Greentown Dog Head toothpick holdersBy

Greentown Dog Head toothpick holders

new and old

Products from the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company of Greentown, Indiana–commonly called Greentown Glass–are among the most highly sought pieces of American pressed glass.

All Greentown Glass is relatively scarce because of the limited years it was made. The business began in 1894 and closed only nine years later in 1903 when the factory was destroyed by fire.

Among the rarest Greentown pieces is a figural Dog Head toothpick. Originals were made in an opaque green the company called Nile Green, a brown slag called Chocolate, in clear, frosted clear and blue. Depending on color, originals can sell for $400 to $700.

This shape has been reproduced since at least the late 1960s in a wide variety of colors. Some pieces–like those in vaseline, milk glass and others–are obviously new because such colors were not part of the original production. Other new pieces in traditional colors are less obvious.

Perhaps the best way to separate old from new is to look at the dog's left ear. On originals, the left ear narrows into a slightly cup-shaped tip (arrow, Fig. 2) Left ears on reproductions are shorter and end in an almost straight, chopped-off line. This gives the new left ear a broad, squared look (Fig. 1).

The most confusing copies of the Dog Head toothpick were made by St. Clair Glass from about 1960-1970. Their version of Nile Green was quite close to the original color; their Chocolate was good, but less accurate than the green. Other St. Clair colors were clear, ruby and iridized cobalt all of which were never made in original production.

Although many pieces of St. Clair glass are permanently marked, the St. Clair copy of the Greentown Dog Head is not usually marked. The only St. Clair marked Dog Head pieces we know of are souvenir items that are marked with the sponsor's name–such as the Carnival Glass Collectors Association–and a date.

The Dog Head mold is now owned by Summit Glass. That company has made the piece in new vaseline glass. It has also made other colors in the past. Other than colors never made originally, color is not an absolute test of age. Color among originals varies considerably from piece to piece.


Fig. 1 Reproduction Dog Head toothpick holder. Left ear does not end in a narrow rounded tip; it ends in a broad, flat area. Compare to original in Fig. 2.


Fig. 2 Authentic Greentown Dog Head toothpick holder. Note the left ear is fully formed and tapers to narrow, rounded tip. Collection of the Public Museum of Grand Rapids. Used with permission.


Fig. 3 Current reproduction in vaseline glass; fluoresces under black light. Note shorter left ear.


Fig. 4 Reproduction from 1970s, brown slag glass. Bottom of left ear is broad and flat, does not narrow at end.


Fig. 5 Original Dog Head; frosted blue. Tip of left ear fully developed. Courtesy James Measell, A Guide to Reproductions of Greentown Glass, © 1970.