Early American Prescut (EAPC) Color Glassware by Anchor Hocking
Early American Prescut (EAPC) Color Glassware by Anchor Hocking

Early American Prescut Color

EAPC Sugar Bowls Collection. Photo courtesy of Ruth Goodpaster.
EAPC Sugar Bowls Collection. Photo courtesy of Ruth Goodpaster.

Colored Early American Prescut (EAPC) pieces are quite prized by collectors of the pattern. However, Anchor Hocking only produced a few of the more than 100 Early American Prescut pieces in a color other than Crystal. Of those colored glass pieces, Avocado are the most prevalent, then Honey Gold and Laser Blue, while Royal Ruby, Spearmint, and Spicy Brown seem to be the rarest.

EAPC was colored in many ways. So for clarification, I’ve broken the known pieces into categories. The categories are colored glass, tinted glass, water-ambered glass, flashed glass, painted glass, and a unique gold-foil & silver-paint technique. These are the subject of this article. I’ve described each category below and provided numerous pictures to illustrate it.

Finally, in the last section I’ve included pictures of Early American Prescut Collectors Facebook Group Members’ color collections – say that one three times fast. These collections often include color EAPC pieces from a variety of color categories, so I couldn’t fit them in before. And because I don’t want to leave anything out, the last section contains miscellaneous photos I’ve found of color EAPC pieces whose category I’m uncertain about. Be prepared, this is a long article.

A variety of EAPC Color & techniques. Photo courtesy of Mavis Smith.
A variety of EAPC Color & techniques. Photo courtesy of Mavis Smith.

When Was EAPC Colored Glass Produced

Pres-Cut Colored Crystal Ad for Tri City Grocery in the Granite City Press-Record, Granite City, IL. Nov 7, 1968
Pres-Cut Colored Crystal Ad for Tri City Grocery in the Granite City Press-Record, Granite City, IL. Nov 7, 1968

It is unknown exactly when Anchor Hocking started offering EAPC in color. Thus far, I haven’t been able to find any listings in catalogs (I have EAPC catalog pages from 1960 thru 1979). However, I did find this ad for four pieces of “Anchor-Hocking Pres-Cut Colored Crystal.”

According to Philip Hopper of the Anchor Hocking Museum:

Many items produced by Anchor Hocking were used as promotional items, and therefore were regionally distributed. These items were not listed in the catalog or “job-ber” sheets used by sales personnel.

Philip Hopper, Royal Ruby

Hopefully, further research will turn up more information on the subject. In the meantime, I did find a color chart.

Color Prefixes and Packaging Suffixes

Anchor Hocking’s 1971 catalog features a How to Order section with an interesting color chart. The chart lists prefix letters that specify a particular color for an item you might want to order and a suffix letter to indicate the desired packaging. Crystal items do not have a prefix and the default bulk packaging has no suffix. (Crystal is Anchor Hocking’s name for clear.) Here’s a summary of the chart with color codes compiled from several catalogs.

CrystalBulk Packaging
TAvocadoAnchor PackC
EForest GreenCartonG
NHoney Gold
F or BLaser Blue
RRoyal Ruby
YSpicy Brown
Anchor Hocking color prefixes & packaging suffixes

The above chart refers to Anchor Hocking glass colors applied during the glass-making process – described next. This coding was used for all of the company’s glass patterns, not just EAPC. The chart does not apply to Flashed Glass color, as far as I know, which will be discussed a little later.

Colored Early American Prescut Glass

Of the many methods EAPC glassware has been colored, Colored Glass is the most durable because the color is added to the glass during mixing. Colored Glass can be used and washed without having to worry about the color coming off or fading. Although, Anchor Hocking does recommend that you:

“Please treat this ware as you do fine crystal… do not wash this glass in dishwashers or use harsh detergents.”

Anchor Hocking

Anchor Hocking only made a few EAPC pieces in Colored Glass. I’m not sure how they decided which pieces to produce in colored glass and which not. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it and in my opinion, they made some strange decisions. For example, their stunning Cranberry Large Platters and Large 7-Part platters were produced for Coles Stores, a grocery chain in Australia, but not for the United States market. I mean, really, after seeing one of these don’t you want to run out and buy one of each color and style? I know I do!

Two other strange choices involve the sugar bowl and large-candy-dish-sized bowl. Anchor Hocking produced the sugar bowl and lid in several colors, but not the creamer to go with it. Huh? I’ve also seen pictures of large candy dish-sized bowls with smooth rims in various colors, but no lids. If they weren’t going to include the lids, why not do the bowl with a scalloped rim that’s so much prettier and doesn’t leave collectors searching for a non-existent matching lid?

Anchor Hocking left us with many puzzles and mysteries, yet still a variety of pieces in colored glass. I just wish there were more, particularly in the oh-so-lovely Laser Blue.

Most colored Large Ashtrays you’ll find are flashed – more on that subject later. However, Anchor Hocking did produce the Large Ashtray in two glass colors that I’m aware of: Royal Ruby and Spearmint. The latter is quite rare. I only know of one person who owns one.

For those of you lucky enough to own a Large Royal Ruby Ashtray, take a close look at it. A few have a tiny anchor over H tiny – and I do mean tiny. If marked, the mark will be on the inside bottom of the ashtray next to the rim.

Colored Early American Prescut Glass Examples

Tinted Early American Prescut

Tinted (left) vs Clear (right) EAPC Creamers. Photo courtesy of Vicky Hilton Cunningham.
Tinted (left) vs Clear (right) EAPC Creamers. Photo courtesy of Vicky Hilton Cunningham.

