The Anchor Hocking Glass Co. is well-known for its Depression-era glass items, including glassware, serving dishes and candlesticks. Popular lines include Royal Ruby line and the milk glass and Jadeite styles that were produced under the company's Fire King name. Other companies made glassware in some similar colours and patterns, and reproductions are on the market today. Collectors on the hunt for authentic Anchor Hocking pieces must know how to identify original Anchor Hocking glassware.
Research Anchor Hocking glassware to become familiar with the types of glassware and patterns the company produced, and the markings it used on its products. The maker's mark changed over time, which can be a helpful in identifying Anchor Hocking glassware and the approximate manufacture date. For instance, the basic marking of a capital "H" over an anchor was used from 1937 to 1976; an anchor inside a square was used from 1976 to 1999.
Read reference books like "Anchor Hocking’s Fire-King and More Identification and Value Guide” by Gene Florence, and “Anchor Hocking Decorated Pitchers and Glasses: The Depression Years.” These books and others can be found at libraries, bookstores, antique shops and collector shows.
Look at websites such as Replacements.com to view a photo gallery of Anchor Hocking glass patterns and styles. Auction sites likes Bonanzle.com and eBay.com also offer Anchor Hocking glass items. Sellers are more likely to be offering authentic items if they provide detailed photographs of each item, are upfront about any defects, offer a satisfaction guarantee and have a solid reputation with past buyers.
Use an Internet search engine and type in "Fake Fire King" or "Reproduction Anchor Hocking" to find articles explaining how to spot glassware that isn't authentic.
Look for glassware that is a deep red, almost cranberry in colour. Other companies made dark red glassware, and Anchor Hocking didn't mark all pieces of Royal Ruby. Look first at the bottom of the red glassware for an etched or stamped anchor with an upper case “H” in the centre.
Identify early Royal Ruby creamer and sugar pieces by their rounded bowls and small feet; later creamer and sugar pieces, in the R-4000 line, are identified by flat bottoms and no feet.
Locate the Anchor Hocking mark on Royal Ruby beer bottles that were made for the Schlitz Brewery. These bottles will be inscribed with "Royal Ruby" or the "H" over the anchor.
Identify milk glass by its slightly opaque, filmy looking white colour. Anchor Hocking made most of its milk glass under the Fire King label.
Turn the glassware over and look for the words "Fire King," "Anchor Hocking" or a combination of both. The Anchor Hocking symbol of an "H" with an anchor was also used.
Be sure to verify that milk glass with a hobnail or grapevine pattern is an Anchor Hocking piece, since other companies made similar patterns. Anchor Hocking's hobnail pattern used a small, rounded half circle.
Watch for glassware with a creamy green colour, which is commonly known as jadeite. While several companies produced this type of glassware, Anchor Hocking called its line Jadeite. When examining items, check for the hyphen in the word "Jadeite" to identify it as an Anchor Hocking piece.
Look for authentic Jadeite pieces in a wide variety of green shades, from pale to dark. Jadeite was made from glass scraps, so the amount of impurities in the scraps affected the final colour of the glassware.
Watch for Jadeite kitchen shakers in a variety of sizes, but only rounded shapes. Anchor Hocking did not make any square shakers.