New Greentown Glass

over 50 years of confusing copies and reproductions

The Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Co. of Greentown, Indiana made glass for only nine years, 1894-1903. Yet its original products, now commonly referred to as "Greentown Glass," are among the most expensive pieces of antique American pressed glass.

Since the 1950s, at least 12 American glass companies have made copies of Greentown's famous patterns and colors. This has left a market filled with fakes, reproductions and look-alikes. Fortunately, the vast majority of copies have been made in new molds (virtually all original molds were ruined when the factory was destroyed by fire in 1903). Understanding the differences between new and old molds is the key to identifying genuine Greentown and recognizing its many imitations.

These important differences are documented in a 96-page book, A Guide to Reproductions of Greentown Glass . The book was published by the National Greentown Glass Association, Inc and edited by James Measell.

Greentown's original Holly pattern toothpick holder in Golden Agate (Holly Amber), for example, is one of the rarest and most costly pattern glass toothpicks. Originals in good condition can sell for $575-$650 and are always in demand.

The Holly toothpick was first reproduced from a new mold by St. Clair Glass in the 1960s. In 1978 the mold was sold to Summit Glass. All original Greentown Holly toothpicks were made in a three-part mold. The mold used by St. Clair and Summit was also a three-part molds. In recent years, other reproduction toothpicks have appeared in four-part molds.

All four-part molded Holly toothpicks are automatically new. The easiest way to separate three-part mold originals from the three-part mold reproductions is to count the berries where the holly vine meets the three mold lines, or seams. Counting only the berries below the vine, the St. Clair and Summit reproductions have a single berry at one seam, two berries at another seam and three berries at the third seam. The original has a single berry at one seam and two berries at each of the two other seams (see Fig. 2).

The Holly pattern was also reproduced as a two-handled sugar bowl (Fig. 1). This piece should not pose a problem to collectors since there is no vintage counterpart. The original Greentown Holly covered sugar did not have handles (Fig. 1). All handled Holly sugars are new regardless of color.

New Holly tumblers have also been widely produced. Original tumblers are flared at the top rims; new tumblers are nearly perfectly straight sided (Fig. 4). Vines in old tumblers have clusters of one, two and three berries. Vines in new tumblers have only a single berry attached (Fig. 5).

Cactus is another famous Greentown pattern that has been reproduced in tumblers for many years (Fig. 7). There are two simple tests for separating original Cactus tumblers from reproductions. First, and this test applies to almost all original Cactus, look at the beading that surrounds the cactus plant. Beading on original pieces goes completely around and in between each and every segment of the plant. Beading on reproductions does not continue down between all the segments (Fig. 6).

Top rims on original Cactus tumblers also have a pronounced flare. Top rims on reproduction Cactus tumblers are nearly perfectly flat without a flare.

James Measell is a noted authority on antique glass and has written many articles and books on the subject..

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Fig. 1 The genuine Greentown covered sugar in Holly pattern, left, was never made with handles. All handled covered sugars in this pattern, right, are reproductions. The original is shown here in Golden Agate glass, commonly called Holly Amber by collectors. The reproduction is shown here in a copy of Greentown's famous Chocolate, a brown opaque glass.

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Fig. 2 To authenticate a Greentown Holly three-part mold toothpick holder, count the berries where the vine meets each of the three mold seams. Look only at the berries which appear below the vine. Reproductions have a single berry at one seam, two berries at another seam and three berries at the third seam. An original has a single berry at one seam and two berries at the two other seams. Remember, you are looking only at the berries below the vine. Use this test for the Holly toothpick holder only.

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Fig. 3 Comparison of old and new Holly pattern toothpick holders. Photo courtesy Natl Greentown Glass

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Fig. 4 Original Holly pattern tumbler, left, compared to a reproduction, right. Panels of holly vine alternate with panels of smooth glass separated by columns of raised beads.

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Fig. 5 Vines in original tumblers, left, have groups of one, two and three berries. Vines on reproduction tumblers have only single berries. Old vines and leaves have many veins and naturalistic texture. New leaves and vines are very simple and lack detail.

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Fig. 6 Beading on original Greentown Cactus pieces completely surrounds and goes in between the plant segments. Beading on the reproductions does not go in between all the segments.

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Fig. 7 Old and new Cactus tumblers. Photo courtesy Natl Greentown Glass Assn, Inc.

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