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Kansas City

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Meeting Highlights & Program

 

August 2011

 

Dewayne shared a small representation of his exhaustive Swanky Swig collection.  Club members were mesmerized by Dewayne’s detailed discussion of how to identify authentic Swanky Swig glasses and how to spot a lookalike.  Swanky Swigs were made (primarily) from 1937 to 1976.  True Swanky Swigs are glass tumblers that originally held a Kraft food product and that originally had a lid that could snap on or off for reuse.  Swank Swigs were produced for both American and Canadian markets.  American Swanky Swigs came in a standard 5 ounce size; Canadian Swanky Swigs came in 4 ounce and 10 ounce sizes.  Swanky Swigs have a slight ridge around the top to catch the snap-on lid.  Kraft contracted with glass companies for the tumblers, but they controlled the designs and the food products that would fill them.  As the Kraft Swanky Swigs became popular in grocery stores, other food companies produced their own lookalikes.  Swanky Swig collectors today, however, consider only those that contained Kraft foods as true members of their collection.
 
Dewayne started his collection soon after he joined the Heart of America Glass Collectors and saw large batches of them at the homes of other collectors.  He was intrigued by their whimsical nature and wide variety of designs and colors, and he was drawn to the inexpensive collectible (which turned out to be not as inexpensive as he first thought).  After his first acquisitions he was hooked!  He has a great start on collecting at least one Swanky Swig of each design and coloration.  He works on both the American and the Canadian versions and the display easily showed how much fun it would be to collect these small treasures.
 
Dewayne pointed out the first Swanky Swig, made in 1937 and now referred to as the Band design.  It has simple red and black stripes.  These first examples had hand-painted lines (Kraft and its partner glass company employed 290 women to paint the bands by hand)!  For the next design, Circle, the manufacturers looked for a more scalable and less labor-intensive method of adding the design to the glass and settled on silk screening.  The new method proved to be a winner and all future Swanky Swigs were produced via silk screening.
 
The Star design soon followed and collectors start to see the expanded color palette that would become fairly standard:  red, orange, yellow, green, blue, black, white, and sometimes brown.  Dewayne noted that each design has color rarities nowadays.  Kraft filled each Swanky Swigs with processed foods such as cheese, French dressing, macaroni and cheese, or mustard.  Collectors speculate that certain colors made some of the foods look less appealing and so Kraft edited the colors used for a design if a product did not look as appealing under that coloration.  Dewayne also included a fun selection of the disposable lids that Kraft added to the Swanky Swigs.  The lids are hard to find today and also display wide variations in design.  Dewayne mentioned a series that included John Wayne’s image that are highly sought after today.
 
The list of designs is impressive; Dewayne did his best to present them in chronological order.  He noted that while the early designs were likely available one at a time, as the popularity of the very affordable “foodstuffs with reusable glasses” increased, it is likely that by the late 1940s or early 1950s multiple designs were on the market simultaneously.  Other designs highlighted by Dewayne include:  Checkerboard, Sailboats, Lattice and Vine, Galleons, Texas Centennial, Tulip, Posey, Carnival, Forget Me Not, Bustlin’ Betsey, Antique, Kitty Cups, Bachelor Buttons, Rooster, Cherries, Ethnic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Card Deck, and Transportation.  Canadian-only designs include Sports and Animals.  Dewayne also included a few of the lookalikes, such as Harlequin and Circus.  Kraft also issued a new Swanky Swig in 2003 and Dewayne was able to show off one of new designs.

View more of Dewayne's Swanky Swig Collection displayed at the 2008 NDGA Glass Show in our Picture Gallery #6.

 
Thanks to Dewayne for a fun and informative program!
 

 

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Show & Tell

Club members brought the following treasures for Show and Tell!  Here are some highlights from this meeting.  Descriptions of each treasure is found below the pictures using the corresponding number.

 

 

1.
Redwing Pottery advertizing pitcher, “Compliments of Farmers Coop Creamery, Hull, Iowa”, from the early 1940s and not part of the general line.
2.
Eisenberg Christmas broaches from the 1960s through 1980s.
3.
Anchor Hocking clear Coin Dot tumblers from the early 1960s.
4.
Fostoria clear Victorian ball vase, made between 1895 and 1910.
5.
Cambridge #3400/39 footed creamer and #3400/40 sugar shaker with glass top.
6.
Imperial Glass Imperial Blue Cape Cod #161 stick butter dish, made in 1992 by Fenton for Tiara Exclusives.
7.
Imperial Glass crystal Cape Cod plates with manufacturer-added yellow stain.
8.
Fenton barber bottles, distributed by L.E. Smith.
9.
Cambridge crystal Wildflower four-toed 12 ½” #933 bowl with gold trim.
10.
Heisey crystal Medium Flat Panel comport, made between 1905 and 1929.
11.
Fenton crystal acid-etched Ming pattern cornucopias and comport, circa 1935.
12.
Morgantown Stiegel Green #64 Neapolitan 6” witch ball vase with crystal Italian feet.
13.
Frankoma Pottery Woodland Moss #133 bookends (from the custom line).