Fire King Jadeite looks the part of exquisite jade from China – but is it actual jade? Read on how a quirky generation of homemakers turned the iconic jade color into something inexpensive, novel, and a must-have in the kitchen.
Fire King Jade-ite/Jadeite is a type of glassware that became popular in the United States around the middle of the twentieth century. During the time, people were still recovering from the Great Depression, and manufacturers were figuring out ways to get people to invest in cheap glassware.
While Fire King Jadeite looked like jade, it isn’t jade. This glassware was manufactured from opaque glass even though it might look like it was made from crystal.
Anchor Hocking was responsible for manufacturing the first and original Fire King Jadeite line in the United States.
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Anchor Hocking or the Hocking Glass Company, was first established in 1905 in Ohio. It was said that easy access to raw materials made it possible for this glass company to produce multiple glassware lines. One hundred ten years after it was established, the company is still manufacturing quality and durable glassware. Anchor Hocking is one of the largest leading glassware manufacturers in the United States and remains a powerful household brand.
Fire King Jadeite is comparable to the modern Pyrex that many people are more familiar with. Borosilicate glass is a low-expansion type of glass.
While the Fire King line is already discontinued, smaller glass manufacturers produce similar glassware for collectors and people who want a more vintage feel for their kitchens. You may have noticed that people display Fire King Jadeite in their homes. This was not the original intention when Anchor Hocking began producing this glassware so many years ago.
This type of glassware was meant for daily use, meaning it was something that you brought home if you wanted a bit of a pretty feel in your home, but the dishes and bowls were meant to compete with other daily use glassware of the day.
In its heyday, Fire King Jadeite was also given away for free by different brands and manufacturers. For example, if you bought a floor, you would get one dish for free. Department stores and drug stores also used Fire King Jadeite as promotional items. Decades ago, you could score an entire set of small Fire King Jadeite bowls and dishes by buying a particular product from a drug store.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t buy Fire King Jadeite when you wanted to. Different bowls and dishes from the Fire King line can be purchased from groceries, supermarkets, and even hardware stores.
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Product Range & What is it Made Of?
Anchor Hocking became popular for some time, and different lines and types of dishes were produced for the market. The most popular collectors would have to be the medium-sized bowls, but they were never limited to just bowls.
The classic nesting bowls, mugs, casserole dishes, dessert bowls, and even containers for beverages were plates. For example, Anchor Hocking also produced a ball jug that would sit neatly on your table, alongside glasses, teacups, and jars with lids.
Anchor Hocking splashed the classic jade look across multiple lines of dishes.
Despite their durability, Fire King Jadeite was not meant to be cleaned with an automatic dishwasher. If these collectibles were to be placed in the dishwasher, the opaque glass’s natural color would become duller. Additionally, Anchor Hocking manually applied pain to some of their dishes, and the paint would be worn away by strong dish detergents too much water pressure. Therefore, should you have any original Anchor Hocking dishes at home as collectible pieces, never wash them like your other dishes as the outer layer of these collectibles would not be able to withstand modern dishwashers?
Anchor Hocking deployed numerous patterns over the years, since the inception of the Fire King Jadeite brand. The most popular patterns are the Anniversary Rose, Wheat, Blue Mosaic, Forget Me Not and the Fleurette. For the solid glass series, there are the Sheaves of Wheat patter released between 1952-1963, the Kimberly Diamond, the Three Bands, and toward the end of the production of the brand, there was the modern 4000 line, ultimately terminating with the 1700 line of Fire King Jadeite dishes, bowls, and other glassware.
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Did Anchor Hocking ever produce glassware specifically for restaurants or commercial use?
Yes, they did. The ones released for restaurant use had a creamier jade color. These lighter bowls and dishes were promoted by TV mogul Marta Stewart on her show.
Keep in mind that the Fire-King, 2000 series of bowls and dishes are not the same as those produced forty-plus years ago. There should be no confusion, and the collectors should be wary of this newer glassware that is marketed as the same products compared to the other earlier Jadeite dishes.
Also, it is not true that Fire King Jadeite came in just one color. There were many variations in the color of the dishes, bowls, and vases, including rose-it (which was a creamy pink version), burgundy, turquoise, and the like. There were even ivory white dishes and bowls.
Additional coatings that were fired-on to the classic dishes included hues of orange, yellow, green, pastel blue, and yellow (note that these are all in primary colors).
Where to Find Vintage Fire King Jadeite?
If you are primarily interested in the Fire King Jadeite produced by the Anchor Hocking company, there are plenty of listings on places like eBay or etsy, where collectors still abound. Just check the description of the item to see if there is “Anchor Hocking” on it.
Since these are for collectors, the items are often listed individually or in small packs (three to five items per pack). Keep in mind that other companies in the same era as Anchor Hocking produced similar-looking glassware, too, and they also use the moniker “jadeite” or “jadeite” to brand this glassware.
Are these also collectible?
Yes, they are, and like the glassware from Anchor Hocking, the glassware from other brands is not made from jade but durable glass.
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