Greentown DustpanBy Dr. James S. Measell
For over twenty years, I have tried (alas, in vain!) to discover the glass company(s) which reproduced the Greentown Dustpan.
The Dustpan is one of the most interesting of the so called "novelty" items made by the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company. The shorter name "Greentown" is generally used for the items made at this factory because it was located in Greentown, Indiana. It was in operation from mid 1894 to June of 1903 when it was destroyed by fire. Authentic Dustpans were made in transparent clear, amber, blue, and canary glass as well as Chocolate and Nile Green opaque glass.
Original Greentown Dustpans (shown on the right) have the crisp overall detail typical of early 20th century American press-molded glass. The inside of the dustpan is smooth; the reverse side has a waffle-like design which is well executed with sharp clear lines. The handle is faceted and ends in a knob-like projection. From the tip of the handle to the opposite edge, it measures a little less than 3¾". From corner to corner, it measures just a bit over 3¾".
I saw the first reproductions (shown on the left) about 1967, when one was offered to me as authentic. Differences from the Greentown Dustpan were readily apparent. The knob on the reproduction's handle is much wider across than the original. Facets on new handles are poorly defined and have blunt, rounded edges. Most importantly, the waffle-like detail on the reverse of the Dustpan is not as sharp or crisp as the original.
I have seen the reproductions only in amber and blue, and, at first, I thought they might just be similar dustpans made by one of Greentown's turn of the century competitors. But most had the soapy feel and vinegar-like odor often found on currently reproduced glass. My best guess in 1967 was that the reproduction dustpans were made by the Kemple Glass Works of Kenova, West Virginia.
An inquiry in 1968 was answered by Mrs. John Kemple, who did not think the firm made them, although she related that they had acquired many molds and copied many old designs for both patterns and novelties over the years. I saw half a dozen blue and amber reproduction dustpans in a small gift shop shortly thereafter (priced at $2 each) and, although the owner had many other pieces of Kemple-made glass, she could not verify the manufacturer because the glass had been purchased through a wholesaler who carried many factory's lines.
In 1978, I saw a small catalog from a "glass outlet" store in West Virginia which was selling out its stock, and the reproduction dustpans (now priced at $2.50 each) were shown in a section of all Kemple glass. Since then, I've talked to numerous gift shop owners and several folks who are knowledgeable about Kemple glass but I've not been able to link the reproduction dustpans to Kemple Glass beyond a "shadow of a doubt."
Dr. James S. Measell is the author of Guide to Reproductions of Greentown Glass.