Holly Amber Sauce DishesBy Dr. James S. Measell
Among the most desirable colors made by the Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company of Greentown, Indiana, is what collectors today call "Holly Amber." Originally called Golden Agate, this unique pressed glassware was made for only six months, January to June 1903, when the factory was destroyed by fire.
The company's mold makers created the Holly pattern exclusively for Holly Amber glass. The Holly pattern is so extraordinarily well detailed, even for early 20th century American pressed glass, that one can see lifelike texture on the vines and leaves. Holly Amber glass is transparent amber with white vertical ribs or horizontal bands. Although the Holly pattern appears in other colors, only pieces in the amber/white combination are true Holly Amber. Original Holly Amber was made in more than three dozen separate articles.
Old Holly pattern sauce dishes were made only in clear and Holly Amber. The convex panel in the middle and the way the top and bottom bands jut out from the side, give the old sauces their distinctive profile (Fig. 2). The profile of new sauces is more of a straight diagonal and the bands are less pronounced (Fig. 1). Further, the old sauce dish has a flat base; the reproduction sauce rests on a ring of beads.
In the 1960s, St. Clair Glass Co. of Elwood Indiana made a limited line of Holly Amber reproductions including a tumbler, toothpick, mug and sauce dish which look nearly identical to the originals. St. Clair also made a two handled sugar bowl with lid and a handled creamer which have no old counterpart. Many of the St. Clair molds were later acquired and used by other firms, most notably the Summit Art Glass Co. which added a butterdish to the line. Summit advertised its Holly Amber look-alikes as "Holly Band" in the Glass Review and other publications during 1979.
The St. Clair sauce dish (Fig. 1) was made in several colors-- amber, green and clear-- all dating from the mid to late 1960s. The Summit Art Glass sauces were made in several additional colors including vaseline yellow, opaque powder blue and an opaque red-orange called "strawberry tangerine".
Dr. James S. Measell is author of Greentown Glass and A Guide to Reproductions of Greentown Glass.