Tinted glass is produced by adding a minute amount of color to a glass batch. Anchor Hocking tinted many Early American Prescut pieces. You may have passed one by without realizing it! Because Tinted pieces can often be mistaken for glass that has yellowed with age or is stained by nicotine.

Tinted Early American Prescut Examples

Water-Ambered EAPC Color

Water-ambered glassware often has an iridescent sheen to it, though the level of iridescence varies from piece to piece. Water ambering is created by placing clear pieces of glass in the water of mineral springs. The minerals in the water permeate the glass so the resulting color is permanent and throughout the glass.

In Slaterville Springs, along the banks of Six Mile Creek, the Clarence Stephens house had a well that ambered glass. When asked about the water ambering process, Clarence Stephens had this to say:

The process consisted of glassware arranged on shelves under a pipe with small holes where water from the artesian well continually flowed evenly over them. Every two days the glass was washed and polished with soapy water and returned to the shelves. Glassware is ambered on both sides and takes six to eight weeks to complete. Less time the lighter the amber and longer time the darker the amber.

Clarence Stephens, author of The Water Ambering of Clear Glassware

Purportedly, water-ambering was done in Marlin, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as New York. However, the practice may have ended in New York before EAPC glass was made. For more info on Water-Ambered Glass, check out these articles:

Water-Ambered Early American Prescut Glass Examples

Flashed Early American Prescut Color

One problem with red or cranberry-colored glass – like Anchor Hocking’s popular Royal Ruby – is that when light isn’t shining through it, it looks black or dark brown. It’s also expensive to make because a key ingredient of red glass is gold oxide, which increased production costs considerably. So to achieve beautiful ruby-colored glass that always looks red and save money, glass manufacturers began producing Flashed glass – Anchor Hocking included.

Flashed glass – in good condition – often appears to be a solid color throughout the glass. However, the coloring is actually a light coating of vivid color over plain clear glass. Using the term “Flashed”, however, is a bit of a misnomer as the true flashed glass was made as follows:

Flashed glass, or flash glass, is a type of glass created by coating a colorless gather of glass with one or more thin layers of colored glass. This is done by placing a piece of melted glass of one color into another piece of melted glass of a different color and then blowing the glass.

Flashed Glass – Wikipedia

On this website, we use the term “Flashed” to refer to coloring clear glass with a light coating of vivid color, which is the process Anchor Hocking used to make Flashed EAPC color pieces. These Flashed pieces were produced in the factory by Anchor Hocking. According to Brenda Stephens Jackson:

The company tried the flashing in the beginning because it was cheaper then solid colors to make. They soon realized that it would not hold up. That is what the rep at Anchor Hocking explained to me.

Brenda Stephens Jackson on Anchor Hocking’s use of Flashing.

So how do you tell whether a piece of glass is Colored glass or Flashed? One of the easiest ways to distinguish Colored glass from Flashed glass is by examining it closely. Look for flaking, scratches, and wear where the clear glass is showing through. Colored Glass has pigment all the way through it, while Flashed Glass is prone to flaking.

Flashed EAPC pieces require a lot of care. Many EAPC Collectors Group members have said that just simple dusting can make the color flake off. So, if you’re lucky enough to acquire any flashed pieces, handle them very gently. Or maybe just display them in a cabinet where you can enjoy their beauty. Look, don’t touch.

Examples of Early American Prescut Pieces with Flashed Color

Painted Early American Prescut Glass

Glass can be painted in a number of ways and artistic EAPC collectors have applied a variety of techniques and used a variety of paints to decorate their favorite pattern. Specially-formulated translucent glass paints, like Pebeo Vitrea 160, when baked after applying the decoration, can make your finished piece waterproof and dishwasher safe. There are also less resilient paints, just for decoration, that you don’t have to bake, but they’re not waterproof or dishwasher. And then there are spray paints for glass that do and do not have to be baked with similar results.

Some painted pieces may have been produced by Anchor Hocking. After all, the company produced a series of Pineapple pieces in milk white with hand-painted flowers. So, it’s likely they may have produced a few select hand-painted pieces for EAPC as well – one of their most extensive and popular lines.

By and large, however, most painted EAPC pieces you find were probably hand-painted by a fan of the pattern. With some glass paint and a few brushes, you can paint some, too.

Painted Early American Prescut Examples

Weird Gold-Foil & Silver-Paint Technique

Here’s a weird one: an EAPC Gondola that was actually produced in the factory by Anchor Hocking. The inside is smooth glass that looks gold, while the outside is a bright silver color.

A friend of Bob Cadle’s who is a long-time EAPC collector described the process:

A thin piece of gold foil was formed around the outside of a clear Gondola. It was then heavily painted with Silver paint and baked on. The Gold foil inner layer gives the inside of the Gondola its gold color. While the silver paint provides the silver on the outside of the Gondola.

An Anchor Hocking employee

Early American Prescut Collectors Members’ Color Collections

Here are some photos of Early American Prescut Collectors FB Group Members’ color collections. These collections often include color EAPC pieces from a variety of color categories, so I couldn’t fit them in before.

Miscellaneous Colored EAPC Glass

While searching posts, eBay listings, etc. I and other members of the EAPC Collectors Group often run across colored EAPC pieces we had not seen before. Unfortunately, when you find a picture on the Internet, on Pinterest for example, there is often little to no information about it. So rather than guess, and provide inaccurate information, I’ve listed those items here.

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