One of Fostoria's lesser known patterns is "Sampler". Produced only five short years, this simple plate etching was patterned after an early American sampler. Advertised as a "Colonial Etching", this pattern is very difficult to find today.
It was first brought to my attention by an acquaintance who wished to add to the pieces inherited from an aunt. The lovely handled bowl, 9½" across and 3 3/8" high, had been used for years on her aunt's buffet, along with the 6" tall candlesticks. But now only one candlestick survived, along with the bowl, the small 3½" creamer and two 10 oz. goblets.
The pattern is charming. A tree with a tiny bird on the top is the central motif, alternating with a bowl of flowers, is in a primitive style typical of a sampler. Diligent searching eventually uncovered, at flea markets, garage sales and antique shops and glass shows, a few more pieces in this pattern - the pitcher being the first. Nearly 9" tall, the pattern is particularly easy to identify on this piece, with the small birds under the flower bowl. Only a flower appears in this position on smaller pieces.
I thought I had found the sugar bowl one day, but it turned out to be the larger size - 3¾". The matching creamer showed up in the same basement a few days later, along with two finger bowls. Three sherbets were found at a thrift store, and though one was chipped on the base, they were added to the collection.
A visit from her cousin from CA brought the news that a few pieces existed, unwanted, in the cousin's basement, and we waited impatiently for the package to arrive. First out of the box was a chipped plate. Then a candlestick, but alas, only 4" tall. Now we had to hunt for two mates. Four cocktail glasses, stemmed, 3½" tall were also in the box with a note saying more was on the way! A parcel "too large for mailbox" arrived while she was out shopping a few days later, and when she called I was delighted to ride down to the post office to pick it up. We could hardly contain ourselves on the ride back to her house. What would be the next treasure?
The very large box was lovingly opened and well-wrapped were six cordials! Under 3" high, these darling stemmed pieces thrilled us both. And to our surprise we found in the box, in what we thought was only more wrapping - a footed console bowl! 4¼" high and 9¼" across, and obviously the perfect thing for serving fruit salad in at next weeks bridge game.
She is still searching for other pieces in this pattern. The lovely crystal is clear and beautifully shaped. Etched on Fostoria's "Raleigh" molds, the simplicity of shape complements the early American style of the etching.
As we have found, the collecting of this pattern can be difficult unless, as she did, you are lucky enough to find a bonanza of unwanted pieces in a cousin's basement!