Few kitchen items are as cheerful and welcoming as a cookie jar. Whether it's a rare McCoy Mammy jar kept behind glass or just a colorful clown container placed within easy reach for the kids, a vintage cookie jar is exactly the sort of thing you want to get your hand caught in!

Decorative cookie jars as a category of vintage kitchenware first appeared in the United States in the early 1930s, although a 10-inch-tall ceramic cookie jar in the shape of a trash can from Brush Kolorkraft of Roseville, Ohio has been dated to 1929.

Other early cookie-jar manufacturers include McKee Glass Company of Pennsylvania (glass manufacturers were the first to capitalize on the public’s desire for cookie jars) and Louisville Pottery, which made lidded jars for the Harper J. Ransburg Company of Indiana. Ransburg is credited with being an early contributor to the cookie-jar genre because the firm hand-painted so many of them—a quarter-million a year during its heyday in the 1930s. Designs ranged from floral patterns, Davy Crockett coonskin caps, Humpty Dumpty, and Mary and her little lamb.

McCoy Pottery, also of Roseville, Ohio, joined the cookie-jar fray in the late 1930s. By no means the first, McCoy is arguably one of the most important and sought-after names in this category. McCoy’s first figural cookie jar was Mammy with Cauliflower (Blackamoor figures were associated with good eating during the ’30s). Other Mammy jars featured large women whose equally spacious dresses formed the bases of the jars. The words “Dem cookies shor am good” on the outside of one jar from 1944 were replaced in 1946 with the far-less offensive “Cookies.”

Another sought-after cookie-jar manufacturer was American Bisque of West Virginia, which excelled at character and people jars. They made grannies, clowns, and chefs; Dutch girls and boys (sometimes in pairs); and many different iterations of Davy Crockett. American Bisque also produced jars featuring the likenesses of licensed cartoon characters such as Popeye, Yogi Bear (holding a sign that reads “BETTER THAN AVERAGE COOKIES”), Fred Flintstone, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Many manufacturers, including American Bisque, produced countless jars in the shapes of animals. Pigs were especially popular— American Bisque is known for its “paws in pockets” jars. Other pink-cheeked creatures included elephants, kittens and puppies, lamps, and rabbits.

In the postwar era, countless ceramics companies made cookie jars. Sought-after producers include Brush Pottery, whose cows with cat finials and circus horses from the 1950s are tough to find in good condition. Purington Pottery made jars shaped like Howdy Doody heads, while Red Wing Stoneware produced Dutch girls, bunches of grapes, and chefs in assorted colors. Those are all nice, but the prizes for Red Wing are the cinnamon-colored King of Tarts jars and any color of cabbage jar you can find...

Regal China Company cranked out umpteen versions of Little Red Riding Hood, made an entire series of “Alice in Wonderland” products for Walt Disney, including an Alice cookie jar, and even made a jar shaped like the head of Harpo Marx. As for Shawnee Pottery, it is best known for its Smiley and Winnie Pig jars, each of which was made from the same mold but featured different colored scarves and articles of clothing.

