Vintage Porcelain Glove Molds : History and Cleaning Tips
Give Me a Hand!
Ahhhhhhhhhhh, my love affair with the glove mold....
Here you will find some information about vintage porcelain glove molds. You will also find care and cleaning tips! All of this stems from my long and curious relationship with these porcelain beauties. Anyone who has one of these will tell you they are easy to love and fun to collect.
There are so many styles, sizes, and shapes, that you could collect a lifetime and never acquire them all! My favorite are made of porcelain though I've seen them in metal, tin, aluminum, wood and even composite plastic!
I have done a bit of research on them, and I hope you like this lens!
Photo Credit: Glove Mold From RetroChalet on Etsy and as for the lovely Necklace - Turquoise Lariat from Treasure Trunk Designs on Etsyas found on the Vintage Chalet Blog shows just how lovely they can be--functional and industrial!
If you like my lens, be sure to leave a comment or share it with your friends. If you love glove molds as much as I do, let me know!
General Porcelain of Trenton, New Jersey
Glove Molds were primarily used for making latex or rubber gloves. Porcelain hands served as forms (glove mold) to used to attach to a machine to "dip" into the rubber or latex mass, and make the gloves. Examples have been found by many pottery companies--from Germany to Japan.
US examples include Mayer China and General Porcelain among others, but according to the Potteries of Trenton Society, General Porcelain one was a leader in it's day. Located in the town of Trenton, New Jersey the building was located at 951 Pennsylvania Avenue. Incorporated in 1939 it's early days were manufacturing Laboratory and industrial pottery such as electrical porcelain manufacturer--insulators, ceramic light parts, etc. China, Fine Earthenware, and art pottery soon followed and by the early 50's glove mold production was in full swing. Note the many different sizes on display from Retro Chalet which make collecting fun.
The company remained one of the largest producers of the glove mold in the USA, and locals knew it as General Porcelain Manufacturing Co. which, this facility was considered the "Justrite Ceramics Division." According to one of the last Dunn and Bradstreet updates, the company had 50 employees at the time and was reporting almost $6 million dollar per year gross income ...until their demise . What happened to the demise of this manufacturer around 2006 we may never know, especially for a company who was doing so well. We can only assume the fact that industrial production costs in the United States were too high in comparison to companies like Shinko of Japan and Mexican Potters who produce many of the industrial glove molds for the US companies that still use them today.
Photo Credit: Retro Chalet on Etsy
More General Porcelain Photos: On GloveMolds Blog
Hall China Company : East Liverpool Ohio
The Hall China company of East Liverpool Ohio in still in business. Best known for it's dinnerware and teapots, it has been "reintroducing" it's famous popular patterns. Collectors of new and old still love their wares.
Founded in 1903, it celebrated it's 100 year anniversary in 2003. In addition to teapots, the company made industrial wares such as crocks, bed pans, glove molds, foot molds, and other custom work. It is uncertain just when the company was making these glove molds.
The examples I've seen from Hall are all unfinished, plain ceramic unglazed. According to Wikipedia, "The manufacture of Hall China begins with a mixture of quartz, feldspar and several different clays. These ingredients are mixed together with water to form a slip. The filtered slip is then pumped into presses to remove the water and leaving filter cakes. The cakes are processed through a pug to remove air, before shaped by jiggering or jolleying to produce plates and bowls. For items such as teapots, the cakes have water added to them and the resulting slip is poured into smould and moved through the glazing and firing processes "
I toured the Hall factory in 2000, but did not see these glove molds. It was very interesting to see all the china drying and people quality checking them. I don't often come across Hall China glove molds, so I would think they are rare at the least.
Hall China Facelift
You saw how dirty looking the Hall China glove molds were, didn't you ? This one has been painted and has had a facelift. Note how nicely paint (in this case textured paint) sticks to the glove mold. This mold was given a facelift and is still a great part of industrial yesterday to displace in the home.
This one forsale at Retro Chalet on Etsy..
German Glove Molds
This country was huge in porcelain production. One of Germany's leading manufacturers of the porcelain glove molds was actually Rosenthal, wherein history can be traced back to the company, Hutschenreuther, ( named from it's original founder in 1814 by Carl Magnus Hutschenreuther). You can read about the company's history here in Wikipedia and come to understand how , over time, production was in the hands of Rosenthal porcelain. It's not uncommon to still find glove molds marked "Rosenthal, West Germany The "West Germany" mark indicates the glove mold was made on or prior to 1990, when Germany went through a reunification.
Rosenthal"Technik" was taken over by Hoechst CeramTec (mark of HCT) and in 1985 so it is safe to say any molds marked Rosenthal are mid 80's or prior. The history of CeramTec is confusing and can be traced back to the events of the early 1900s with Rosenthal and their porcelain production. Both companies had been producing ceramics for almost 100 years, so it's no wonder that the merger finally occurred.
To make matters even one step more confusing, CeramTec 's holdings are actually in America and they have a factory in South Carolina. They have other factories nationwide including several in Germany, one in Malaysia, China, Korea and Czech Republic among other places, and one many only imagine that they could very well still be producing glove molds to this day.
Photo Credit: RetroChalet on Etsy
Answer This Honestly:
What is your first impression of glove molds?
