If you’re an aspiring kitchenware collector, you’re probably looking forward to the hunt. Moving from one estate to another, perusing through kitchenware in search of vintage items.
One of the collectors’ favorites has been the mid-century Anchor Hocking kitchenware designs. The company made them originally for household use with their most popular brand as the Fire King.
Vintage Fire King, in particular, has received plenty of interest from collectors all over the world over the past four decades. The flawlessly crafted glass pieces have vibrant colors and unique shapes. Vintage Fire King kitchenware pieces are favorite for collectors looking for a nostalgic touch.
Read on to understand how to identify Vintage Fire King patterns.
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Vintage Fire King Patterns
Anchor Hocking Glass Corp Fire King brand is known for its bold kitchenware designs featuring sophisticated solid colors. Their vintage fire king products were also highly stylized and came in various patterns.
This glassware manufacturing powerhouse created two patterns. One style features patterns on solid backgrounds, while the other has patterns molded directly onto the glassware.
Some popular vintage fire king patterns include:
The blue-mosaic pattern is a vivid style that’s also deceptively subtle. It’s applied to the inside of the glassware at the base. It fans out over the surface in blue-shaded squares of different colors.
The blue mosaic effect is almost similar to a stained glass window. In its own right, it’s a retro-mod style.
Primrose is a feminine pattern that’s the most readily available Fire King line of glassware.
The pattern comprises vibrant pink and red primroses that bring out a contrast to the white background they’re applied on.
The best way to describe the primrose pattern is a simple yet elegant Vintage Fire King style.
Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not is a regal Fire King Pattern that includes vivid blue flowers with vibrant yellow wheat stalks. The result is a magnificent effect, especially on a complete dinnerware set of 12 pieces.
The wheat pattern is luxurious, especially on white casserole dishes. The pattern features a silver-infused surface on which lies a gold foil.
It’s a valued possession among many and a favorite of Fire King product collectors.
People call this one the princess pattern, a pretty fitting name.
During its time, the Fleurette pattern was one of the best-selling products under the Fire King brand. This pattern includes an elegant circle of flowers, giving the glassware a girlish touch to any evening tea or dinner party.
Solid Glass Patterns
Fire-King glass patterns include:
- Sheaves of Wheat
- Fish scale
- Three bands
Vintage Fire King Piece Types
Below are some types of vintage Fire King pieces:
Fire King Oven Ware
Vintage fire king ovenware styles range from small to large. They’re one of the most easy-to-find Fire King pieces.
These classic ovenware dishes come in styles with patterns on the outside. They’re mostly oval, rectangular, or square in shape.
Fire King Dishes
Fire King Dishes range from dinnerware sets, milk glasses, coffee mugs, small teacup plates, large dinner plates, vases, soup bowls, and more. These dishes make up the largest assortment of Fire King products.
Fire King Ball Jug
Of all the Fire King brand products, this could be the rarest. In fact, many have tried without success to imitate the Fire King Ball Jug.
The jug’s famous serving lip that stands out entails unique crafting.
Any time this jug finds its way to the auction, there’s never a doubt about it fetching thousands of dollars.
Fire King Nesting Bowls
‘Hunters’ in the ‘wild’ also classify nesting bowls as one of the rarest finds of all Anchor Hocking’s kitchenware styles.
The bowls come as a set of four small bowls that fit inside each other.
Fire King Mugs
Mugs are among the most common finds in the Fire King family.
The Anchor Hocking company produced a series of mugs with styles ranging from plain to those adorned with business ads or cartoons.
How Do I Know if My Fire-King is Vintage?
Of course, locating hidden treasures and rare items at auctions, antique malls, thrift shops, antique shops, and estate sales is never easy. It’s a discovery that requires attention to detail to get that perfect piece you’ve been hunting for years.
Know how to spot a fake vintage Fire King to avoid paying hundreds of dollars for a piece manufactured the other day.
Here’s what to check for in Fire-King products to ensure it’s valuable:
1. The Logo
Anchor Hocking uses their signature Fire-king logo to mark their vintage fire king products.
However, checking for branding is not always a reliable way to ensure they’re valuable because the company did not mark all its pieces, especially those used for promotions.
Over its history, Anchor Hocking has used several antique marks for its kitchenware. But they have employed two marking methods for Fire King products:
- A molded mark with “ANCHOR HOCKING” in a top placed arch. The anchor has an “H” logo over the script “Fire King” over “OVEN PROOF” in the center. Also, an upside-down arch at the bottom with “MADE IN THE U.S.A.”
- Name of color imprinted in the center on an oval foil paper label and above “ANCHOR Glass.”
2. The Hand-Painting
An authentic Anchor Hocking-manufactured vintage Fire King kitchenware is hand-painted (if design allowed). Then, the product is fired on to ensure maximum durability and longevity.
