Item Number: #125
Approximate Size: 9″ L – 7″ W – 4″ H
Production Dates: 1940-1958
The Reed Handle Baskets were produced for less than twenty years, and are very easy to identify. While the reed handles make them easy to distinguish, they also can be problematic. Many of the original reed handles are missing on the glass baskets found today. Since the handles were made out of natural material, they are prone to breakage and splitting. Therefore, it is very important to keep your original handle clean and preserved.
I am sure many people will have different and preferred methods of how they clean the handles; however, I will share with you what I do. If they are dirty, I use Murphy Oil Soap to clean them. To get into the small crevices, I use a soft toothbrush. Once the handle is completely dry from cleaning, I then apply Lemon Oil for preservation. Lemon Oil will clean wood too; however, this final treatment helps keep the handle from drying out and cracking. It penetrates the wood, replenishing the oil it has lost over time. This process has worked very well for me, and hopefully will for you, too. It also has a refreshing scent, and helps to prevent mold from developing in the handle. This is important, as you don’t want to apply a wax or preservative over a handle that is still damp from cleaning.
As of today, I am not aware of any one person or company that produces replacement handles for the glass baskets. Your best bet would be to try and find a local craftsperson that has this skill. The Fostoria Glass Company also produced glass baskets (with reed handles) in other patterns. I have been lucky to find a few of those baskets, and simply transferred the handle to my American basket. Some of the Fostoria patterns you might want to look into are Century and Heather.
A question I often get asked is “What is the design of the original handle?” While I don’t know if Fostoria Glass actually changed the handle design of this basket throughout its production years, one can often see different reed handles today. I am sure that is mainly due to replacement handles being made by other suppliers or private sources. What I can show you, with 100% accuracy, is a catalog photo of what the item looked like in 1948. This photo shows what the handle looked like at that time, and throughout its catalog history. It is also the same design shown in this post’s main photo.
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