Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

January 29, 2014

Collecting cookie jars--don't get your hand caught in a reproduction

In the late 1700’s, the British devised a way to keep their tasty morsels fresh.

They invented the biscuit jar. It took about 125 years for this idea made its way across the Atlantic, but it finally did and in the early part of the 1900’s American glass factories introduced their version of the container. They called it the “cookie jar.”

By the 1920’s the cookie jar was a staple in homes throughout America. These early jars were made of glass with either a matching top or a graduating screw-on lid. Many of the glass patterns of the Depression era were available in cookie jar form. While a few glass jars are a nice addition to an advanced collection, it is the ceramic or pottery cookie jars introduced in the early 1930’s that are most commonly collected.

The first ceramic cookie jar made in the U.S. is commonly credited to the Brush Pottery Company of Zanesville, Ohio. It was a plain green cylinder shaped jar that simply said “Cookies” on the front. Collectors watch for early Brush cookie jars, most of which are marked BRUSH U.S.A. on the bottom. But please beware if you are a novice to collecting in this field. Brush jars, especially the very early ones, have been reproduced in large quantities. This is where you would be wise to invest in an identification guide and do your homework before you shop.

Following Brush’s lead, the major American pottery companies were offering a line of ceramic jars by the mid-1930’s. Competition was fierce and designs became more innovative with the introduction of cookie jars in the shapes of figures, as well as in the shape of vegetables, fruit, and animals. Famous figures from children’s stories, such as the Hull ‘Little Red Riding Hood” were an instant success and remain popular to this day.

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