Cookie jars, also known as biscuit jars, have been used in England since the latter part of the 18th century. They were often made of glass with metal lids. Cookie jars became popular in the America around the time of the Great Depression in 1929. Early American cookie jars were made of glass with metal screw-on lids. In the 1930s, stoneware became predominant as the material for American cookie jars. Early cookie jars typically have simple cylindrical shapes and were often painted with floral or leaf decorations or emblazoned with colorful decals.
The Brush Pottery Company of Zanesville, Ohio is generally recognized as producing the first ceramic cookie jar. The jar was green with the word "Cookies" embossed on the front. Most cookie jar manufacturers followed Brush's move to ceramics in the late 1930s, and designs became more innovative with figures, fruits, vegetables, animals, and other whimsical interpretations such as the Hull "Little Red Riding Hood" predominating. The golden period for American cookie jar production covers the years from 1940 until 1970, with several manufacturers rising to prominence.
McCoy cookie jars (produced in Roseville, Ohio) are highly prized among collectors. The company made cookie jars from about 1939 until production ceased in 1987, and the first jar produced ("Mammy") became, in time, one of the most collectible and valuable. McCoy also made a variety of fruit and vegetable jars.
American Bisque of Williamstown, West Virginia is recognized as another top manufacturer of cookie jars. They are particularly distinguished for the many cartoon characters cookie jars.
Other well respected US manufacturers of cookie jars include Red Wing of Minnesota, Metlox Pottery of California, Abingdon Pottery of Illinois, and Shawnee Pottery of Ohio.
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