Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hen on a Nest: Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Why did the chicken cross the road? 
To look pretty sitting on a nest!

By Guest Blogger Candice Lee Conner

If you have ever attended a venue that involves the sale of second hand goods, you've probably see a "Hen on a Nest" covered dish. Prices range from a buck to hundreds of dollars, depending on which piece you find. 

And these chickens come in every shape, size, color, and theme. You can get one that matches your table, your carnival glass collection, your kitchen, your...mood. The chickens are everywhere! 

Hen on a nest covered dishes came about as cheaper alternatives to the glass menageries that were being made in China, and later by Staffordshire and Dresden in Europe. The original maker could have been the Westmoreland Glass Company as early as the 1860s. They were often made from a more fragile milk glass than the more common thicker milk glass we see today. 

From there, the chicken craze flew the coop! During the late 1800s, several makers made these collectibles. Known names included Atterbury, Challinor, Sandwich, Central and McKee. Eventually Fenton and Anchor Hocking joined the party. And thus the reason why you can buy a hen on nest for $400 or $5. 

Feel like the hen on a nest covered dish is an item you want to collect? Watch out for replicas and married pieces. And make sure to collect the pieces you like. This is true for all antiques, but because of the sheer volume of chickens, there will always be opportunity to add another one to your collection. 

Marks: A good bit of hens aren't marked, but those that are will probably have one of the markings you will see on the links below. Look for these indicators to make sure your hen on a nest is the real thing. 

Glass Bottle Marks: http://www.glassbottlemarks.com/indiana-glass-company-hen-on-nest-dishes/

Also visit The National Milk Glass Collector's Society: http://nmgcs.org/ 
Two chickens at Wolff's Flea Market. White one is Westmoreland.
(PHOTO: Candice Lee Conner)