In Appreciation of Pink Mayfair

by Cheryl Kevish
Volume 21 No. 3 - October 1994

One of the delights of depression glass collecting comes from the enjoyment of pattern names, both those given formally by the glass companies and those that have been bestowed by the collecting Pink Mayfair community. The modern advertising business was coming into its own during the Depression era and was facing the challenge of enticing consumers who had very little money to spend. So product names had to convey an image and create a desire for acquisition that transcended necessity. The names of depression glass patterns are examples of the advertising copywriter's skill in evoking feelings of beauty, grace and charm and affixing them to the glassware.

Many moods and images can be conjured up in the imagination by reading through a list of "A to W" or elegant glassware names, ranging from the whimsical to the nostalgic. One theme that recurs is an appeal to the American interest in our English heritage, and Mayfair falls into that grouping. The motif of open roses delicately placed on the glassware, with decorative rose garlands appearing in the corners, is an image of the English spring celebrated in poetry and song. In the sometimes cheerless Depression, this widely distributed pattern offered a bit of beauty and thoughts of happier times.

Hocking Glass Company produced the Mayfair pattern from 1931 to 1937 in pink and blue, with some green, yellow and crystal. It is a mold-etched pattern, with a basic square shape given to the plates and cups. Corners and edges are softened with diagonal cuts and scalloping. Mayfair collectors enjoy one of the largest selections of pieces available in depression glass. A basic place setting has appreciated approximately 140% in the past fifteen years.

Green Cameo
Cereal Bowl, 5½" 6.00 22.00
Cup 7.00 17.00
Saucer with Cup Ring 11.75 30.00
Sherbet Plate, 6½" 6.50 12.50
Luncheon Plate, 8½" 8.50 24.00
Dinner Plate, 9½" 20.00 47.50
Sherbet, 3" Ftd. 9.00 16.00
Tumbler, 4¼", 9 oz. 13.50 26.00

Mayfair offers an abundant selection of tumblers and goblets. In addition, the availability of such a range of accessory pieces provides great temptation to those of us who are "fiscally challenged". A few items, such as the three-legged console, the footed salt and pepper shakers and the sugar bowl lid are too far out of reach to even contemplate. Happily, the delightful sweet pea vase and graceful sandwich server are within grasp. This selected group of accessory pieces has appreciated approximately 150% since 1979.

Green Cameo
Vegetable Bowl, Oval, 10" 10.00 24.00
Creamer, Ftd. 9.00 25.00
Sugar, Ftd. 11.50 27.50
Butter Dish & Cover 35.00 60.00
Center Handled Sandwich Server 12.00 42.50
Cake Plate, 12" w/Handles 10.00 38.00
PItcher, 8½", 80 oz. 27.50 95.00
Salt & Pepper Shakers, Flat 29.50 57.50
Vase, Sweet Pea 57.50 130.00

Some Mayfair pieces, such as the candy dish, can be found with an opaque finish known as "satinizing." This finish was produced by dipping the piece in camphoric acid, and the piece was then often embellished with hand-painted flowers. Mrs. Weatherman states that Hocking did this as a promotion, especially during the holiday season. Today this finish is not as highly valued by collectors.

Mayfair has not escaped the scourge of reproduction. As Mr. Florence reports, the whiskey shot glass, the cookie jar and the salt and pepper shakers have been copied. Fortunately, he provides many design and color details, contrasting the old and the new, to assist collectors.

The Mayfair name also became the subject of a dispute between Hocking and Federal Glass Company. Even though Hocking had been producing Mayfair glassware since 1931, and had patented the name, Federal came out with a Mayfair pattern featuring a rose motif in 1934. Hocking protested, and Federal chose to redesign as well as rename their glassware. Through two mold design transitions, Federal eventually produced the Rosemary pattern from 1935 to 1937, which still prominently featured the rose motif. I paraphrase Shakespeare (and with apologies), a rose by any name makes lovely Depression glass.

My next article will feature Cherry Blossom, a pattern produced by the Jeannette Glass Company.

Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Fourth Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1979
Florence, Gene, Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, Eleventh Edition, Paducah, KY, Collector Books, 1994
Weatherman, Hazel Marie, Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, Ozark, MO, Weatherman GLASSBOOKS, 1970.
Klamkin, Marian, The Collector's Guide to Depression Glass, New York, NY, Hawthorne Books Inc., 1973.