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    

Vintage Indiana Glass Halloween Flying Witch Bats Candy Dish Jar Rare W TopVtg Indiana Glass Halloween Flying Witch Bats Candy Dish JarVtg Indiana Glass Halloween Flying Witch Bats Candy Dish JarDewey Water Pitcher Vaseline Pattern Glass Indiana Tumbler 1898 Greentown EapgVintage Indiana Blue Green Carnival Iridescent Glass Sitting Nesting ChickenIndiana Glass Kings Crown Thumbprint Ruby Red Cranberry Set Vintage Mid Century Tiara Black Diamond Point Compote Dish/jar By Indiana GlassVintage 60's Teal Green Indiana Whitehall Colony Cubist Footed Tumblers Set 7Vintage Indiana Blue Irrdescent Carnival Glass Covered Butter Dish Harvest GrapeTea Room Green PitcherKings Crown Thumbprint Ruby Red Cranberry Ruffled CompoteVintage Indiana "harvest Grape" Carnival Glass Pitcher & 4 TumblersSet Of 5 Amber Gold Indiana Drinking Glass 6"tall Cubist Whitehall Vintage3 Vintage Indiana Carnival Blue Glass Harvest Grape Tumblers CreamerIndiana Glass Depression Era Tearoom Art Deco Vase"shat-r-pruf" Glass Drinking Tumblers By Colorcraft In Indianapolis, Indiana4 Pink Vintage Indiana Tiara Sandwich Glass Heart Trinket Candy Nut Dish 3.5"Vintage Indiana Satin Glass Green Hen/chicken On Nest Candy Dish3 Hen On Nest Covered Dishes, Excellent Condition Vintage Nesting Chicken Hen Amber Candy Dish Indiana Carnival Glass Indiana Recollection Pink GobletsIndiana Glass 1980s Iridescent Blue Windsor Carnival Glass 10” BowlNib Vtg Tiara Sandwich Glass ~ Indiana Glass ~ Chantilly Green BellVintage Carnival Glass Orange Amber Candy Dish With Lid Jar Grapes And VinesSet Of 10 Whitehall Indiana Pink Glass Stemware Goblet Cube Depression GlassVintage Indiana Cranberry Ruby Red Flash Glass Footed Compote Candy Dish Bowl Vtg Indiana Tiara Exclusive Cameo Black Glass Diamond Pt Ice Tea Tumblers 1977Indiana Glass Bunny Rabbit On A Nest Candy Jar Beaded Edge Vintage, New Iob4 Vintage Indiana Blue Iridescent Carnival Glass Harvest Grape Water GobletsIndiana Glass Plate Ruby Flash Kings Crown Thumbprint Pattern 1977 Glass DaysIndiana Glass Whitehall Cubist 3 Footed Glasses1 Vintage 5 3/4" "king's Crown" White Milk Glass Wine Goblet IndianaVintage Hen / Chicken On Nest Covered Dish Possibly Indiana GlassKings Crown Thumbprint Glasses Set Of 23 Smokey Blue Water Goblet & Small Deviled Egg/relish Platter In Pebble Leaf-clear By Indiana Glass (reduced)Rare Light Pink Vtg 1950’s Early 1960’s Indiana Glass “hon” Or Hen On A NestVintage Set Of 4 Indiana Pink Satin Glass Banana Split Boat Ice Cream Dishes EcPineapple And Floral Glass Compote Sherbert - 618 Avocado Green Indiana Glass CoIndiana Glass Iridescent Blue Carnival Glass Punch CupsSet Of 2 Tumblers Early 1900s Eapg " Bosc Pear " Pattern Indiana Glass Co.Vintage Indiana Glass Co 6 1/2 Inch Pink Depression Water Goblets RecollectionVintage Marigold Carnival Indiana Glass American Eagle Bicentennial PlateSet Of 5 Vintage Indiana Whitehall Colony Glass Light Blue Iced Tea Tumblers