Vintage pottery marked USAis not pottery made by a specific company. It was, in fact, a patriotic gesture resulting initially from the Great War (WWI, 1914-1918) and later from WWII (1939-1945) whereby companies proudly identified with their country of origin. The McKinley Tariff Act of 1891 required country of origin identification on all products imported into the US. However, marks could include paper labels which oftentimes fell off making it difficult to identify the country. Most USA marked pottery was manufactured by Shawnee Pottery and McCoy Pottery. The best way to learn more about this vintage mark is to familiarize yourself with these potteries and their wares. Happy Hunting!
In 1845, Joseph L. Beatty and Edward Stillman started a glass factory in Steubenville, OHcalling it simply the Beatty Glass Works. It became known for its production of fine tableware and tumblers, supporting 150 glass artisans. During the Civil War, A.J. Beatty & Sons Glass Company led all others in the US, with production of tumblers, beer and wine glasses and decorative bottles. Glass makers pressed and created blown finely tinted opalescent glass which was also skillfully engraved. TiffinGlass is the product of a merger in 1893, between US Glass and A.J. Beatty & Sons. Beatty & Sons relocated to Tiffin, OH in 1888, establishing a glass factory that created as many as 500,000 pieces of pressed glass tumblers per week! Designated as Factory R, it became one of 19 factories owned by US Glass nationwide.
During the early 1900's, customer demand created a shift from pressed to blown tableware. Until 1927 Tiffin glass products were identified with the paper label 'USG' from the US Glass Company, with the gold paper 'TiffinT' shield label appearing from 1927-1940. Tiffin manufactured what is known as Elegant Glass, with the earliest patterns including: Cadence, Cherokee Rose, Classic, Flanders, Fuchsia, and King's Charm. The 1940's brought major changes to the industry, with fewer types of glasses produced in stemware lines, a resurgence in appreciation for crystal pieces and an interest in fine china table settings. In response to this, Tiffin glassware became known as 'America's Prestige Crystal' and the revered Lady Stems glassware were popularized from 1939-1956.
Financial problems plagued all of the Elegant Glass companies in the 1950's, with the advent of inexpensive imports from overseas. Tiffin was the only US Glass Company plant remaining in the United States in 1951; despite this reprieve, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1962. A year later, a group of employees bought the factory, renaming it Tiffin Art Glass Company, purchasing the glass molds from the T.G. Hawkes Cut Glass Company of Corning, NY. Three years later in 1966 the company was sold once again and renamed Tiffin Glass Company, continuing production of beautiful blown and pressed stemware.
Tiffin Glass Company finally closed its doors in 1980 upon being sold to Towle Silversmiths.
As you hunt for treasures, keep this special piece of US glass history in mind; you will not be disappointed with a Tiffin glass find, guaranteed. Have fun!
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