The Story of Fire King from Anchor HockingFitness Equipment
"Fire King" glassware has its roots on the Hocking River at Lancaster Ohio. The "Black Cat" (so named because when the building was bought it was covered in black soot) was destroyed by fire in March of 1924. A new plant was quickly built and by 1930, Hocking was producing glassware in fashionable colors of pale green, blue and pink.
This depression era production survived and even prospered while many other companies were going under and in 1937 it merged with Anchor Cap Corporation and became known as the Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation.
A new method of firing or tempering glass was developed that would create glass which wouldn't break or crack at oven temperatures. Anchor Hocking began manufacturing a line called Fire King within a few years and continued until 1976. Not exactly Depression Glass, Fire King is usually lumped under that heading. It didn't come into production until the 1940s, after most Depression Glass lines had begun to fade.
Created by Anchor Hocking as an every day line of dishes, Fire King was unique in that it was made to withstand oven temperatures and was pretty enough to go from oven to dinner table and sturdy enough to go from there to the refrigerator and back again.
Fire King was a promotional item, coming in bags of flour or given away for so many gallons of gasoline purchased. A careful housewife could collect an entire set, since flour and gas were necessary purchases for everyone. However, the dishes were available at hardware and "five and ten" stores, so she could fill in the pieces that were hard to get.
Color was the key to the popularity of Fire King - Peach Luster, Sapphire, Ivory, Turquoise, Jadite and more beckoned to the housewives of the day as they brightened their kitchens and dining rooms with this beautiful glassware. Along with the solid colors, came designs of stripes and dots, fruit and flowers, brightly colored and hand painted.
Besides the dinnerware and ovenware made for homes, Anchor Hocking made Fire King mixing bowls, refrigerator dishes, sets of children's dishes, shaving mugs, jewel boxes and a line of dishes and mugs for restaurants and other commercial use.
Mugs and cups dated in the 70's are easily found in most parts of the country for anywhere from fifty cents to ten or twelve dollars, although some designs have become rare. Older mugs like Primrose, Fluerette and Honeysuckle are among the rarer mugs and there are many other rare pieces that challenge seasoned collectors.
Today, reproduction pieces from Asia and South America have fouled the market for collectors and many truly rare pieces have been reproduced and sold. It's not easy to tell the difference between a true Fire King piece and a fake. If you're not sure, it's best to contact a professional collector.
As an American icon, Fire King attracts beginners as well as professional collectors of depression era glass. The variety of prices as well as styles and colors make it attractive to all.
Fire-King.net has much information, pieces for sale, reproduction alerts and more.