One other important cookie-jar category is the advertising jar. Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, and Quaker Oats are just a few of the firms who turned to McCoy for their cookie jars. Mrs. Field’s had jars made in the shapes of its trademark paper bags. And then there was Oreo, whose jars were shaped like—you get only one guess—its famous cookies.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Aunt Jemima Cookie Jar, Vintage, Plastic, F & F Mold & Die Works, Dayton, OhioRare Vintage Prayer Lady Cookie Jar Excellent!! Enesco Mother In The KitchenFiesta Kitchen Kraft Vintage Light Green Aqua Canister Cookie Jar Oops! ChippedVintage Donald Duck Cookie Jar 1961 Walt Disney Productions Wd 6Vtg Large Green Depression Cookie Jar Ribbed Glass Hoosier Canister Flour CoffeeRare Vintage Yellow Aunt Jemima Cookie Jar Mosaic Tile Co 13" X 8" X 6"Rare Vintage Metlox Kangaroo & Joey Cookie Jar #37 Pristine W/label No Reserve!Waterford Crystal Biscuit Barrel/cookie Jar In Lismore Pattern Vintage Cookies All Over Cookie Jar By Los Angeles PotteryVintage Rare Mccoy Cabbage Biscuit Jar Or Cookie Jar-7" Tall-very Nice !!!Vintage Enesco Japan Kitchen Prayer Lady Cookie Jar RareHanna Barbera Warner Brothers 1997 Scooby Doo Cookie Jar. Vintage American Bisque Hobo Cookie Jar Don't Forget Try Mom's Cookies Pat. PendCatwoman Cookie Jar Warner Bros Studio Store 1998 Dc Comics 13.5" TallGreen Depression Glass Uranium Anchor Hocking Hoosier Ribbed Cookie JarQuaker Oats Aunt Jemina Limited Edition Cookie Jar. Number #57? / 1600Hall Sundial Blue Blossom Cookie JarShawnee Cookie Jar Elephant "extremely Lucky" 1993 No. 79/150 Signed Supnick Vintage Mccoy Cookie Jar "sad Clown"-#255-ca.1970-rare Wonderful ConditionWonderful Condition! Mackenzie Childs Cookie Jar W/courtly Check Enamel LidPair Of Vintage Original Pepsi-cola Cop Cookie Jar 99/250 Advertisement Soda Vintage Mccoy Baseball Cookie Jar With Baseball Player Lid - Rare! - Nice!!Vintage 1950's Mccoy? Cookie Jar - Brush Cow With Riding CatOriginal Hull Little Red Riding Hood Cookie Jar W/ Rare Poinsettia #135889Vallona Starr Peter Pumpkin Eater Cookie Jar 1940'sSesame Street Cookie Monster Cookie Jar Aunt Jemima Cookie Jar And Salt And Pepper Shaker Uncle TomVintage Benjamin And Medwin Peanuts Lucy Ceramic Cookie JarBlack Americana Mammy Cookie Jar In Light YellowWaterford Crystal Biscuit Barrel Cookie Jar LismoreBailey's Irish Cream 1996 Coffee Cannister Cookie Jar Winking Man Figural Face1960's Vintage Metlox Pineapple Cookie Jar Poppytrail California Pottery UsaNeca Beetlejuice Cookie Jar Warner Bros. 2001Rare Vintage The Beatles 2004 Vandor Limited Animated Cartoon Cookie Jar W BoxReproduction New Shawnee Pottery Limited Edition Sowly Pig Cookie JarReproduction New Shawnee Pottery Limited Edition Farmer Pig Cookie Jar** Vintage Roseville Robinson Ransbottom Cow Jumped Over The Moon Cookie Jar **Vintage Bartlett Collins Glass Cookie Jar-gingerbread ManVintage Mccoy Cookie Boy Cookie Jar. Rare Yellow Color. 11" Tall. 8.5" Wide Mackenzie Childs Cookie JarShawnee Company Winking Owl Cookie Jar With Lid And Salt And Pepper ShakerFitz And Floyd Oh World Flowers And Butterflies Cookie JarHandpainted Bulldog Cookie JarLongaberger 2006 Cookie Jar Basket ComboAmerican Bisque Have A Cookie Cheerleader Flasher Face Corner Cookie Jar 802 UsaRadko Santa Coke, Coca Cola~snack Treat Cookie Jar~bnib~retired~2011892Disney Dumbo The Elephant In Bubble Bath Tub Ceramic Cookie Jar Rare 64052American Bisque Vintage Cookie Jar Art Pottery Pig Apron Flowers Blue Yellow PinFranciscan California Usa Apple Large Cookie Jar W/ Lid 11" Gladding Mcbean & CoLouisville Stoneware 3 Kitty Cat Design Cookie Jar ~ PawprintsCoca Cola Soda Fountain 1896 Replica Syrup Dispenser Ceramic Cookie Jar Disney Tinkerbell Cookie JarVintage Lefton Christmas Cookie Jar, (4) Mugs, & Snowman Candy JarVintage Aunt Jemima Cookie Jar By Mc Coy Large Cross Eyed Rat Cookie Jar-very Good Condition-adorable-must SeeFitz & Floyd Spring Cookie Jar "halcyon" Bunny Rabbit Pansy Bouquet NibBig Sky Canine Yorkie Cookie Jar La Petite BakeryWarner Bros Marvin The Martian W/space Ray Gun Cookie JarVintage Shawnee Pottery Winnie Pig Cookie Jar Marked UsaCookie Jar Russian Stacking Doll Black, Red, Yellow 13" Tall