Queen Mary was one of Hocking Glass' patterns available in crystal, pink and limited ruby red. (Crystal depression glass means it is clear.) England crowned King George V in 1910, making his wife, Mary of Teck, Queen Mary. Americans were interested in royalty in the 1930s and using names like "Queen Mary" or "Coronation" drew upon that fascination and glamour. Hocking introduced Queen Mary in 1936.
Queen Mary is strongly ribbed, with vertical pointed ribs. If you look down the top of a coffee cup you can see that the ribs are triangular shaped and end in points. About the only other pattern with vertical ribs is Jeannette's Anniversary and the shapes are completely different. Anniversary has an impressed star in the center and the tops of the ribs are indented. You are not likely to mistake these two designs. Heisey's Ridgeleigh has ribs but you can clearly differentiate by quality of glass and the ribs in Queen Mary are more pointed and sharp.
Queen Mary came in a complete dinner service, plates, cups, bowls and serving pieces such as relish trays, creamer, sugar and platters. The tumblers are scarce. Particularly nice pieces are the candlestick, covered butter or preserves bowl and the 3-part relish that is shaped like a cloverleaf. The candlestick is one of the cutest pieces of depression glass and looks like a saguaro cactus with room for two candles. The butter is shown in the composite photo. It is larger than many butter dishes and shaped like a bowl with a lid. It is sometimes listed as a preserves bowl since it could serve jam or condiments and it is big enough to serve small items on your dinner table.
When buying Queen Mary watch out for roughness and chips in the vertical ribs. The ribs are sharp and easy to chip. If you are like many people, you check the top rims and seams, but you will want to check the sides. We've mistakenly bought several pieces with perfect rims but gouges on the sides. Also check the candlestick around the candle holes to be sure there are no cracks, and look at inner and outer rims of bowls and plates.
Manhattan and Park Avenue
Manhattan is also from Hocking and was made towards the later part of the Depression, 1938 to 1943, primarily in crystal and pink. Manhattan is unique among Depression patterns with wide rounded ribs that are horizontal. These ribs are softer and smooth to the touch. Manhattan is pure Art Deco style. Take a look at the vase shown in the composite picture to see the combination of round and square.
Anchor Hocking released a look-alike pattern in the 1970s called Park Avenue with the same horizontal ribs. The plates and comport are the shapes to take care with. Identify the comport by checking the wafers on the stem. Manhattan has four wafers and Park Avenue has five.
You'll particularly enjoy the tilted pitcher, candleholder, vase and comport in Manhattan. The tilt pitcher comes in a juice size and a larger one; both are round with ice lips, ribbed handles and the distinguishing horizontal rounded ribs. The candleholder is square and low, about 3 inches tall, and holds one candle. If you like the deco style the candleholder is the piece to look for. The comport is shaped like a large cocktail glass.
Manhattan doesn't seem as prone to chip as Queen Mary. Be sure to check rims and seams but the ribs are smooth enough they don't damage easily. Use a brush to get the dirt out of crevices between the ribs and to give your glass a sparkle.
The most troubling thing with Manhattan is finding it. The pink is less common than the clear. If you have problems finding enough pieces to complete your collection consider getting Park Avenue as a temporary substitute. Although you can use the tips given above to tell them apart, they are close enough to enjoy. Manhattan is not terribly common in mid-Michigan and we've seen only a few pieces. If you like it you will want to get it now as it can only get scarcer as time passes.
Another Hocking pattern with horizontal ribs is Ring, or Banded Ring. This pattern has groups of narrow ribs separated by smooth glass. It is superficially similar to Hocking's Circle and can be differentiated because Circle has a slight optic and Ring does not. We have a few pieces of both of these patterns, notably the vase in crystal Ring.
Fortune and Old Cafe
It is easy to mistake Fortune and Old Cafe. They look similar at first glance with wide, shallow vertical ribs of different widths. Take a good look at the composite picture. The top piece is Fortune and the bottom is Old Cafe. Old Cafe has two narrow ribs between one wider rib and all ribs are rounded. Fortune alternates two wide and one narrow rib and the ribs are slighly pointed.
Hocking made Fortune from 1937 to 1938, primarily in pink but also crystal and some ruby. Hocking's pink depression is very pretty, a true clear pink with no trace of orange. Fortune must have been meant as a luncheon set because it has several bowls and tumblers but only plates and no pitcher, creamer or sugar. The little tab-handled bowl shown in the photo is a cute little piece from our store, Cat Lady Kate's Glass.
Old Cafe also came in pink, crystal and some ruby. In our area the tab-handled candy dish is the most common piece. This looks like a deep plate or very shallow, flared bowl. We've had it in crystal, crystal with a floral cut and pink and have the crystal and pink in our store. Be sure to watch out for vases. This pattern was made from 1936 into 1940 and Hocking became Anchor Hocking and began using the anchor trademark around 1940 after Hocking Glass merged with Anchor Cap. You can find vases with the anchor trademark that would date to no earlier than 1940 and in fact our store has one of these. Be sure you don't pay full Depression glass prices for these. You may see a look-alike vase from florists even now. This has the same 1-wide-2-narrow rounded rib pattern but is heavier by far and just doesn't look quite right.
The last Hocking pattern covered in this article is Pillar Optic. This has vertical panels that are all the same width. Hocking made this in a rainbow of colors, primarily pink, green and crystal and this is one of the very few patterns where tumblers are more plentiful than other pieces. Hocking sold glasses in this pattern to restaurants and the public for many years. Reference books will suggest that buyers be careful to distinguish between Pillar Optic and Old Cafe, especially on pitchers. If you remember the ribs you will be fine. Pillar Optic ribs: All the same. Old Cafe: Two narrow; one wide. Remember the pillars in a church or bank and you'll be fine.
Webmaster's NOTE: The NDGA wishes to thank the author for permission to use this article. Kathy is a dealer from Midland, Michigan. Her web site is Cat Lady's Glass.