Vintage Glass Relish Trays for an Elegant Touch – from Depression to the 1950s. Have you noticed that relish trays are harder to find? Glass relish trays are so pretty and came in a myriad of designs and etched or cut patterns. Let’s look at these elegant table accessories.
News-Antique.com - Oct 25,2007 - Once upon a time every wedding couple received at least one glass relish tray. These pieces of glass came in myriad designs and shapes and today are a beautiful way to add a touch of class – using your favorite glass patterns – to your family and dining.
During the late Victorian era, elegant homes used a tall, fairly wide piece shaped like a tumbler or vase to serve celery. These special glasses were called celery holders or celery dishes. Remember, this was when fresh vegetables would have been available during a short season and were grown locally. Celery requires more work to grow than some vegetables so it was more expensive. The housewife would clean the celery and place it upright in the tumbler instead of horizontally. You may find these pieces in EAPG (Early American Pressed Glass) but they are less common in the elegant glass of the 1920s and later.
After about 1920 celery dishes were larger, low oval bowls or dishes, usually without dividers. We have a great selection of elegant glass celery dishes. My guess is that celery dishes were frequently given for wedding gifts, even if they didn’t match the crystal pattern the new couple had selected, simply because they were so pretty. The shapes are often graceful and the designs could be a little fancier, even ornate, when used in just one or two pieces on the table than when the glass was used for the full table setting.
The clear glass oval dish shown in the photo is from Viking Glass, made about 1950, with their Sonata etching. This etching has a center rose motif surrounded by sprays of flowers and leaves. This is a typical celery dish from that era, very simple shape enhanced with graceful, pretty etch.
The green glass bowl is a depression glass oval celery dish. The pattern is Little Jewel and it was made by Imperial Glass from the late 1920s to early 1930s. It's a pretty pattern with pressed square blocks. In fact the manufacture's name for this was Diamond Block, Line 330. You can imagine how this sparkly pattern in fresh green would perk up your table.
Olive or pickle dishes were oval, usually 6 to 9 inches long and fairly shallow. Complete sets of glass tableware would include both an olive dish and a pickle, which was often larger. These dishes may have had handles.
Our store, Cat Lady Kate’s Elegant and Depression Glass, offers olive and pickle dishes in several patterns. You can find a nice oval olive dish in Duncan Miller Canterbury and a pickle in Hocking Glass Queen Mary depression glass. The olive dish is round, has two little handles with ornate shapes and is about six inches across. The pickle dish is a simple oval shape without handles that is about 10 inches long.
Over time these evolved into multi-compartment relish trays. Next article in this series will look at these attractve – and so useful glass items. Once upon