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The Fostoria Glass Company began in Fostoria, Ohio, in 1887. By 1891, an inadequate natural gas supply had caused the company to relocate to Moundsville. Fostoria hired skilled Wheeling-area glass men there and met with early success.

Fostoria made more than three dozen pressed glass patterns, more than 80 etched patterns, and more than 100 cutglass patterns, representing immense amounts of glass production for the American table during nearly a century of existence. In the late 1920s, Fostoria mainly produced colored full dinner services with etched or cut decorations. In the 1930s, crystal surpassed dinnerware in the expanding line of Fostoria glass. Milk glass was popular in the 1950s and 1960s.

By mid-century, Fostoria had become the leading choice for elegant handmade tableware in a booming post-war society. Employment reached a high of 950 in the late 1940s, and Fostoria manufactured 8 million pieces of glass in 1950. Millions of pieces of glass were shipped from the company’s factory. Later, Fostoria fell into decline due to changing tastes, foreign competition, and the increased use of plastics. In 1983, Fostoria was sold to Lancaster Colony Corporation, and the Moundsville plant closed in 1986.

Fostoria manufactured the ‘‘American’’ pattern which is the longest produced glass pattern in U.S. history and one of the most diverse, with almost 400 shapes made in this single pattern. Designed and patented in 1915, American remains in production today, long after Fostoria closed. Now marketed as American Whitehall, it is made by machine, not hand, by the Lancaster Colony Corporation at its Indiana Glass Company subsidiary.

This Article was written by Dean Six

Last Revised on March 15, 2013

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Sources

Kerr, Ann. Fostoria: An Identification and Value Guide. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1994.

Long, Milbra & Emily Seate. Fostoria Stemware: The Crystal for America. Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1995.

Pina, Leslie. Fostoria: Serving the American Table 1887-1986. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub., 1995.

Cite This Article

Six, Dean "Fostoria Glass." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 15 March 2013. Web. 20 September 2018.

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