Cookie Jar History

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Early Beginnings

Cookie jar history
can be traced back to
18th century England where it is generally believed that they originated as "biscuit jars". Our English cousins used the term 'biscuit' for a small tea cake or scone, which in the U.S. translates as 'cookie'. Once baked theses 'biscuits' had to be stored in a place that protected them and kept them fresh. The biscuit jar eventually migrated across the Atlantic, and by the turn of the century they could be found on the counters of stores and bakeries across America, usually filled with fresh baked 'cookies'.

Due to the lack of funds, brought on by the great depression, our grandmothers where forced to abandon their daily trip to the bakers, and opt instead for more "home baked" goodies. This increase in home baking of course brought on a need for a more suitable cookie storage container than the make-do cardboard oatmeal box or empty coffee tin. It wouldn't take long for U.S. industry to recognize and fill this need.

First Ceramic Jars

Cookie jar history
takes a giant leap in 1929, when the the Brush Pottery Company of Zanesville, Ohio introduces what is commonly believed to be first ceramic cookie jar. The jar - Kolorkraft #344 - was green with the word "Cookies" embossed on the front. With the success of this jar other potteries quickly introduced cookie jars of their own. Early cookie jars where usually very simple cylindrical or bean pot shapes, with little or no decorations. However the marketing departments at these potteries soon found out that a container which was attractive and enhanced a kitchen's decor sold much better. Soon the designs became more innovative with figures of people, fruits, vegetables, animals, and cartoon characters.

This design explosion eventually ushered in the 'golden age' of American cookie jars. During the years from 1940 until 1970, cookie jar production and sales climbed to the roof. Leading the way was McCoy Potteries and American Bisque of Williamstown West Virginia, the two giants of the industry. Their output of cookie jars, in both number of designs and volume, accounted for the largest portion of jars sitting on the kitchen counters of urban and rural America. Other well respected cookie jar manufacturers of that era include Red Wing, Regal China, Brush, California Originals, Metlox, Hall, Abingdon, Treasure Craft, Doranne of California, Robinson-Ransbottom,
Hull,Twin Winton and Shawnee Pottery.

Today's Collecting Hobby

It was this great output of designs that has spurred today's vintage cookie jar collecting hobby. Many of the jars during this era only had one or two production runs, thereby assuring scarcity. Other jars sold in the hundred of thousands, which today translates as availability and affordability.

I hope you enjoyed this brief Cookie Jar History

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