The Indiana Glass Company of Dunkirk can trace its roots to the founding of the Beatty-Brady Glass Company in 1897. For more than a century, the glass company based in this small Indiana town manufactured everything from iridescent carnival glass to Depression-style tumblers, goblets, and plates. Glassware patterns ranged from avocados to horseshoes, while Indiana’s Pyramid line had a decidedly Art Deco look. Within the first decade of operations, though, the Indiana Glass Company’s identity was defined more by mergers and the economy than by anything it produced.

In 1896, well before the Indiana Glass Company became associated with Dunkirk, George Brady and brothers George and James Beatty purchased a factory space already halfway fitted out as a series of car shops for the Pennsylvania Railroad. A year later, they opened for business as a glass manufacturer. On October 28, 1899, their operation was purchased by the National Glass Company, a consortium of eighteen other glass manufacturers across the United States. Of the nineteen, the Beatty-Brady Glass Company functioned as National’s Factory #1.

Following the 1907 Bankers’ Panic, during which U.S. stocks fell nearly 50% from the previous year’s high, the National Glass Company was placed in receivership, leaving it prone for the picking. Accordingly, in 1908, the National Glass Company’s assets were scooped up by the Indiana Glass Company, making the latter an overnight powerhouse within the glass industry.

From 1908 through the Great Depression, the Indiana Glass Company produced several new glass patterns each year. In 1915, for example, a pattern now known to collectors as Frosted Block featured a strikingly original array of colors for the time. Clear crystal, pale pink, light green, and uranium-yellow glass was molded to resemble pebbled blocks, each of which bore even more intricate patterning.

In 1923, the company released a glassware pattern called Avocado, also known as the Sweet Pear design, considered by many historians to be the first example of an authentic Depression glass pattern. Avocado featured two pear shapes nestled against one another atop a bed of leaves. Consistently produced over a period of eleven years (1923 to 1934) and across four distinct color schemes (the original green for which it was named, plus pink, crystal, and white milk glass), Avocado glassware carved a niche for itself among other Art Nouveau-style patterns of the day. Of the cups, saucers, relish plates, and other pieces in this pattern, the Avocado pitcher is considered especially difficult to find.

Other significant Depression era glassware patterns produced by Indiana included Cracked Ice; Indiana Custard; No. 610 (Pyramid); No. 612 (Horseshoe); No. 616 (Vernon); No. 618 (Pineapple and Floral); Old English; Sandwich; and Tea Room. Vines winding around the edges of pieces were typical of patterns such as Floral and Indiana Custard, whereas a pattern such as Sandwich was distinguished by a central flower surrounded by dots, scrolls, and, if space allowed, even more floral emblazonments.

In 1929, the Lorraine No. 615 pattern was added to the Indiana lineup. Noted for being the first mold-etched design, these Art Deco shaped pieces featured floral etching—today Lo...

During World War II, the Indiana Glass Company produced fewer patterns—along with other glass manufacturers of the period, regular operations were shut down in favor of producing wartime materials such as headlights and lenses. The glass industry as a whole expanded in the 1950s to meet the demands of restaurants and diners that sprung up nationwide. The Indiana Glass Company cranked out white milk glass versions of its older glassware lines. To better serve the restaurant industry, heat-resistance was added to the glassware's list of features.

Following this brief postwar boom, though, a severe lull in the market for glassware, caused in part by the introduction of plastic substitutes, forced the sale of the Indiana Glass Company to the Lancaster Glass Corporation in 1957. Ironically, one of Lancaster’s other properties, Colony Glass, was struggling to produce its Harvest pattern milk glass line fast enough, so the Indiana Glass Company quickly began manufacturing Harvest milk glass under the Colony Glass name.

With the 1960s came a renewed interest in glassware, and Indiana Glass Company’s popular carnival glass molds were used to produce new lines of traditionally styled products in a variety of colors. Among the big sellers for the company was the King’s Crown line of clear goblets with red-tinged rims. Indiana’s Carnival glass pieces, as well as the items it made for its Tiara line, carried the company through the 1970s and ’80s.

More than the design of its recycled patterns, the Tiara line is remembered and collected for the way in which it was marketed through in-home parties. When the home-party fad died down, national retailers such as Kmart and Wal-Mart kept the Indiana Glass Company afloat in the face of competition from low-cost international suppliers. A deal with Coca-Cola to mass-produce Coke glasses and branded trinkets was another lucrative lifeline.

