pieces. You’ll love them for yourself, And you’ll be proud to send them: to your most cherished friends.
What would you bid for antiques like this? (1942)
The sparkling swirl effect is of colonial origin. But open-stock Colony has the clarity of modern handcrafting. It’s a design for a quiet gathering of genial friends… for gifts of the character you would like to get… for table settings that rise to the occasion and shine with good cheer, And so inexpensive, a complete service won’t affect your Bond buying.
Lovely for a Crystal Christmas (1948)
For the young bride, enchanted by her first party at home, for you who are past the Silver Wedding… for any bride of today, yesterday or any day, lovely, lucent stemware is a never-ending source of inspiration.
Fostoria’s Meadow Rose, for instance, is designed to keep your hour of charm always brilliant.
It’s one of America’s favorite “Master-Etchings,” handmade by skilled American craftsmen… for a Crystal Christmas or a happy surprise any time. At the better stores everywhere.
Lovely as “Oh promise me” (1948)
For generations, brides who insist on superlative crystal quality have selected handmade Fostoria: cuttings, pressed crystal or hand-laid etchings, all are sumptuous and exquisite.
For instance, the cutting Laurel is a proud selection with simplicity and radiance to touch up spritely settings.
The wise bride specifies Fostoria… and you, to give or to get, will find yours or hers at the better stores everywhere.
Gifts for those you love (1949)
Now you can choose magnificent possessions for those you love… crystal you’ll cherish to keep or he proud to give.
Chintz, for instance, is one of Fostoria’s favorite “Master-Etchings”… a fluid crystal hand-laid with a frosty fringent pattern… a rhythmic decoration in the traditional manner and lovely for your newest look in tables bright and spritely.
Lovely to sparkle Christmas giving (1948)
When the Christmas spirit starts to tingle, you can be choosy without jumping your budget. Give American, handmade by skilled American craftsmen.
It’s one of Fostoria’s favorite patterns: the prismatic rhythm catches the eye… a friendly colonial beauty, impressive in every setting.
So durable, so ideal for everyday use… and cheerful for cozy hospitality. And so complete: over 180 open-stock pieces for your selection in the better stores everywhere.
Sparkle to flatter and thrill (1949)
Don’t despair when good living runs high. Fostoria’s inimitable American pattern solves everything in tableware.
Each piece captures the brilliance of the fire that gave it birth… then molded and finished by hand with that exquisite artistry which only skilled craftsmanship can control. And so astonishing!
Why is Fostoria Milk Glass so admired? (1950s)
You’ll know how much Fostoria Milk Glass is admired the first time your friends see it!
You’ll hear them “oh” and “ah” about its porcelain-like beauty, its milky-white smoothness. But that’s just part of the reason Fostoria Milk Glass is so prized.
You see, Fostoria means authentic milk glass, crafted just like the priceless antiques of Early America. Each piece is made by hand, molded and shaped one at a time by painstaking craftsmen. Each piece, truly a work of art.
Vintage Fostoria “Chintz” glassware ad (1952)
Fostoria… so beautiful, so right. (1952)
What woman doesn’t make a secret curtsey in her heart at the sight of fine Fostoria crystal? A favorite among hand-cut designs is Holly, used in this lovely buffet setting.
Vintage Fostoria glass: So proudly we hail (1950)
You’ll want this bewitching stemware, in luminous amethyst for your table drama. Or you may prefer the cool tranquility of clear crystal.
Whichever your choice, American Lady stemware will match the solid splendor of Fostoria’s table accessories in the American pattern… all handmade by American craftsmen.
Colonial Dame for a melody of color (1950)
The quaint and charming Colonial Dame dressed with a gorgeous Empire Green bowl pendant to a swirling base.
For you to give or get, there’s nothing nicer than Colony in clear crystal and Colonial Dame resplendent in color.
Fostoria’s “Wedding Ring” (1955)
Is it possible for Fostoria’s “Wedding Ring” to last as long as yours?
Of course. Like your finger, this lovely stemware is ringed with a precious metal (in this case platinum) which lasts approximately forever.
Being fused right in, it’s there for the life of the crystal. With care, you could well have the satisfaction of handing down your Fostoria to your daughter.
