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The Great Depression is a phrase coined by the Lionel Robbins in his 1934 book of the same name. It refers to a time in our history that commenced with the collapse of U.S. stock market prices on October 29. 1929. This date is also known as Black Tuesday. Many people lost a lot of money in the stock market crash and beginning in the 1930’s people began to “tighten their belts” and curtailed spending.
Companies then had to look for alternative ways to manufacture goods cheaply and in turn sell them inexpensively to the consumer. Glass companies started to mass produce molded glass in many different colors and styles. The thrifty consumers of the time were able to put together entire place settings by both shopping at the local five and dime store or by collecting the glass that manufacturers included in cereal boxes or soap boxes as premiums.
Most of this glass, which is now known as Depression Glass, was produced by companies located in the Central or Midwest sections of the United States. These companies included Jeannette Glass Company, Federal Glass, Hazel Atlas, Imperial, Indiana and of course Anchor Hocking. Some of the heartiest of these companies have survived throughout the years and in 2005, Anchor Hocking celebrated its 100th birthday.
Depression glass companies produced many styles and patterns in various colors that are still popular with collectors today. Although many experienced collectors prefer the pink or amber Depression glass in American Sweetheart or Lace patterns, some of the most recognizable colors and patterns belong to Anchor Hocking. From their Royal Ruby colored glassware and pitcher sets to their opalescent Moonstone patterned sorbet sets, many new collectors have found that these are as inexpensive to collect today as they were in the early 20th Century.
Anchor Hocking was “raised from the ashes” so to speak, as the venerable glass company sits on the site of its original premises, which burned down in 1924. The Anchor Hocking factory, called the Black Cat, is partially named for the Hocking River, on which shores it sits.
Better known for its Royal Ruby glass and Fire King products of the 60’s & 70’s, the company is also known for its very popular Moonstone, a type of Depression glass, which is very collectible. The Moonstone Pattern was produced between 1941 and 1946 and is quite distinct. Some people confuse it with other makers such as Fenton Glass because of its hobnails and its white opalescent quality.
Another good thing about the Moonstone pattern is the fact that it is quite affordable as a collectible. Many of the smaller pieces can be picked up for a few dollars and a collection can build up quickly. Pieces can be found at many area flea markets, auctions and estate sales.