McKee Punchbowls: Pre-1930 Molds Still in UseBy

McKee Punchbowls: Pre-1930 Molds Still in Use

Between 1904 and 1915, McKee Glass Co. introduced a series of high quality pressed glass imitations of cut glass. The name for this line, Pres Cut, was molded on the inside of almost every piece. There were at least 21 different patterns in the original line. The Pres Cut line was made up until about 1927.

Many original McKee Pres Cut molds were reduced to scrap during metal drives in WW II. Other original Pres Cut molds, though, have continued to be worked over the years and have survived down to the present day. Although molds for a number of different shapes still exist, this article will focus only on Pres Cut patterns in punchbowls.

Probably the most frequently reproduced Pres Cut punchbowl is a pattern named Aztec, originally produced ca. 1904-1927. Originals are marked Pres Cut in raised molded letters on the inside of the bowl. There are at least three post-1930 versions made from the same mold.

The first Aztec punchbowl reissue was made in 1955 by Tiffin Glass Co. These pieces are reported to carry the original Pres Cut mark, but we have not been able to confirm this. Another reissue, also from the original mold, was produced in 1966 by Jeanette Glass Co. We have not been able to confirm whether these pieces have the Pres Cut mark.

LE Smith Glass Company has been making a third version of the Aztec punchbowl from the original molds since 1981. The Smith pieces are generally marked with the molded SGC monogram on the outside of the bowl. Other Smith marks may appear as the mold is updated.

Probably the next most commonly seen Pres Cut punchbowl reissued by Smith is a pattern McKee called Wiltec. Smith is currently selling this pattern under the name "Galaxy." The new Wiltec punchbowl in Fig. 1 is marked with the molded SGC monogram.

Although the Smith marks are an obvious clue to age, they are frequently very difficult to locate. Even when found, many buyers can't identify or date the mark. The presence of the Pres Cut molded mark is probably a good indication of age, but may not be a guarantee for all the punchbowls. Some early Aztec pieces by Tiffin may have the Pres Cut mark.

Original pre-1930 McKee Pres Cut is high quality brilliant glass with excellent clarity. Most of the Smith reissue we've seen have a slight grayish cast or tinge. Mold detail also seems to be slightly less distinct on the reissues than the pre-1930 pieces but detail can also vary among originals.

Original McKee Pres Cut almost always fluoresced yellow-green under long wave black light. The new Smith Wiltec punchbowl in Fig. 1 does not fluoresce. Most all clear American pressed glass made before ca. 1930-1950 fluoresces; most made after 1950 does not.

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Fig. 1 New six quart punchbowl made by LE Smith Glass Co. from an old mold used by McKee Glass, ca. 1904-1927. Smith is selling this pattern under the name Galaxy. McKee's original name was Wiltec.

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Fig. 2 Original McKee Glass Wiltec pattern six quart punch bowl made ca. 1904-1927.

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Fig. 3 Original Pres Cut molds have been reworked over the years. This view is of the outside bottom of a new punchbowl produced in the original McKee Wiltec mold. The mold is now owned by LE Smith. Notice how the central design generally resembles a smooth petaled flower.

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Fig. 4 This is the outside bottom of an original pre-1927 Wiltec pattern punchbowl in the Pres Cut line. The central image has a feathered star or snowflake appearance. Note: different motifs appear in other original pieces depending on shape, i.e. cups, bowls, etc. This example illustrates only one specific example.

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Fig. 5

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Fig. 6

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Fig. 7

Figs. 5-7 The molded Pres Cut trademark may appear in two lines as in Figs. 5 & 6, but more commonly appears in a single line as in Fig. 7. Trademarks are found on virtually all original pieces and are always on the inside, not the outside. The original Wiltec punchbowl and stand in Fig. 2 are marked with Fig. 7.

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Fig. 8 McKee's Wiltec pattern on a vintage serving tray. This tray is marked Pres Cut in a single line as shown in Fig. 7.

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Fig. 9 Catalog page of new pressed glass punchbowls offered by LE Smith Glass, ca. 1980s. Two sizes of Wiltec pattern bowls are shown in upper right and middle right positions. Top bowl, 6 quarts; middle bowl, 12 quart.

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Fig. 10

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Fig. 11

Figs. 10-11 The new Wiltec reissue punchbowl and underplate by LE Smith in Fig. 1 are both marked with the molded SGC monogram. A photo, Fig. 10, and line drawing, Fig. 11, of this mark are shown above. SGC represents Smith Glass Co. Other Smith marks may appear on new pieces Smith makes from old McKee molds. A chronology of Smith marks is shown below.

LE Smith Glass Co. - All Marks are Molded

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There is considerable overlap in the years any mark was used. Marks are updated as molds undergo periodic maintenance, not strictly by the calendar. The cursive S began gradually replacing the other marks.

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Fig. 12 Aztec pattern punchbowl as it appeared in a ca. 1910 McKee Glass catalog. The original mold is owned today by LE Smith Glass Co.

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Fig. 13 Some of punchbowls made from McKee molds by LE Smith were available with metal bases in the mid-1970s. No pre-1930 McKee Prescut bowls were sold with similar bases.