Shinko of Japan - Shanghai Shinko
Shinko porcelain factory of Japan was one of the leaders in porcelain making throughout Japan's history. In 1993, Shanghai Shinko (one of the branches/members of the famous Shinko Co., Ltd.) began set up and molding of most of the glove molds. As of late 2010, Shanghai Shinko had produced more than one hundred kinds of glove molds since it was set up in 1993 ,and are averaging 50,000 pieces per month. Update; September 2011 - As of late, I can't find them anymore.
Photo Credit: Ira Mency Blog
I don't know much about Mexican glove molds, except they are being made today.
Made in China
Companies in China are producing glove molds as they are also making tons of surgical and latex gloves there now. Beware if your mold is marked CHINA as this is not vintage but new.
What's this? This is a vintage one that has been painted, so it's hard to tell, but asking questions and doing research should give you an opportunity to find out.
Glove molds are fully functional as jewelry displays, but are also in good design. I have them all around my home. These were bought for a catering job to sit on tables at a wedding , originally, Can you believe that the NEW factory owner was crushing them up for crush and run on his parking lot? Eegads. They are now available at RetroChalet . These were all made in Trenton, NJ.
Photo Credit: RetroChalet on Etsy, and Rings from MattieReidChicago.
Glove molds: Bizarre Textured One must have been for grippy gloves! Offered in RetroChalet on Etsy!
A Collector's Dream
Glove molds came in so many sizes and shapes, that a collector could easily spend a lifetime trying to collect them all. A manufacturer such as General Porcelain may have had hundreds of clients all over the map. Therefore, their production of molds included variations of textured, non-textured, small, large, short, stout, etc.. During a time when the industrial revolution as taking place, machinery would always be upgraded to newer models, and base attachments may have had to been reworked or changed. Still after years of collecting I see something new, like this one that was previously offered at Blue Bell Bazaar (now closed) on Etsy. There's certainly enough variations out there to start a collection.
What Can You Do With Glove Molds? - Toys for Adults
Truth be told there's plenty of things you can do with them. Many people display jewelry on them. You can sit them around your house for a modern & industrial look. You can scare your friends at Halloween. You can use them in your art studio to hold things. Honestly, they are also wonderful holding flowers or fake wedding rings at wedding tables.
No need to worry about them toppling over, they are quite heavy and sit on a large base. Unless you have a very cheeky cat (like I do, see the lens on Russian Blue Cats I wrote to see him) then you need not worry!
Glove Mold Uses
Glove molds are great for:
Holding Wedding Invitations or That Special Something!
Glove Molds are part of industrial history. The porcelain ones were and are mainly used to make latex gloves.
Ragamuffin2006 on Etsy uses her hands to display her gorgeous Penny Rings!
I use my glove molds to display my old doll head collection! Talk about urban decay...
Most Glove Molds are Porcelain. - If you like porcelain...
You can paint the bisque non-shiny glove molds like these!
What do you think glove molds are best used for?
You can paint these "bisque" molds
These were found in Oregon, and are now for sale in the Retro Chalet Etsy Shop! Glove molds that can be painted are usually unglazed porcelain or bisque. Although it may be possible to paint glazed, it normally peels off over time. The necklace shown here was acquired from Urban Woods Walker store on Etsy.
Beautiful Reworked Glove Mold by RaleighModern on Etsy
Bizarre New Find : Colonial Insulator Marked Mold
I have no freakin' clue what this is, except that I found research stating a Colonial Insulator (and Sign) Company was out of Akron Ohio from 1894-1922. Although I am unsure if that is the same Colonial Insulator Company or not...I then found the same exact mold marked General Porcelain 1966. I am led to believe then that General Porcelain of Trenton NJ bought them out....and that finding molds marked Colonial Insulator is ultra rare.
Compare the original above with the General Porcelain hand below...
Glove Molds are Part of Industrial History! - If you like Industrial....
Care and Cleaning of your Glove Molds
It's no secret that some vintage glove molds that were unglazed may appear grungy, dirty, or grimey. If this worries you (part of the character) then there are a few ways I've found that work for cleaning.
1) Ajax or Comet Powder and a scrubbie or toothbrush. This method works the best. Gently scrub spots with the gritty powder and let it sit for some time. Use hot water and wash, and repeat. Eventually this method should remove about 80% of the grime.
2) Soak in a sink full of hot water and Oxy Clean, then use a scrubbie or toothbrush with method #1 to spot clean.
3) An industrial cleaner named Alconox is biodegrdable and concerntrated. One milk-sized carton makes up to 52 gallons of cleaner, and can be used to lift stains off the glove molds. You will have to search for this to see if you are able to get it in your area.
4) Sand blasting, though I've never used this method I was told by factory personnel it does indeed work. You would have to get a very fine grit probably oxide based and gently blast. This will gradually take off small layers of the glove mold leaving it looking shabby all over, and a bit cleaner.
Read more on how to clean your glove molds here: on Glove Molds Blog .
Did You Know?
Did you know that even though Medium or Large size glove molds may be too large to put rings on, that you could still use them for bracelet and necklace display ( and use extenders on the back of the
Further Reading On Glove Molds
Read these other articles I read on Glove Molds!
- Ideas for Using Glove Molds!
Here is a great little article about various uses for your glove molds!
- Article on Industrial Glove Molds
Here is an article with a bit more information!
- Glove Molds Blog
Showcasing love for vintage glove molds
- How To Clean Vintage Glove Molds
- See what Kim of Everything Etsy did with her glove molds.
Glove mold decorating ideas, courtesy of Everything Etsy and some molds I sent her.