Salt & Pepper Shakers, Tripod Tops: Federal Glass & Cutler Brands
It is quite clear that these glass salt & pepper shakers have been designed to mimic genuine Pyrex shakers, particularly the 14 kt gold banded sets from the late 1960s. They were manufactured by Federal Glass, but Cutler Brands Ltd. of Toronto Ontario was most often responsible for their decoration and distribution.
Cutler Brands was never a glass producer at any time in its history. Instead, this company purchased blank items from North American glassmakers like Federal Glass and Libbey, plus Ravenhead Glass in England, J.G. Durand (Arc) in France, and others in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany. Cutler decorated the products and marketed them under their own brand name. Their specialty was 22 kt gold and platinum designs, often combined with colourful enamels. An associated company, Cutler Designs Ltd., was in the business of silk-screening textiles.
Look-alike shakers (centre) with small and large 14 kt gold band Pyrex shakers. In Pyrex, the small 14 kt gold set debuted in 1965 and the large set followed soon after. They were available into the early 1970s. The small size is really the regular size, being the same height as Pyrex Compatibles shakers.
The imitation shakers are topped by a three-legged black plastic stopper with a serrated edge, and some are decorated with four gold bands around the neck. Although they might resemble Pyrex shakers, they also have many aspects that are completely dissimilar, and comparing them to the real product undoubtedly reveals that they are little impostors.
Federal Glass salt & pepper shakers with a novelty bowling design. Decorations are the work of Cutler Brands.
The most obvious distinction is the very thick base. Pyrex shakers are derived from labware shapes and the glass is uniformly thin over the bottom and sides. With almost a half an inch of solid glass on the base, a Federal Glass shaker is twice as heavy as a small Pyrex one.
The look-alike's shape is not identical to that of a Pyrex shaker, its neck being wider and less well-defined than a Pyrex one. The plastic top is considerably larger than a Pyrex brand top, and its knob is oval rather than triangular.
Small Pyrex shaker, left; look-alike shaker, right. The length of the three prongs is identical on both examples, so side by side, they stand at exactly the same height. But the knob is taller on the look-alike one, so its overall height is greater.
Cutler shakers with four gold bands around the neck have narrower stripes which are spaced further apart. These glass shakers exist with numerous other decorations, and a lot of them are tourist souvenir themed designs. So far, it seems that Corelle and Corning Ware patterns were not replicated by Cutler Brands.
Original packaging is sometimes anonymous, with no brand name, logo, or address, but boxes of Cutler products often say "Fine Blown Glassware" even if the company name is not present. Undecorated sets also can be found with the Federal Glass name on the box. The shakers can be found in the United States and Canada, but they seem to be more plentiful in Canada.
Federal Glass mugs, another type of product also decorated in Canada by Cutler Brands Ltd.
Other Brands: Pedestal Mugs, Federal Glass
Pattern List: Pyrex Compatibles
1970 Catalogue: Pyrex Ware