Confusing Jadite Measuring CupsBy

Confusing Jadite Measuring Cups

A confusing set of opaque green glass or jadite measuring cups can be found in online auctions, malls, shows and markets.

The new four-piece set Fig. 1 is very similar to an original set made by Jeanette Glass Co. in the 1930s (Figs. 2 and 7). These cups have a flat tab-style handle; the sizes–1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup and 1/4 cup–are marked on the handles in molded lettering. Sizes are marked in both cups and ounces.

When the reproduction sets are openly offered as new merchandise, the price is usually $20 to $25. The source, or maker, of the new cups is unknown. Complete old sets usually sell for $124 to $175.

There are several features you can use to separate old from new. The easiest test is to use a long wave black light. The vintage Jeanette Glass Co. measuring cups fluoresce under black light Fig. 8. Old cups fluoresce bright yellow or bright greenish-yellow. New cups have no reaction. Fluorescence in old cups is quite strong and generally easily seen with even the small pocket-size and LED black lights.

Although the black light is the easiest and most reliable test, you can also separate new from old by examining some molded details. Bottoms in old cups, for example, are not as deeply recessed as bottoms in new cups. The bottoms in new cups are further away from the rim and appear deeper.

The bottom of the new cups is basically one continuous smooth surface running down from the rims and across the flat area. In the bottoms of old cups, there is a crease-like mold line that runs around the inner edge of the rim (Fig. 5).

Sometimes this line may be easier felt with a fingernail than seen. This is especially true if you're handling estate items that have accumulated years of kitchen grime. This line varies somewhat in depth among original pieces, but is nonexistent in the new cups.

Another clue, although less reliable than the black light and bottom rim tests, may appear in the handles. Handles in some, but not all, of the new cups have been noticed to sag and droop (Fig. 6). Handles in vintage cups virtually always extend straight and flat away from the cup body. If you notice a drooping handle, be extra careful when you examine the bottom rims and, if at all possible, put this piece under a black light test.

Collectors generally use "jadite" as a generic term for all opaque pale green glass made, ca. 1930-1950s. The Jeanette Glass brand name for this glass was "Jadite." Anchor Hocking's brand name for the same glass was "Jade-ite." McKee Glass Co., which introduced the first version of pale green opaque kitchen glass in 1932, sold its products under the name "Skokie green."

When discussing this glass in general, standard use is "jadite." Brand names are used when discussing products of a specific company.

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Fig. 1 This new set of tab-handled jadite measuring cups are virtually identical to similarly shaped cups made by Jeanette Glass Co. New sets averaged around $20 retail.

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Fig. 2 An original set of tab-handled Jadite measuring cups made by Jeanette Glass Co during the late 1930s. Old sets can sell for $124 to $175 or more.

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Fig. 3 Close-up of the bottom of an old Jeanette Glass Co. Jadite measuring tab-handled measuring cup. The rim around the bottoms of old cups is relatively shallow. Old bottom rims are only slightly higher than the flat bottom. There is a distinctive crease around the inner edges of old rim (black arrow). The new cups have a much higher rim and there is no crease around the inner edge of the rim. These features are shown in the cross-section line drawings below.

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Fig. 4

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Fig. 5

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Fig. 6 Drooping tab-handles can be another warning sign of the new cups. The great majority of original tab-handles are almost always perpendicular to the cups forming a nearly perfect right angle (arrow). Some of the new handles sag and droop.

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Fig. 7 Four-piece set of Jadite measuring cups as shown in a 1938 Jeanette Glass Co. catalog. Jeanette made a large line of kitchen glass in Jadite including storage boxes, canisters, shakers, reamers and bowls.

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Fig. 8 Original Jeanette Jadite tab-handled measuring cups fluoresce bright yellow-green under longwave black light. The new tab-handled measuring cups do not fluoresce.