An assortment of Degenhart Star & Dewdrop and Daisy & Button salt cellars.
Degenhart toothpick holders in Gypsy Pot, Colonial Drape, Heart, Basket, Beaded Oval and Forget-Me-Not.
In the first part of this Vintage Brand History Series, we’re going to explore Degenhart glassware! The Degenhart Crystal Art Glass Company was started by John & Elizabeth Degenhart in Ohio in 1947. Glass manufacturing companies were very common in Ohio during the area’s brief “Gas Boom” in the late 19th century. Other glass companies that started in Ohio include Mosser Glass & Boyd’s.
John had started working in glass factories at the age of 9 and by 15 he was working at the Cambridge Glass Company in Cambridge, Ohio. There he and his brother Charles were originally producing glass paperweight gear shift knobs for automobiles from a 1929 patent they received. These gear shifts are still highly sought after for older model cars!
Patent drawings for the gear shift designed by Charles Degenhart.
Degenhart Crystal Art Glass Company made all sorts of pieces like toothpick holders, salt cellars, salt and pepper shakers, paperweights, cream and sugar sets and owl, shoe, bell and “pooch” figurines in a variety of patterns using over 145 colors of glass! In addition to these pieces John also made several paperweight-related objects like doorstops, gravemarkers, vases, lamps, and bookends. Many of these items are very hard to come by! The Degenhart logo is a heart with a block letter “D” or a script letter “D” inside. Prior to 1972 only the owl figurines were marked.
John died in 1964 and Elizabeth took over management of the company and also helped establish the Degenhart Paperweight & Glass Museum in Cambridge, Ohio which included her personal glass collection (unfortunately the museum permanently closed in November of 2011). And a fun fact – Mrs. Degenhart's glassmaking operations were drawing so much attention throughout Ohio that governor James A. Rhodes honored Elizabeth on October 2nd, 1975 by declaring her as Ohio's "First Lady of Glass"!
Elizabeth passed away in April of 1978. The glass color in the tank at the time of her death was named in honor of her: Elizabeth's Blue. After her death the company was sold to Boyd’s Crystal Art Glass - Bernard Boyd and his father Zack both worked for Elizabeth and created over 200 of the colors used in Degenhart pieces, including a lot of the slag glass (combinations of two or more glass colors). Boyd's Crystal Art Glass factory closed in 2013.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about the history of Degenhart Glass! With all the colors that were used and all the different patterns and unique styles they’ve remained a favorite of glass and vintage collectors to this day. Click here to shop our available pieces, and stay tuned for more in the Vintage Brand History Series!
Much of the information in this blog post was taken from this book, 'Degenhart Glass and Paperweights: A collector's guide to colors and values' by Gene Florence.
John and Elizabeth Degenhart, c. 1950 exhibiting their glass novelties along with other gift items at the Coshocton County Fair.
Images of toothpick holders from the collector's guide book. Such a range of colors!
What colors are your favorites? Do you own any Degenhart pieces? Let us know in the comments below!
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All imaging and written copy on this site is original and the protected property of The Mustard Dandelion™ brand. Image source for the gearshift knob is the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass.
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