Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: P is for Purple Glass

When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.

is for purple glass. More specifically, it is Wisteria by Fostoria. It was the fine wedding crystal of my grandaunt Velma Davis Woodring. In the division of “THINGS,” my mother took the crystal for me, and my cousin Bobbie took Velma’s china. It was the sweetest pattern of yellow and purple flowers on ivory colored china. I imagine the china and Wisteria crystal made a beautiful table.

Wisteria by Fostoria
Water goblet and tall sherbet
Juice glass in front 
One of the unique features of the Wisteria crystal is that it appears to change colors. APPEARS to. Fluorescent lighting makes the glass look blue. Collectors know if they see blue glass to take it into natural light to test for that beautiful wisteria purple.

Unfortunately, much of Velma’s crystal was chipped, so Momma and Bobbie threw many pieces away not knowing that some crystal can actually be repaired. Such a pity. So I inherited a few water goblets, a few champagne/sherbet/martini glasses, and a couple juice glasses (or maybe they are shrimp cocktail glasses??).

The pattern is rare but Replacements and eBay occasionally have Wisteria available for purchase. I toyed with the idea of adding to the collection, but it is pricey. Currently Replacements is selling the champagne/sherbet for $22. One dealer on eBay wants $27 while another is offering 3 for $96. Replacements has no water glasses, but there is one - and ONLY ONE - on eBay for $45.

Velma did not limit her love of purple to fine stemware. She also had candlesticks and a bowl which was either an ice dish or a flower bowl used as a centerpiece. One Wisteria double candlestick on eBay is on offer for $92 (plus another $22 in shipping costs).

Wisteria candlesticks and bowl

One more purple glass piece is this one.

Purple glass pot possibly chocolate pot 

We have always called it a chocolate pot because of its size and shape, but I am not sure chocolate pots were ever made of glass. It is too tall for a syrup pitcher. I thought it was too small for lemonade until I remembered that there is a picture of it on display with Velma’s wedding gifts.

Look - the pitcher is surrounded by small tumblers which appear to be of the same glass. OK, Lemonade Pitcher, it is.

But wait - Lemonade pitchers didn’t have lids. So I’m back to “I just don’t know.”

I wonder what became of the tumblers.

Wedding gifts Velma Davis Woodring
The Lemonade Set is on the buffet, next to the silver platter.
I have designated Velma’s purple glass to go to my younger daughter who is truly Velma’s rightful heir. Just like Velma, she loves jewelry and she loves purple.

© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. I had to google "chocolate pot" because I have never heard of one, although I've certainly drank my share of hot chocolate. It took me to an article on the Smithsonian and it was very interesting.

    I can't believe you remembered seeing that pitcher among Velma's wedding gifts!

    The lid would be useful to get bees and flies out of the lemonade though!

    1. That's a good thought, but I've still not convinced. It still looks most like a chocolate pot but those tumblers don't fit the scene. It's a puzzle.

  2. What a lovely post, and this purple glass is something we don't see often. We had a family dinner on Sunday and I brought out a lot of my grand-mother and great-grandmother's pink I think they call pink depression glass? Time to use our family keepsakes!

    1. LOVE pink depression glass. Good for you for using it!

  3. What beautiful glassware - I don't think I've ever seen or heard of purple glass before1

    Donna B. McNicol|Author and Traveler
    A to Z Flash Fiction Stories | A to Z of Goldendoodles

  4. Beautiful shade of purple.
    I'd hate to have to dust at your house!!! hahaha

    My A to Z Genealogy Challenges

  5. That Wisteria crystal is so pretty! It is interesting to think that it could have been repaired; wonder what the technique is in doing so. You have an interesting theme for A/Z :)


    1. My understanding is that small chips can be smoothed away by grinding - like a special "sandpaper" or fine grinding bit.

  6. After staying up until 1AM to get my Q post finished, I tried to visit and comment on my phone while lying in the bed. Unfortunately, I haven't got that perfected and my comment disappeared. What I said was that the wisteria glass is beautiful, it does remind me of wisteria. I love wisteria, even though it's slowly strangling the trees as it festoons them with beauty.

    1. My neighbors have 2 wisteria plants that they keep self-contained and away from anything to attach to. They keep them trimmed. Wisteria is just so beautiful even if it can be invasive.

  7. Beautiful! And so great that your daughter's favorite color is also purple.