Fry Glass

H. C. Fry Glass
H. C. Fry glassfrom the Glass

H. C. Fry juice squeezer
Reamer with handle in
opalescent oven-proof
glass by H.C.Fry.

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Fry Art Glass

H. C. Fry Glass: A short explanation:

H. C. Fry Glass was established in 1901 by Henry Clay Fry (1840-1929) in Rochester, Pennsylvania. H.C.Fry was already 61 when he founded this company, and had a lifetime of experience working, managing and owning other glassworks. He applied this knowledge to setting up the most modern and technically advanced glassworks in the USA, and together with his two sons they produced a wide range of high quality glass in large volumes. The company continued until the Great Depression and the death of Henry Clay Fry (in 1929) combined to cause its failure. It was closed by the receivers in 1933.

Cut Crystal Glass Initially the company made crystal glass blanks for cutting by other companies, and their own high quality cut crystal. The quality of their glass and its high lead content resulted in some of the finest cut crystal ever made in the USA. Fry cut crystal glass was marked with an acid etched stamp "Fry" in script, sometimes with other words such as "Fry Quality" and sometimes surrounded by a shield. It is both difficult to find and difficult to see, and sometimes was missing althogether. They continued to make cut crystal until the early 1920s, when the effects of prohibition, scarce materials, and increased popularity of silver as an alternative, made it unprofitable.

Etched glass was also made by the H.C. Fry company from 1908 onwards, but this, so far as we know, was never marked with the company name or logo. They produced a series of beautiful patterns and were still announcing new designs as late as 1931.

Oven glass and Kitchen ware: Heat-resistant oven glass was made by this company from 1916 onwards, under license from the Corning glass company. Initially their oven ware was lime green colored, but in 1921 they introduced opalescent ovenware and kitchenware like the reamer shown above left. This glass is always marked with the name FRY and other descriptive words, mould numbers, and/or patent numbers. The reamer above is marked: FRY HEAT RESISTING GLASS 1967. This number is not the date, it is the mold number. Known mold numbers for Fry kitchen and ovenware run from 1916 to 1976. Fry kitchen ware was produced in clear and colored glass as well as opalescent.

Fry Table ware: complete dinner sets and tea sets were produced, along with candlesticks and bowls for table decoration. They were offered in colored or opalescent or crystal glass, and a range of decorations were applied. These included crackle effects, glass threading, colored lines, silver overlay, gold overlay or trim, enamel decoration, black or colored applied feet (sometimes petal shaped), and swirled knops connecting up the stems. Tableware became an increasing important part of the company's production in the 1920s.

Fry Art Glass: in 1922, after the launch of its opalescent oven ware, the Fry Glass company used this high quality opalescent glass as the basis for an art glass line of products. They described the color as "translucent pearl" and gave the name "FOVAL" to their art glass range. The range included teapots, coffee-pots, jugs, candlesticks, vases, compotes, bowls, cups, saucers, plates, goblets, etc. They were either plain opalescent glass, or had blue or green handles or feet or decorative trim added, and sometimes there were blue or green "pulled trail" looped decorations in the opalescent glass. Items were also sometimes decorated with silver overlay, some with gold trim or even gold overlay, and a few pieces were produced in jade green or delft blue.

Fry Art Glass was hand blown and fire polished, with the pontils polished out, although some items such as lids were pressed. And it was marked with foil labels "Fry Glass Company" - never, so far as we know, with an etched or engraved mark.

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References and Sources:

Click on the book cover or title to read more about these books.

1: The Collector's Encyclopedia of Fry Glassware (1990) by H.C. Fry Glass Society.
2: American Cut and Engraved Glass (2000) by Albert Christian Revi.
3: Collecting American Brilliant Cut Glass, 1876-1916 (1997) by Bill Boggess.

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