Famous for its Fire-King brand of glassware in the mid-20th century, Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation began as the Hocking Glass Company of Lancaster, Ohio. Founded in 1905 near the Hocking River for which it’s named, the pressed-glass company prospered on its own until 1937, when it merged with the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation of Long Island City, New York. In 1969, the word “glass” was deleted from the company’s name since it had expanded into plastics and many other types of materials.
Volume had been a key to Hocking’s success in the 1920s, and it was even more important during the lean 1930s. In that decade, Hocking could produce 90 pieces of glassware per minute, which meant it could sell a pair of Depression glass tumblers in its Mayfair, Roulette, Waterford, Spiral, Circle, Sandwich, or Queen Mary patterns for only a nickel.
The first distinctively Anchor Hocking products appeared in 1939. They featured a deep-red color called Royal Ruby, which was pressed into patterns with names like R-1700, Miss America, Coronation, and Bubble. From 1949 until 1963, Anchor Hocking made Royal Ruby beer bottles for Schlitz in 7-, 12-, 16-, and 32-ounce sizes.
But the firm is perhaps best known for its Fire-King glass, manufactured from around 1940 until 1976. Fire-King was a brand not a pattern, and while it is often associated with ovenware and refrigerator containers, it was also used in numerous patterns and colors of dinnerware, mixing bowls, and coffee mugs. For example, a Fire-King dinnerware pattern called Alice was made in the late 1940s in an opaque off-white color called Vitrock, as well as the firm’s famous green, Jade-ite (it is sometimes misspelled as “jadeite”).
Other Fire-King patterns for which Anchor Hocking is well known include Jane Ray, Hobnail, Early American Prescut, and Rainbow, which appears to have been the company’s response to Fiestaware. One of the rarest patterns is Philbe, which was only made in 1937 and ’38—the transparent blue is the most prized of the four colors produced.
From 1948 until 1967, Anchor Hocking also made Fire-King for restaurants and institutions such as schools and the U.S. military. That’s when Jade-ite and an opaque white called Anchorwhite proliferated. The company also made range sets, which consisted of salt and pepper shakers and a grease jar.
Pitchers, also called ball jugs, are some of the most sought-after Anchor Hocking pieces. Clear Crystal and translucent Royal Ruby pitchers are relatively common, but Ivory ones ...