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Jadite…

Eat Your Heart Out, Martha Stewart!
By David Ross and Joe Keller

Introduction by Kathy Greer

Years ago (like ten years) it was easy to find Fire-King dinnerware at auctions and in shops. In those days, it rarely showed up at any kind of show but often frequented flea markets in the cheap boxes under the tables. Auctioneers sold it for $5 and $10 a boxlot...it seemed like no one wanted the stuff.  Which of course, wasn’t true.

Behind the scenes, many avid collectors of American dinnerware were beginning to focus on particular colors including McKee’s jadite and Fire-King’s turquoise blue. However, everyone agrees it wasn’t until Martha Stewart fell in love with jadite and featured it on her TV show and in her magazine that prices really began to soar. Recently, she has introduced a line of her own "jadite", reproductions carrying a hearty pricetag in their own right. To date, to our knowledge there hasn’t been a definitive guide to jadite, although any number of price guides and reference books have devoted a section to the topic. The 1996 Collector Book’s third ed. of Collectible Glassware from the 40s, 50s 60s by Gene Florence, for example, contains numerous pages devoted to Fire-King in all its varieties, but one might argue the prices are sadly outdated.

Therefore, we were quite pleased when we heard from Mark Diette and Mary Di Maria, owners of Burlwood Antique Center in Meredith, NH concerning two of their dealers. It turns out David Ross and Joe Keller have a book newly released by Schiffer Publishing dealing with the topic. Destined to become the bible of jadite collectors, we were pleased when David and Joe (along with Schiffer Publishing) agreed to allow our readers a "peek" into their book.

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The origins of jadite as a force in the glassware industry can be traced to its development by the McKee Glass
Company in 1930. While some jadite items were produced by other glass companies prior to this date, McKee’s
introduction of Skokie green and Jade kitchenware and dinnerware marks the first large-scale attempt to introduce jadite.

The introduction of "opal wares" in the late 1920s and "jade glass" around 1930 by McKee marks the real
beginning of Jadite. According to company literature, opaque glassware was introduced in a variety of colors that were inspired by the various shades of opal and jade stones. Included in these colors were French Ivory, Seville yellow, Poudre blue (also called "chaline" in company literature), opal white, and Skokie green.

McKee’s only complete line of Jadite dinnerware, Laurel, was introduced at this time. Also introduced in 1930 and 1931 was a line of opaque kitchenware. This line included mixing bowls, shakers, canisters, refrigerator dishes, and orange juice reamers.

Most of these items were made into the 1940s, but it is especially difficult to determine when individual items went out of production.

McKee jadite, for the most part, is marked with the letters "McK" in a small circle.

Shortly after McKee’s introduction of colored opaque kitchenware, its rival company in Jeannette, Pa.—the
Jeannette Glass Company—began production of a similar line in 1932.

Founded in 1898 as a bottle producer, Jeannette Glass Company became a force in glass production in the 1920s
with its advanced technology in the automation of colored glassware production.

Like McKee, Jeannette's product line included canisters, shakers, leftovers, and mixing bowls, available in a
variety of colors. Jeannette’s opaque green line was, for the first time, called "Jadite." Other companies would
borrow this name, changing it to "Jad-ite" or "Jade-ite" over the following twenty years.

Most Jeannette jadite is not marked. Some of the earlier pieces are marked with a "J" in a triangle, followed by
mold numbers.

The vast majority of jadite dinnerware was made from 1945 to 1975 by Anchor Hocking under their Fire-king
division. In the tradition of Hocking Glass, color played a major role in many of Anchor Hocking’s new product
lines.

In 1939, they introduced the first of their royal ruby lines. This was followed in 1940 by "Philbe" dinnerware which was produced in pink, blue, and green. Philbe dinnerware was followed by ovenware with the Philbe design on it in 1942. This was marketed as "Fire-king" ovenware.

In the late 1940s and 1950s, many kitchen and household items were made in jadite by the Fire-king division of
Anchor Hocking, including vases, refrigerator dishes, pitchers, and mixing bowls.

Most Fire-king jadite is marked with some variety of the company’s Fire-king logo. Some pieces that were  special orders for specific stores or promotions have no company marking.

This information was excerpted from Jadite: An Identification & Price Guide by Joe Keller & David Ross.
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. Atglen, Pennsylvania. For orders and information, please call (610) 593-1777 or fax (610) 593-2002.
 

                        FROM THE AUTHORS:

Many books have been written on Depression Era kitchenware and dinnerware, yet none has focused on the mass-produced opaque green glassware, known as jadite. Jadite: An identification and price guide attempts to bring together the works of the three major glass companies that produced jadite: McKee, Jeannette, and Anchor Hocking. Produced from the early 1930s until the mid 1970s, jadite has rapidly become one of today’s hottest collectibles. In addition to numerous dinnerware patterns, all sorts of jadite kitchenware was produced, including canisters, shakers, mixing bowls, and ovenware. Jadite items were also made for the rest of the home including lamps, bathroom items, and ashtrays. We have produced a book which identifies over a thousand jadite pieces with more than 500 photos and current values.

Who We Are: Joe Keller and David Ross are antiques dealers, specializing in 20th century American dinnerware. In addition to jadite, we actively deal in Russel Wright, Fiesta, Eva Zeisel, Hall, and Lu-Ray. We are currently working on a price guide for Russel Wright dinnerware. We set up at many major antique shows in the Northeast, including The Triple Pier Show, Atlantique City, and Brimfield. For additional information or if you have information on jadite pieces not listed in this book, please
contact us at our website:

http://member.aol.com/KellerRoss

Or write us at P.O. Box 783, Melrose, MA 02176.

What follows is a list of Antique Malls in New England where we exhibit:

Burlwood Antiques, Rt 3 Meredith NH

Quechee Gorge Village, Rt 4 Quechee VT

Wells Antique Mart, Rt 1 Wells ME

Bo-Mar Hall, Rt 1 Wells ME

Arundel Antiques, Rt 1 Arundel ME
 

What’s in a Name?
Many people are confused over the use and spelling of the name or word jadite. Joe Keller and David Ross’s new book spells the word as Jadite, yet many old manufacturers’ advertisements spell it Jade-ite. If you do a search on the internet, particularly on ebay, be prepared to look under a number of different spellings. "So which is it?" we asked expert Joe Keller. Here’s his answer:

The earliest references to what we have termed "Jadite" was by the McKee Glass Company. They simply referred to it as "Jade Glass." This was in the late  1920s. By 1932, the glass was being referred to as "Jadite" by the  Jeannette Glass Company. It was not referred to as "Jade-ite" until after  WWII by Anchor Hocking. AH also called it "Jad-ite." See pages 6 and 7 in  our book. By the way, there are four spellings that you have to use on Ebay: Jadite, Jadeite, Jade-ite and Jad-ite.
 

Jadite: An Identification & Price Guide is now available at the Burlwood Antique Center in Meredith, NH and WILL BE available on their website at www.burlwood-antiques.com after October 31st, when the shop closes for the winter months. Stop in soon or shop their website year round! Burlwood’s owners Mark and Mary explained, "With over 700 internet visitors each day, Burlwood Antique Center looks forward to extending the selling season through the winter via our website. Typical items for sale include advertising, glassware, kitchen items, porcelain, pottery, and silver. New to the site will be a selection of books and price guides for collectors. During the end of April, 2000 start looking on the website for a "sneak preview" of the items that will be featured at Burlwood on the May 1st "Season Opening".