The wonderful thing about candy, particularly when each piece is individually wrapped, is that you can put it anywhere. You can fill jars, bowls, baskets, vases, bags, buckets, and piñatas with candy. Pretty much any vessel of any solid material will do.

The first documented "candy containers"—small molded-glass toys filled with candy pellets—were made for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, shaped like Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. By the turn of the century, novelty glass candy containers were being churned out by dozens of U.S. glassworks, mostly located in Pennsylvania. The candy in these toys was held in place by metal caps or strips, or cardboard caps. The now-collectible pieces were originally intended for children, who would play with them long after the pellets were gone.

Boys were drawn to the containers such as the three-piece New York Central Train or Overland Limited, as well as the other vehicles like cars, buses, and trucks. Hollow glass guns were perfect for a game of "cowboys and Indians." Tanks, jeeps, ships, and airplanes let boys play military and war games. Girls tended to go for nursing bottles for their dolls, Flossie Fisher metal and glass doll-house furniture, as well as household toys like telephones, lanterns, rolling pins, irons, and toy dinnerware.

Glass candy containers also came in holiday themes or were shaped like popular comic-strip characters of the day. Others depicted animals and plants truer to nature. The earliest of these were designed by craftsmen, who would create a mold for each design, with each piece pressed or blown one at a time. When they had cooled, a woman at the glassworks would hand-paint them.

Glass toys went out of production during the Depression, between 1929 and 1939, and came back in full force during World War II. Even new automated factory assembly lines couldn't keep up with the popularity of these candy containers, and thousands were produced a day. Due to wartime metal shortages, the containers were closed with corks, wood stoppers, or waxed cardboard strips. In the '50s, glass containers were ditched in favor of plastics, a cheaper material. By the '70s, they went out of production all together.

The most prolific manufacturers of novelty candy containers were Westmoreland Glass, Jeannette Glass, Victory Glass, West Brothers Co., T. H. Stough, L. E. Smith, J. H. Millstein, and J. C. Crosetti Co. Originally sold at five-and-dimes and through catalogs like Sears Roebuck, such glass toys now can sell for anywhere from ten to several thousand dollars, depending on rarity. (Animal shapes tend to be common, while the more elaborate pre-1900 containers are the most sought after.)

Collectors have to be wary of modern reproductions, made in Taiwan without the closures or other metal parts. Many repros are made in colored glass like cobalt and pink. They mig...

The much more grown-up concept of confection or candy dishes probably had its start with the 18th-century European aristocracy, who liked to indulge in palate-cleansing desserts after their overly spiced meals. Known as sweetmeats, these desserts—usually preserved fruit, trifles, sundaes, or chocolate—would be served in individual ornate stemmed glasses, much like ice cream dishes. Smaller comfit glasses were employed to serve dry sweetmeats like chocolate, salted almonds, or cachous (breath mint lozenges).

Unlike comfit glasses, candy dishes—like their larger cousin, the console bowl—were placed on coffee tables, dining tables, and other furniture and filled with treats for everyone in the room to share. The top glassmakers of the 20th century, regardless whether they specialized in art glass or Depression glassware, made candy dishes in their popular patterns, whether that was cut glass, iridescent, or engraved. These include Lalique, Fenton, Fostoria, Waterford, Cambridge, Baccarat, Murano, Westmoreland, and Anchor Hocking.

Candy dishes similar to cookie jars were also made of ceramics, by the likes of Lefton, McCoy, Hull, and Reed and Barton, as well as in metals like sterling silver. In all materials, they were produced with and without handled covers.

One of the most common glass designs used as a candy dish is the "hen on nest" design. From 1880 to 1910, as many as 84 companies put out 174 variations on this concept. After that, 13 companies made hen-on-nest covered dishes in carnival glass.

Of the recent candy dishes, one of the most popular is the Chessie box, made by Fenton for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad in 1970. The first of these covered candy dishes, which featured the railroad's beloved sleeping kitten, Chessie, were unmarked and made in amethyst carnival glass and only given to heads of state and friends of the railway.

Employees expressed interest in the candy dish, and so the railroad ordered more for Christmas gifts, and these were marked "December 1970 Chessie by Fenton." In 1977, Fenton got permission to produce the Chessie box for its regular line in different colors. That's when the mold number changed from #T9180 to #9840.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Candy Container Collectors of America

Candy Container Collectors of America

A reference site on glass and plastic collectible candy containers, featuring galleries of container photos ranging… [read review or visit site]