If a “vintage” Fire King kitchenware is not hand-painted and fired, that’s a red flag. It’s likely fake.
For instance, it’s easy to tell whether a Fire King mug is fake or the real thing. Look at the detailed patterns under direct light, and if it appears to have a glossy sheen to it, the mug is likely a fake.
3. Check the Condition
Millions of Fire King pieces are in circulation today. Hence, it’s crucial to check the condition when collecting.
Carefully examine every piece of opaque glassware because spotting flaws and cracks on it is not easy as it is with clear glassware.
If you buy Fire King pieces yourself, it’s recommended that you move your thumbnail around every edge to feel for flea bites and chips. And if you’re buying them online, ask the supplier as many questions as possible about the condition.
For example, buying a chipped mug might be useless because the value deteriorates. That said, you may get lucky if the chipped piece is either rare or needed to complete or start a set.
Fire-king products are not dishwasher safe. Repeated washing destroys the original luster, replacing it with a layer known as dishwasher haze.
The only flaws that shouldn’t affect the value of Fire King are those originating from the factory. They include mold marks, minor roughness around the mold lines, and dark specs under the ripples and gaze.
4. Other Details
Educate yourself on other intricate details about vintage Fire King kitchenware. For example, you should know that older Anchor Hocking pieces were more compact and heavier.
Also, familiarize yourself with Fire King styles, shapes, and colors. Fire-King body colors include forest green, creamy pink, ruby red, azurite, white, peach luster, and jadeite.
Is the Fire King Valuable and Collectible?
Fire King is highly collectible. It’s also widely available in the market, making it affordable, not to mention that it’s also durable.
Anchor Hocking Corp produced Fire King for decades, so collectors can easily find it at auctions, yard sales, estate sales, and even online.
Both kitchenware and restaurant ware are popular and available in their various versions. Less white was produced, making it more valuable.
Fire King Value
If you’re a newbie collector, don’t be surprised to find some fantastic kitchenware pieces valued at high prices. Your first step should be to have a price guide for your specific needs.
Remember, every day new collectors are expressing interest in Fire King. So, you can expect the cost to appreciate.
For single pieces, including mugs, dishes, and cups, the price could be as low as $5. And while color plays a role in determining the price-point value, it’s not much for these items. Often, it doesn’t go beyond ten dollars.
For large sets, however, the story is different. For instance, a four-person white gold-rimmed Fire King set of dishes, bowls, cups, and saucers can cost as much as $800.
Fire King Vs. Pyrex
Fire King is similar to Pyrex, but there are some differences:
Differences Between Fire-King and Pyrex
The following are the differences between Fire-King and Pyrex:
The Fire-King glassware brand is created by Anchor Hocking while Pyrex is made by Corning Glass Works.
Fire King’s formulation has evolved over the years, with borosilicate glass replacing most of the products formerly used. This was a low expansion material ideal for use in an oven. Today’s Fire King is made of tempered soda-lime silicate glass.
On the other hand, in the beginning, Pyrex pieces were made of clear glass and came in various ovenware designs and styles. Later in the 1940s, the company started making glassware pieces in solid colors before introducing prints in different patterns in the 50s.
Fire King is identifiable by color or mark, with most pieces featuring a written marking. These marks include the words “Oven Fire King Ware” or “Fire King.”
Other kitchenware pieces have only the Anchor Hocking glass company logo and a graphic (anchor-shaped) representing Fire King, the manufacturer.
Unlike Fire King, Pyrex is identifiable by model numbers, and knowing about them is quite valuable to collectors.
Each size and shape of Pyrex ware had a model number usually embedded on the piece. One can find it on the handles of lids and rims and above the trademark on dishes and bowls.
- Product Type
Fire King products include dishes, ovenware, nesting bowls, ball jugs, mugs, and refrigerator dishes.
On the other hand, Pyrex products include food storage containers, cookware, bakeware, measuring vessels, and readily available snapware for your kitchen and home.
Pyrex products also include specialty glass used in labwork like funnels, bottles, pipets, and beakers.
Similarities Between Fire-King and Pyrex
Below are the similarities between Fire-King and Pyrex:
- Glass Type
Today, both Fire King and Pyrex use soda-lime glass to manufacture their pieces.
However, users have raised concerns about the material, citing explosions upon exposure of the ware to very high temperatures for long periods.
Fortunately, this happened only in isolated cases.
Also, both Fire King and Pyrex products are high quality and usable at home and for commercial purposes. In fact, the quality of both pieces is simply at par.
Although the glasses may have minor differences considering the manufacturers are competitors, they are flawless and durable, giving you service for many years.
Vintage Fire King kitchenware pieces are elegant American history pieces that are ever fun to look for. The Fire King brand, in general, doesn’t seem like a family of products losing value any time soon. In fact, every household with this gorgeous product is likely to pass it down to its future generations.