These are a collectible that I am starting to see everywhere! I
only have a couple…so far. The problem with these is that the genuinely old ones you find are really expensive, and if you look really hard at the cheap ones you find, they are obviously cheap copies. But I am on the hunt!
“Hens on a nest” come in various sizes and colors. There are at least 100 glass companies that have produced at least 250 forms or sizes of glass hen covered dishes over the past 150 years, most were made in the period 1880-1910. These dishes are referred to as an animal dish, trinket box, hen in a basket and hen on a nest. The official name, according to Smith, originated from Westmoreland glass company in the 1930s. They coined the name “hen on a nest” which has been shortened to simply “hen on nest” by latter companies and collectors. Between 1890-1910 the glass hen dishes gained advertising and publicity when they were used to package condiments, mainly mustard.
Glass hen on nest covered dishes have been made in sizes ranging from less than 2 inches to 8 inches in length. In addition to the variation in size, the type and color of the glass ranges from depression glass, milk glass, carnival glass, open salts, pressed glass, Victorian glass and lead crystal. Even though to the untrained eye the dishes all look similar, there are various differences in glass companies that to the serious collector make each hen unique.
You can find these things everywhere…antique stores, garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets…Just make sure you really look at it. I have seen some that just looked way too new. I have seen some beautiful ones, but they have a not so beautiful price. I am really cheap, so I found my two at the flea market. I also bought them from someone who was selling a bunch of other old stuff, so while that is not exactly scientific criteria, it made me feel more confident that my hen wasn’t made in Taiwan in 2009!