I grew up in a home with a lot of antiques, and instead of rebelling against it, I have taken it to a whole new level, just ask my poor family!
I don’t really have much in my kitchen that is new. Most of my cookware, glasses, silverware and china are vintage or antique. Instead of being thanked for actually putting their dishes in the dishwasher, my family is always getting fussed at for putting silver plate or Fire-King in there. Even I know it is a bit unreasonable to expect my household of men to remember the list of what can and cannot go in the dishwasher.
By the way, does everyone know the difference between vintage and antique? Vintage is 50-100 years old, and antique is over 100.
I have never been one who was very trendy, with fashion or with my home decorating. If it is the in thing, I have a tendency to run the other way. Jadeite is one of those things that is both vintage and trendy. I remember seeing these pictures of Martha Stewart and her daughter, Alexis, who both collect Fire-King Restaurantware, a very popular and increasingly hard-to-find pattern. As the name suggests, it was made for institutional use in restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, and so is heavier than other makes, and much harder to break.
The bowl is a jadeite Fire-King splashproof,and the mug is a jadeite Fire-King D-handle coffee mug. Once I actually owned some jadeite, all bets were off! After actually using them and seeing how beautiful they are in person, I decided I wanted it after all.
Jadeite opaque green glass was first produced during the Great Depression by melting scrap green glass with other glass. Because jadeite was meant to be inexpensive glassware, there was no quality control. Vintage pieces can have swirl patterns, mold marks, and other imperfections without lessening its value. Likewise, colors can vary greatly as well.
You will see different spellings of jadeite. There is jadeite, jadite, and jade-ite!
In the 1940s and 1950s, jadeite was cheap and popular. It was sold in dime stores, department stores and often given away as a promotional item from the 1930s through the 1970s. Sometimes a piece of jadeite would be included in a bag of flour or a box of oatmeal as an inducement to the consumer to buy the rest of the set.
MCKEE GLASS COMPANY
The McKee Glass Company was the first to manufacture jadeite, which they referred to as ‘skokie green glass’. Opalescent jadeite was produced by McKee and then by Jeannette. This type of glass is made by adding uranium or dioxide to the glass and then adding other chemicals during the heating process. During WWII’s metal shortage, Jeannette sold their metal molds to the government then ceased production of opalescent glass as well. Their products are marked with the letters McK enclosed in a circle. Most of their pieces are marked, but not all. McKee glass produced one full dinnerware line, a delicate Laurel pattern.
JEANNETTE GLASS COMPANY
The Jeannette Glass Company actually coined the term jadeite. Most Jeannette jadeite is unmarked, except for some of the earlier pieces, which have the letter “J” in a triangle, followed by the mold number. Jeanette Glass Company bought McKee in 1961 and closed in the early 1980s.
Fenton made an assortment of art glass pieces in a color they called ‘jade green’. Martha Stewart produced a line from old Fenton molds for a brief time and these pieces are marked “MBM” on the bottom.
The Anchor Hocking Company produced Fire-King from the 1940s to the early 1970s. Fire-King was a tupe of glassware that could withstand the high temperatures of ovens and stoves. “Jade-ite” was one of their most popular colors. They referred to their opaque green glass products as ‘Jade-ite’ but but also manufactured their pieces in a plethora of other colors including Azur-ite (icy blue), Rose-ite (creamy pink) and Ivory.
Fire-King was the largest producer of jadeite and had a number of jadeite dinnerware patterns including Alice, Jane Ray, Charm, Restaurant Ware and Swirl. The company reproduced many of their pieces for a brief period in 2000 but stopped due to quality concerns. These reproductions are marked with the 2000 line stamp on the bottom and are not as valuable as older, vintage pieces.
I am going to concentrate on Fire-King because it is the most popular and the easiest to find!
FIRE-KING JADE-ITE PATTERNS
ALICE: made in the early 1940’s
Vintage jadeite is stain and heat resistant, but because it was made before dishwashers and microwaves were everyday household items, they should not be used in them. Microwaving can cause jadeite to break, while running it through the dishwasher can remove the luster finish and give it a sandblasted appearance. I love using my Jadeite, I just need to find more!