Item Number: #115
Production Dates: 1915-1958
Years ago, smoking was very popular – and Fostoria Glass produced smoking accessories to meet the demands of its many consumers. Even while many of us don’t smoke today, one can still appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of these items.
The Oval Ash Tray is the oldest ash tray in the American line, debuting in 1915. When it was first introduced, it was called the “Oval Ash Tray and Safety Match Stand”. During its final years of production, it was simply known as the Oval Ash Tray. It was also produced in the black Ebony color for a very short period of time, circa 1925-1926.
The Oval Ash Tray is the only smoking accessory in the American line that acts as an ash tray and a matchbox stand. Interestingly, it does not have a notched area in the rim to hold a cigarette or cigar. It has a thick protrusion of glass that sits on the ash tray’s upper edge – acting as a stand for a box of matches. The key word here is “box” of matches … for this application does not work for a book of matches.
Depending on your point of view (or comfort level) you can use this ash tray by striking a match while the box is on or off the stand.
For me, personally, I like to place these ash trays right next to candle holders. I never have to go looking for matches when the time comes to light a candle, and once I do light them – I simply place the extinguished match back in the holder. This solves the problem of me having to look for a trash can to dispose of them. It is a unique and productive way to use the Oval Ash Tray, while still being attractive in the process.
Trying to find boxes of matches that fit these vintage Oval Ash Trays is no easy task. The block of glass that is the actual match stand has a depth of ½”, is about 1″ tall, and approximately 1¼” wide. Today, most boxes of matches you find at the local store are smaller than these dimensions. The boxes are usually too narrow or not deep enough to fit over the piece of protruding glass (match stand).
I have had good luck finding vintage and retro-looking boxes of matches online. I like the way they look, and they fit the time period of when they ash trays were produced.
Be sure to check the sizes of the actual box of matches before you buy them, as some of the larger sizes might be too top-heavy or loose to sit comfortably on the stand. For example, the Curious Cat matches look great next to the ash tray; however, they are too tall and will fall over if placed on the glass match stand. In cases like this, when I like the graphic design of the match box, I will place it next to the Oval Ash Tray … and use the ash tray solely for holding used matches.
If you are interested in learning more about current availability and pricing for similar items, please click the following sponsored link for available Ash Trays on eBay.