Get them going early

The future of American Glass
by Bert and Donna Kennedy

In the world of glass, collectors and dealers both worry about the future of our hobby. As we go to shows we see fewer young buyers. Our dealers and collectors seem to be getting older and many have completed collections they have worked on for many years. One of the best ways we can grow the hobby is to start them young. Most of us have children or grandchildren. But have we ever taken the time to share our love of glass with them? How many of us have taken them to a glass show? How many of us let them use the "Good" crystal for Christmas?

Our Granddaughter, Emily, has been around elegant glassware all of her life. When she started to walk my wife said we should put the glass up high where Emily could not reach. I told her she would get use to having it around and gain restraint with a little guidance. It was scary at first but we sat with her and let her handle some of the glass. Ok, we cheated some by letting her use pieces that had been repaired but she didn't know it.

When she came over to the house she would go to the cabinet and choose a glass to drink out of. Her favorite was.....well most of the time, a Tiffin Flanders wine. She changed favorites as is the way of children.

She loved to wander over the house and peer into the glass display cabinets. And I was more than happy to tell her about the "Pretty stuff."

By the time she was 4 she wanted to start a collection of her own. She wanted to collect animals. So we did. She now has a nice collection of Duncan  & Miller and New Martinsville Swans.
Emily knows we sell the glass at shows as well as collecting. So she is always checking her display case to make sure we have not sold any of HER things.

She also liked the small coffee cup and saucer sets. I showed her some Fostoria After Dinner sets at our Fostoria Glass Show. She liked the many different colors and the variety of etches. She is 8 now and well on the way to being a glassaholic.

Here is some of her collection of Fostoria After Dinner Cup and Saucers.

We started the collection slow and I let her pick out any color in the Fairfax line. There were lots of colors to choose from and they were not to expensive in case she changed her mind. Her first choice had nothing to do with which color was the rarest or which one was the least expensive. She just found one in her favorite color and said "This one Grandad." And that was the start. We stayed with the Fairfax till we had all the colors. As soon as we had three sets, Christmas of '97, she and Grandmummer  and I had a tea party using her demitasse cups.  Emily presided.

By the time Emily found a Fairfax set in Orchid, she knew that the colors were not all the same price. She had see the same colors in different dealers booth with different prices. She was learning to be very observant. She was starting to notice little things like scratches. She was starting to be a bargain hunter. She found that even though the same piece might have different prices sometimes there was a flaw that caused the difference and sometimes it was part of what the dealer had to pay. At 8 she can read well and she is now using Milbra Long and Emily Seates books to determine if the prices are fair.

She has now completed the Fairfax colors with Azure, Rose, Amber, Orchid, Green and Topaz.

She has not noticed that Crystal was part of the Fairfax line. Christmas normally finds Santa bringing something special for the collection. It normally involves something she can not afford on her glass budget. We all know about the problem with glass dollars don't we? Here are some of the After Dinner sets Santa found for her.

Once we started on the etched sets there was no stopping her. She wanted one for birthday, and Christmas. She still wants gameboy games but she wants it in addition to glass.

She is planning on getting a summer job and save up for a Display case as her collection continues to grow.


That "Trojan" etch is actually Versailles. Oops.

Well I think you can see where this is going. If we want more people to love the American Glass we love, we must take the time to share our love and nurture young collectors. If we do that then our American Glass Heritage is in the hands of some great young caretakers.