Greentowns Cat on HamperBy Dr. James S. Measell
Greentown's Cat on Hamper
"Greentown Glass" refers to the products of the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company. It operated at Greentown, Indiana from mid-1894 to June 1903 when the plant was destroyed by fire. The factory produced pattern glass as well as novelty items such as animal dishes.
Most of these pieces are in typical transparent colors which include amber, blue, canary and emerald green. Greentown also produced the unique Golden Agate glass which is called Holly Amber today. But Greentown's real fame lies in two opaque colors: Nile Green and Chocolate Glass (also called caramel slag).
One of the most popular animal dishes in Greentown Glass is the Cat on Hamper. There are two versions known to collectors as the Tall and the Low but only the Low has been reproduced. The reproductions were made by the Summit Art Glass Company.
Greentown's original Tall Cat on Hamper is easy to distinguish from Summit's reproductions. The lids are quite different. The authentic lid (Fig. 1-right) is nearly flat and has a rather close-knit basketweave pattern. The reproduction lid (Fig. 1-left) has gently sloping sides and a rather loose basketweave pattern. The horizontal oval at the base of the cat's neck is also much more pronounced in the reproduction than the original. Detail work in the cat's fur is also generally weaker on the reproductions than on the originals.
The bases are also different. The major difference is the semicircular section near the lower third of the old base (Fig. 2, white arrow). That section is missing in the new base. In authentic bases, individual reeds of the basketweave pattern go up and over the corner edges. The Summit reproductions have smooth vertical corner edges with no single reeds.
The authentic Greentown Cat on Hamper dish is known in clear crystal and a variety of colors including amber, blue (both teal and cobalt), canary, emerald green, opaque white, Nile Green, and Chocolate Glass. Some Chocolate specimens have a reddish-amber color that appears in the cat's ears and in the triangles at the top of each side. Chocolate glass collectors call this color Red Agate.
Summit's reproductions come in a rainbow of colors: canary, green, light orchid pink, opaque light green, opaque red slag, opaque power blue and pale chocolate. Most are marked with Summit's "V" in a circle trademark molded on the exterior of the base; the lids are unmarked Russell Vogelsong is Summit's proprietor, hence the "V".
The mark is very weak on some of the transparent colors. I have seen a number of green pieces in which the bottom sagged of its own weight after pressing and rendered the mark nearly impossible to see.
Dr. James Measell is an expert on American glass and the author of many articles and books on the subject.