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1) Salviati Venetian Glass Seahorse Bonbon Dish - MuranoVintage Paper Mache Easter Candy Container Rabbit W/basket 8.5"Art Deco Vintage Lewbury Bon Bon Dish Divine Baby Blue & Silver Epns Bakelite Vintage Clear Glass Apothecary Jars Candy Wedding Buffet Display Gorgeous Lot 12Gorham Chantilly #740 Compote/candy/nut Dish In Sterling Silver No Monos NrVintage Royal Copenhagen Onion Pattern Porcelain Footed Bon Bon Dish.Vintage Noritake Azalea Candy Tobacco Lidded Jar 19322 Red Mark Japan 6 Vintage Clear Glass Apothecary Candy Bar Wedding Table Display JarsVintage Hazel Atlas Red Candy Stripe Two 5-7/8" Nesting Bowls - Two Mugs Exc1896 Antique Victorian Solid Silver Pierced Embossed Bonbon Bowl Dish, DevonportJadeite Green Milk Glass Bunny Rabbit On Nest Basket Candy Dish Easter Eggs JadeHaviland & Co Limoges France Candy Dish Ruffled Edge Floral3 Clear Glass Apothecary Candy Bar Buffet Table Display Wedding Jars2 Pc Lot Green Depression Vaseline Glass Hazel Atlas Vinegar Cruet & Candy DishWallace Sterling Silver Candy Bowl Colbolt Blue Glass Not Scrap Antique Victorian German Geislingen Silverplate Bonbon Basket Sugar BowlVintage Fenton Blue Carnival Glass Birds And Cherries Bonbon Dish...Harder To Find! Fenton Blue Pond Lily Carnival Glass Bowl Bon Bon Antique ArtAntique Silver Plate Candy/nut Dish-holder Lad W/ Dagger James W.tufts,bostonFenton Ruby Red Glass Snow Crest Heart Relish/candy Dish SmallSuperb ~ Art Deco Styled ~ Solid Silver ~ Bon Bon / Nut Bowl ~ C1935Set Of 2 Clear Glass Apothecary Candy General Store Display Storage Jar With LidVintage Sterling Silver Sanborns Bon Bon / Nuts Serving Trays, 56 GramsMid Century Reed & Barton Blue Enamel & Silverplate Nut / Candy Dish W SquirrelVintage Fenton Silver Crest Hand Painted Milk Glass Candy Dish - Free Shipping!!Kimmel Original Sculptures ~ Collie Candy Dish ~ Medium *ooak*Antique Solid Silver Bon Bon DishesSmall Pair Of Embossed Solid Silver Bonbon Dishes - Bham 1898 William Devenport ~ Westmoreland ~ Tall Covered Candy Dish ~ Milk Glass ~ Candlewick Heart Shaped Crystal Dish Nappy Candy Bon Bon Handle Valentines GiftVintage Retro Atomic Mirro Medallion Sputnik Art Deco Candy DishDepression Style Glass Purple Amethyst Candy Round Dish Vintage Antique 7" DiaImperial ? Purple Slag~agate Candy Bowl / Dish Mint Beautiful Colors & Swirls 5 Vintage Clear Glass Apothecary Candy Bar Wedding Table Display JarsVtg Paragon Patriotic Series Pin Trinket Candy Dish Map Of England There Will BeVintage Glass Apothecary Display Buffet Wedding Candy Retail Store Jar Lot Vaseline Glass Diamond Pattern Candy Dish Uranium Sugar Bowl Yellow Canary Boyd Vintage Tall Glass Apothecary Or Penny Candy Store Style Jar 18 Inch Not GroundFitz & Floyd Snowy Woods Deer / Fawn Candy JarHeart Shaped Embossed Solid Silver Bonbon Dish - Bham 1898 Thomas Hayes Mackenzie Childs Vintage Retired Fluted Beaded Iris Candy/soap DishRare Imperial Glass Hobnail Vaseline Stamm House Dewdrop Pattern Candy DishIndiana Carnival Glass Covered Candy Compote Dish Blue Pedestal Ribbed VintageGlass Candy Jar With LidDisney €56167 Antique 30s 2 Wallace Sterling Silver Clam Shell Candy Nut Dish 3.9 Troy9.75 Inch Diameter , Shallow Stueben Candy Dish3 Vintage Clear Glass Apothecary Candy Bar Wedding Table Display JarsAntique Silver Bonbon Dish/repousse Rim/stamped "silver"/41gBlue And White Fenton Silver Crest Ruffled Candy Dish,fenton Dish, L@@kGerman Vintage Blue Bunny Candy Container - Great For Giftcards In Easter BasketStunning Quality Silver Mappin & Webb Dining Table Sweet Bon Bon Dish & InsertOrnate Wallace Sterling Silver 4850-9 Footed Candy Compote Dish/bowl 8 Oz/225 GmImperial Heisey Ipswitch 1/2 Pound Candy Jar W/ Lid Elegant Glass Heather PurpleNora Fleming Napkin Holder & Weight And/or Candy DishAmethyst Purple Glass Klondyke Pattern Covered Candy Dish Butter Fluted Scrolls Fenton Hobnail Green Opalescent Glass Compote Candy Dish Footed PedistalPink Milk Glass Bunny Rabbit On Nest Basket Candy Dish Easter Eggs Crown Tuscan Vintage Portieux Vallerysthal Blue Milk Glass 4 Footed Pineapple Candy Dish Vintage Clear Glass Apothecary Party Buffet Candy Bar Jar Lot Of 8 Beautiful