Item Number: #550
Production Dates: 1915-1958
The Fostoria Glass Company produced two Ice Tub Plates in the American line. The one that we will be addressing in this post is the Small Ice Tub Plate, which was first produced in 1915. It is listed in the Fostoria 1915 Catalog Supplement, which first debuted the American line. The approximate dates of production for this piece were from 1915 – 1958.
Often, you will see the Ice Tubs sold without the Plate (AKA Underplate), and this could be for a variety of reasons. Over the years, people might have thought the Ice Tub Plate was just another ordinary plate and separated it from the Ice Tub … or, the Ice Tub was originally bought separately (without the Plate).
The Small Ice Tub Plates are easily misidentified as a Salad Plate, for they are “almost” identical. Even experienced Fostoria American collectors get them confused. I have bought two Ice Tub Plates from seasoned collectors, only to find out after receiving them, that neither were the genuine article. They sold me Salad Plates, not Ice Tub Plates. I had no one to blame but myself, because I did not ask the right questions beforehand. I now know better.
According to my research, and in my opinion only, I suggest to all potential Buyers that you ask at least a couple of questions from the Seller. The first thing you want to see is a photo of the bottom of the plate. If no photo is offered in the listing, ask for it. You want to see if there is a noticeable ring on the bottom of the plate (like the Salad Plate has). In all of the true Small Ice Tub Plates I have ever seen, the ring has been ground off. In some cases, a faint bit of it remains – but the majority of it has been ground off. Is it possible that there are true Ice Tub Plates out there with a ring that has not been ground off? Yes, certainly … because glass techniques and processes changed over the years, and with handmade items, anything is feasible.
Secondly, you want to ask the Seller how high the outer edges of the plate are. A Small Ice Tub Plate can have highly flared edges, reaching a height as tall as 1¼-inches. Regular Salad Plates don’t have this much height, and the edges tend to reach outwards, rather than upwards. There are many Ice Tub Plates; however, that do not have such pronounced height at their outermost edges. They flare outward, like a Salad Plate, and can be seen this way in some of the old Fostoria catalogs. The diameter of the plates can vary – depending on how much flaring was done during production. Each piece was finished by hand, and at the sole discretion of the factory worker.
The Ice Tub Plate and large center Salad Plates came from the same mould, so it is easy to understand the confusion in identifying them. Since the Ice Tub Plate has edges that flow upward, this trait usually reduces its overall diameter – albeit slightly. The diameter of the Small Ice Tub Plate is approximately 8-inches, with the larger Ice Tub Plate measuring in at 9-inches. Even though some published books on Fostoria American state the plate’s size as 8½-inches, this would certainly be possible if the Ice Tub Plate had edges that flowed outward, and not upward. The higher the edges, the smaller in diameter the plate will be. The original Fostoria American Catalog Supplement of 1915 states the plates were 8-inches, which has proven to be true upon a personal inspection of the plates that I own.
It is important to note that the Small Ice Tub will sit in the center of a Salad Plate. This pairing only adds to the confusion between the two plates. Even though it might fit in the center of a Salad Plate, it will not fit perfectly. It usually wobbles a bit, and that is because the center of the plate is not as flat as the center of the Ice Tub Plate. The Small Ice Tub Plate provides a more snug fit, and with very little slippage (if any).
As seen in this photo, this is the combination that is often offered by Sellers. It is not the correct pairing.
If you are interested in learning more about current availability and pricing for Ice Tub related pieces, please click the following sponsored link for available Ice Tubs/Plates on eBay. Please note that more often than not the Ice Tub Plates will offer very little results, as they usually have been separated from the Ice Tubs. However, keep searching … because every now and again, you will see the correct duo listed.