Vintage Barware

By Karen Parr-Moody


New Year’s is the perfect time for toasting friends with vintage barware and accoutrements. When hosting a festive dinner or cocktail party, such vintage wares add a touch of old Hollywood glamour to any event.


The shaker, glasses and decanters in the photo, above right, are from “Gay Nineties” line of barware from Gay Fad Studios of Lancaster, Ohio. The line first appeared in 1951 and became the firm’s most extensive line of glassware.


The collection shown here is from the “Here’s To” subset of designs. It includes a Victorian lady in full Gay Nineties regalia, a Victorian couple, some can-can dancers, a weightlifter, and a couple in a surrey. Totally charming! (Shaker and 7 glasses, photo’s center, $34.95; bourbon, gin and scotch decanters, far right, $15 each; bourbon and scotch decanters, far left, $24.95; all at Booth B-103).


The 1950s illuminated cocktail bar in the photo at left is a flashback to the atomic age ($250; Booth B-103). With stylish mirrors and honey colored wood, the look is typical of the era’s furniture influenced by Scandinavia. This type of bar would have been in the 1950s home’s “rec room,” the floor plan addition of this era, as soldiers returning from WWII took part in the housing boom. Such was the excitement of a war-free country.

















It was in an earlier era – that of the post Prohibition years – that cocktail accoutrements were at their zenith of popularity. They appeared in movies, were associated with glamour, and became symbols of the good life. The portable cocktail bar, shown above right, certainly evokes the glamour of that time period. It includes two decanters, eight silver-trimmed glasses, an ice bucket, jigger, and hammered aluminum ice tongs ($79; Booth B-103).


Vintage glamour is surely found in these pink Depression glass wine glasses in the photo at left, as well as in the green sherbet/champagne glasses (four pink glasses, $75; five green glasses, $36; both at Showcase B-512). This glamour would have been hard to foresee back during the economic stresses of the late 20s and 30s, when Depression glass was created in America. It was distributed free, or at low cost, by food manufacturers such as Quaker Oats; companies would put a piece of glassware in food boxes as an incentive to buy. Even movie theaters and businesses handed out the glass to keep customers coming in the door.







Punch bowls are popular party items. Not only are they beautiful, they serve a lot of guests at one time. In the set shown in the photo, right, cups are handily hung around the edge, perfect for serving eggnog or a champagne cocktail. (Silver punch bowl, ladle, tray, and 10 cups, $198.95; B210).


Any of these great items would one add flair to a vintage collector’s cocktail party. And collectors know that the act of gathering items with such flair is almost as much fun as using them. Cheers!

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