Unfortunately, long-term competition with overseas manufacturers wasn’t feasible, Kmart went bankrupt, and a failure on the part of workers and management to come to terms after a strike at the Dunkirk glass factory effectively ended production there, severing the last links to a once-great company.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Yellow Topaz Depression Glass Pyramid Ice Bucket With Handle. Indiana Glass Co.Indiana Glass Green Iridescent Carnival Deviled Egg PlateIndiana Glass Blue Carnival Glass Lid In "harvest Grape"Tiara Indiana Glass Green Sandwich Glass 2 Piece Fairy Candle Light/lamp FlowersIndiana Glass Blue Iridescent Carnival Glass Candy DishCarnival Glass Egg Plate4 Vintage Amber 4.5" Colony Park Lane Dessert Goblets Indiana Pedestal GlassesWestmoreland Sugar Bowl Base Carnival Glass Shell Pattern In GreenUs Glass- Kings Crown 2 Part Mayonnaise Bowl - Ruby RedTiara Sandwich Glass Chantilly Green 10" Large Ruffled Salad Bowl BeautifulVintage Indiana Carnival Glass Iredescent Blue / Amethyst Deviled Egg Plate EucC1940s Oleander Willow Leaf Pattern Footed Serving Dish Near Mint (b)Blue Candy Dish With Grape DetailSet Of 3 Staggered Height Ruby Red Candlestick Holders Indiana GlassCarnival Glass Candy Dish W/ Deer On Top/gold&orange Colors. 6"tall&3"diameter Indiana Large Green 9-1/4" Tall Carnival Glass Canister Cracker ~harvest GrapeIndiana Glass Blue Carnival Glass Harvest Grape Candy Dish W/ Lid - CompoteVintage Blue Carnival Glass Lidded Chicken/hen On Nest Candy Dish 7 By 5.5 InchVintage Blue Carnival Glass Candy Dish With Lid Indiana Carnival Glass Hen BowlIndiana Milk Glass Chicken Lidded Butter Dish Candy Dish Vintage Country RetroIndiana Glass Co. Blue Iridescent Carnival Glass Sugar, Creamer, Tray Set In Box1970's Indiana Iridescent Carnival Glass Egg Relish Plate Hobnail Amber GoldPink Tea Room Depression Glass Oval Vegetable Bowl Indiana Glass Co.Fabulous Indiana Blue Glass Diamond Point Pedestal Candy Compote Dish 15.5"Vintage Lot Of 8 Amber Glass Mt Vernon Indiana Glass Footed Wine/goblet 2 Vtg Avocado Sweet Pear Green Depression Indiana Glass Co Open Handled DishKings Crown Ruby Red Thumbprint Candy Dish With Lid, 2 AvailableVintage 4 Indiana Carnival Glass Blue Iridescent Wine Water Goblet Harvest Grape(8) Indiana Glass Company King's Crown Colonial Blue Dessert/sherbet Cups Indiana Glass Diamond Point Footed Ruby Cranberry Flash Candy DishVintage Blue Luster Carnival Glass - Set Of 2 Compotes5 Vintage Indiana Glass Clear Pebble Leaf Twiggy Berry Dessert Nappy Bowls PlateC1940s Oleander Willow Leaf Pattern Pedestal Handled Dish Near MintDaisy & Button Snack SetC1940s Oleander Willow Leaf Pattern Pedestal Punch Bowl 12 Cups Near MintC1940s Oleander Willow Leaf Pattern Pedestal Serving Dish Near Mint (f)Vintage Amber Tiara Indiana Sandwich Glass Sald Bowl 8 1/4 Inches AcrossSet Of 6 Vintage Indiana Glass Colony Park Lane Blue Cordial CupsVintage Indiana Tiara Tj Constellations Amberina Glass Basket Sunset RedMilk Glass Indiana Colony Harvest Grape Pattern Custom Made Night LightIndiana Glass Diamond Point Ruby Red Flash Oval Butter Dish With Lid.Vintage Indiana Carnival Glass Harvest Grape 2 Goblets Iridescent Amber GoldIndiana Glass Pink Depression Candy DishCrystal Diamond Point Angel Light Fairy Lamp By Indiana Glass Co.votive CandleLot Of 2 Madrid Pink Depression Glass Bowls, Serving, Vegetable, Oval, CircleVintage 70's Indiana Glass Blue Nesting HenVintage Indiana Glass Weavetex Avocado Green BowlVintage Indiana Crystal Whitehall Cube Footed Iced Tea Water Glasses (3)Teal/green Whitehall Cubist Water GobbletIndiana Glass Tiara Amber 3 Part Relish Platter Sandwic Vintage Indiana Blue Carnival Glass Candy Dish's With Red & Gold Glassware C1940s Oleander Willow Leaf Pattern Lot Of 4 Salad Plates Near MintEarly 1900's Indiana Glass Lidded Compote, Belthlehem Star W/ Hexagonal FootVintage Indiana Glass Diamond Point Ruby Flash Red Band Sugar & CreamerIndiana Glass 4 Clear With Ruby Flash Band Diamond Point 16 Ounce TumblersIndiana Tall Milk Glass Pedestal Compote Candy Dish Lid Original Colony StickerKings Crown 5 1/2" Bowl With Scallop Rims Diamond Point / CranberryGreen Carnival Glass Sitting Hen BowlCream & Sugar - Indiana Glass Company - Tiara Amber