Fostoria’s “Rose” glassware (1954)
Would a quick look tell you Fostoria’s “Rose” is made by hand?
Even supposing you don’t recognize handblown crystal on sight, (and you probably do), there’s no mistaking the hand-work in this design.
Fostoria’s Rose is cut by hand, petal by petal. (She loves me, she loves me not, she loves me!) The single flower, bold and beautiful, is rendered on a graceful, bell-like shape — and notice the turned-spool stems.
Fostoria’s “American” glassware set (1954)
What makes a design like Fostoria’s “American” so ageless?
To put it one way — because good design doesn’t go “out of style.” You see patterns similar to American in collections of antique glassware.
American, itself, is the pride of thousands of tables across the country.
The fun of shopping hand-molded Fostoria crystal (1950s)
See how this crystal sparkles? It’s hand-molded Fostoria crystal. American pattern. Those newlyweds on your list will love it.
Fostoria Jamestown colored goblets (1962)
Shown in blue, green, pink, amethyst, amber and brown
For American royalty (and your friends). Since our constitution insists your son can be President (it’s up to him), that makes you about as royal as you could wish.
Perhaps with this in mind, Fostoria’s latest inspiration is the glittering splendor of old-world royal and imperial headpieces.
We offer you these historic shapes in sparkling hand-molded crystal, convinced that even the most modern interior is enhanced by a touch of elegance out of the past.
Fostoria is the art of giving beautifully (1967)
Living beautifully is giving it in Fostoria glass. Flowers in a lovely Decorator Compote.
Candles in handsome Sandwich Candlesticks, or fruit in Fostoria’s reproduction of the Pressed Block Bowl. Both from the Henry Ford Museum Collection.
This is the kind of giving that does credit your reputation. That makes people want to open your gifts first — or save till last. Because they know there’s always something special and unusual inside.
In Fostoria glass… (1964)
…the lively new look in giving!
This is flair… whether you’re cookie baker or candy maker, or go to the store to buy it, if you give this kind of gift — and who doesn’t — can you think of a more inspired way to give it than in glamorous Fostoria crystal?
Your imagination will be applauded, your goodies enjoyed, and the Fostoria will go right on giving after the “whatever’s” gone! Merry? Very, And bright!
Not only for the holidays, but for anniversaries, birthdays, housewarmings… for dozens of other special occasions.
ALSO SEE: 50 vintage Libbey glasses from the ’70s
The Beautiful Things (1968)
To make things happen around your house. With the savoir flair that distinguishes your way of dress.
“Objects” of crystal, handcrafted by Fostoria. For flowers, for fruit, for pure decoration. For candles, for candy, for delicious surprise. The wink of a ruby urn in the bath. The wit of stirring Henry Ford Museum Collection pieces into contemporary decor. Or — the magic vice versa.
[Shown:] A bit of the infinitely important excitement by Fostoria. To covet. And bestow. If you wish to give the ultimate compliment. At finer stores everywhere. Or, send 10c for color brochure of Fostoria’s glamorous handblown stemware…
Chic, chunky colored glass from Fostoria (1970)
Smoldering ruby. Deep amethyst. Black. The maharani’s jewels to set your table with chic!
Splendorous colors. Sizzling styles. With flair in their very names: flaming orange, lemon twist, pink lady for example.
Handmolded by Fostoria with texture a great chunk-of-glass feel… or handmade into brilliant baubles.
The Fostoria glass factory outlet in Florida (1977)
The art of American glassmaking was first practiced by Fostoria over 90 years ago at Moundsville, West Virginia.
Homemakers soon came to recognize the craftsmanship and value of Fostoria glass. In time, these traditional values were passed from one generation to another.
Today’s homemakers, ever alert for beauty and value, have learned about Fostoria Glass Factory Outlet here in Orlando, Florida. Because we are a factory outlet, our customers save up to 60% off regular prices…. last year, more than 175,000 people, from 46 states, shopped our store for traditional beauty and value.
Yes, it’s true. Fostoria Glass Factory Outlet is the only place of its kind in the entire United States. Visit us soon. You’ll find us at Interstate 4 and Colonial Drive (Route 50)…
NOW SEE THIS: Fancy vintage Fenton glass from the 1960s & 1970s