Kemple Milk glass collection
above: milk glass
including some Kemple

below: Kemple bowl
Yutec pattern
(old McKee mold)

Kemple glass bowl

Kemple Glass from the Glass Encyclopedia

John and Geraldine Kemple met during the war, and formed their glass company in 1945. John was a fifth generation glassmaker and Geraldine owned a gift shop when they met. They bought antique moulds most of which had originally been used to make pressed glass in imitation of clear cut crystal glass. They used these moulds to make milk glass reproductions from 1945 to 1970 (when John Kemple died). During the 1960's they also made coloured glass items from the same moulds, including various shades of yellow which they called by names such as "Light Amber" and "Honey Amber". Their reproductions were clearly marked with labels stating that they were reproductions, and a distinguishing letter K was sometimes (but not always) added to the moulds.

Their first mould purchases (around 1944) were mostly for novelty items like trinket boxes, trays, jars, fancy plates and candlesticks). In 1946 they bought some moulds from a Mr. Tuska of New York. These were famous 19th century designs some of which had been used by the Phoenix Glass Company in the 1930's and early 1940's. Between 1950 and 1957 the Kemples bought another 300 molds, this time from the McKee company before and after it was sold to Thatcher Glass. These included the "Prescut" series with such designs as Aztec, Toltec, Sextec, Martec, Bontec, Carltec, Plutec, Quintec, Valtec, and Yutec. Each of these was produced by Kemple in several items. The Yutec series was one of the most popular.

In 1970, when John Kemple died, Mrs Kemple sold over 800 molds to the Wheaton Historical Association. They made reproductions from some of these between 1970 and1979 in a range of colours. Initially they were marketed as "Wheatonware" and sold through "home parties" by independent contractors. In 1975 they were marketed as "Wheatoncraft" and sold through more conventional outlets. The McKee molds were used for both Wheatonware and Wheatoncraft, in amber, blue, green and pearl crystal. They were marketed as "Kemple Collectors Items" and initially carried the Kemple K, but a small w was then added to the K at the request of Geraldine Kemple. Since 1979 the molds have been in storage and further reproductions have not been made.

References and Further Reading (click on book cover to read more)

Milk glass book Milk glass book Kemple glass book

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