In 1905, the beginnings of Anchor Hocking Glass Company occurred near the Hocking River. The company, then named Hocking Glass Company, was based in Ohio, and would later become a part of several acquisitions and mergers that would lead it to modern day success. While entire pages could be written about these mergers alone, the company is most known for its Anchor Hocking Depression Glass, known for being an affordable indulgence, and the many attractive glass patterns that followed. Depression glass was known for being affordable. This company was a marvel at adaptation and survival and for example, took advantage of advances in glass production which allowed pieces to go from start to finish in a flash, shortening labor time and lowering cost.
Prior to Depression glass, however, the company found success in a number of countries, exporting to Canada, England, Australia and South America.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Hocking was able to produce several of its patterns at the low price of only a nickel. These cheap production practices are one of major reasons the company was fortunate enough to survive the Great Depression. Some of the most popular patterns during this time are listed below.
Near the end of the 1930s, the company debuted its Royal Ruby colored patterns, captivating the market with its rich, deep coloring and distinctive patterns. Royal Ruby Depression glass was produced in several patterns, including: R-1700, Coronation, Bubble and Miss America. In addition to Depression glass, the Anchor Hocking Glass Company also produced beer bottles for Schlitz in its signature Ruby colour.
Oddly, in contrast to most glass producers during the Great Depression, Anchor was most known for its patterns and brands during another era. From 1940 to 1976, the company produced “Fire-King” brand glass, which was primarily for baking and storage. Dinnerware, coffee mugs and other items were also produced under Fire-King’s brand.
Popular Fire-King Patterns are as follows:
Alice – This pattern was produced in both off-white and green (Vitrock) and green Jadeite.
Early American Prescut
Rainbow – This pattern is rumoured to be the company’s marketing response to the popular Fiestaware that remains popular today.
Philbe – Produced in 1937 and 1938, this is one of the rarest patterns available, particularly in blue.
These Fire King patterns were even found in schools and US military institutions. During this era, the company also produced salt and pepper shakers, jars and pitchers.
Popular patterns of Anchor Hocking Glass pitchers are listed below.
Manhatten – One of the most sought after patterns of Anchor’s pitchers, this has horizontally ribbed patterns.
Target – Another one of Anchor’s most popular pitchers, this pattern, this piece is also found displaying horizontally ribbed patterns.
Rare colours – While not a specific pattern, it’s worth mentioning that Ivory pitchers are much more difficult to find than Royal Ruby or Clear Crystal.
Like most glass companies that survived the Great Depression, Anchor branched outside of simply producing dinnerware. At one point the company made grease jars, pharmaceutical containers, beer bottles and even baby food jars. In fact, as one of the very first companies to market the product in glass jars, the Anchor Hocking Glass Company found that customers became frustrated with the old tin can version of baby food. Mothers often had to transfer leftovers into jars, and Anchor intelligently reasoned that the food may as well be sold in glass containers from the start. After all, as one advertisement at the time read, babies can consume up to 3000 jars before eating whole foods.
The company, once only known for its Depression glass, continued its adaptations to the market, and in the 1960s, they began producing plastics and disposable tableware. This is why from 1969 to 1987, the company dropped “glass” from its official name, and became known as simply “Anchor Hocking Corp.” This change did not last long, however, as the company quickly realized its specialty, and subsequently changed its name to Anchor Glass Container Corporation in 1983, and then Anchor Hocking Specialty Glass in 1987.
Because of the immense amount of changes this company endured, spotting a pattern by manufacturing stamps alone is extremely difficult. Factories sprawled across several States and frequent mergers caused many changes in the company’s name throughout its production times. Some variation of a shipping anchor is used in many of the manufacturing stamps, though the style of the emblem changed several times throughout the years. Overall, about six different markers and dates were used.
Today, Anchor Hocking is one of the few glass companies who survived through not only the Great Depression, but also the economic effects of declining demand shortly after the historical tragedy. Today, known as simply Anchor Hocking Company, the company still produces glassware. The former Anchor Hocking Glass Company now produces everything from candle holders, serve ware, storage containers, ashtrays, barware and even decanters.