Some Thoughts on ADAM

by Rogene Clements
Volume 29 No. 9 - November/December 2003

Adam was made by Jeanette Glass Company from 1932 to 1934. The reference books say that it was made in pink, green, crystal, yellow and Delphite blue. However, I've only seen it in pink and green. There were lots of pieces made in the Adam pattern. In addition to the regular place setting pieces, there is a pitcher, a 9-inch covered bowl, candleholders, a vase, a divided relish, ashtrays, coasters and even a lamp. Please note that the pink vase is valued more than the green vase. Wonder why that is?

Adam is a pattern that's very distinctive. First of all, the plates are square, even the oval bowl and oval platter are square in appearance. The covered sugar is very distinctive with its handles attaching to the outer rim. Secondly, in the middle of the pieces, there are long, fern-like leaves -- I guess that's a connection to the name ADAM. Then around the edges of the pieces, there are dainty little flowers.

Doing a search on eBay for green Adam, resulted in 7 listings, but doing a search for pink Adam resulted in 31 listings. Because green is more difficult to find, it generally is more expensive! For example, the candy jar with cover has a suggested price of $110 in pink $125 in green. The covered butter dish in pink has a suggested price of $115. But green is a different story. One of the dealers at the convention in Claremore had a green Adam covered butter for $475. So my collection is without the green covered butter!

By the way, don't you find round butter dishes interesting? Well, back in the 30s, housewives didn't go buy butter in nice sticks and cubes at the store; no, they made their own butter. So a round butter dish was practical for them. Concerning butter and margarine ... one of the mysteries in life is why in the Midwest does margarine come in sticks, but in the Pacific Northwest, it comes in cubes?

Adam has been reproduced -- but just the covered butter dish. It's fairly easy to determine a repro. Just align the bottom of the butter dish square with your body. Look at the arrowhead-like points between the long fern leaves. On the old piece, the arrowhead-like points are definitely N, S, E, & W, but on the repro, the points are NW, NE, SW, and SE.

One of the reasons I collect Adam is because I really like the square plates. There are dinner plates, but I chose to buy the grill plate because it is different. Here's what Marian Klamkin wrote in her Collector's Guide to Depression Glass published in 1973:

It is unlikely that the compartmented grill plates with spaces for three courses would have been made without all of the information being fed the housewife at the time concerning "well-balanced diets." Grill plates were made with raised ridges to keep foods separate and were the ancestor of today's disposable aluminum TV dinner tray. The idea was brilliant and innovative for the time and was also used by ceramics companies that provided divided grill plates to restaurants and diners. Many like the idea of a divided or compartmented plate. The cranberry sauce did not get mixed into the gravy. Grill plates also made small servings look ample and this probably led to their popularity during the Depression.

Well, I went to my own source to find out about the history of grill plates. I spoke to long-time glass dealer Swede Larsson in Kent, Washington. He told me that Cliff McNeil, a long-time NDGA dealer, told him that grill plates were used only for lunch -- never for dinner. So with that in mind, I bought a DINNER plate in Claremore to complete my set!

There's one thing about it, eating meals in the l930s were a lot different from today. The kitchen table looked a lot better back then than our current day look -- a fast-food sack with a sandwich wrapper, a cardboard fries container and a wax-coated paper cup with straw. Back in the 30s, there were housewives; today we have working mothers. Mothers back in the 1930s were very concerned about the well-balanced diet. Parents today are more concerned about convenience. Families sat around the table and talked in the 30s. Today we pull up to the drive-through window and sit in our cars. In the 30s, people passed the bowls of vegetables and platters of fried chicken. Today, well we lack that skill because what's in my fast-food sack and in front of me is mine. In the 1930s people weren't overweight. Of course back in the 1930s people worked long, hard hours. Today we use chemicals to manufacture our food, society is considered obese and Type 2 diabetes runs rampant. We call this progress!?!

So let's throw out the Styrofoam and plastic containers and go buy some beautiful glass to eat off of. Wait a minute ... that means I have to hand wash my dishes and I might be late for glass club meeting. On second thought, let's store the glass dishes in the cabinet. Convenience wins out!!!