The story of Dorothy Carpenter Thorpe starts on January 5, 1901 when Dorothy was born to George and Agatha Carpenter. Dorothy attended the University of Utah and married George A. Thorpe of Los Angeles in 1933. Dorothy enjoyed music and playing the piano.|
Times were tough for the couple during the Great Depression. George suffered setbacks in employment and Dorothy worked hard ti figure out how to help bring in whatever money she could.
One day, Dorothy found a broken wine bottle in the gutter. She took the broken bottle home and made a groove near the broken top. She then took the bottle to a glass factory to have the sharp edge ground down after she had removed the broken top.
Returning home, Thorpe covered the now tumbler with masking tape and cut out pieces of tape with an idea. Returning to the glass factory, she had the tumbler sand blasted and the result was a crystal clear tumbler with Dorothy's initials etched in crisp, clear letters. It is here that Thorpe's story truly begins. A naturally gifted artist, she took her tumbler to department stores who placed large orders for her etched glassware.
Meanwhile George went from dump to dump searching for useable glass for Dorothy to etch.
Department stores were wowed by her amazing work and started placing large orders for her wares.
Over the period of her career, Thorpe created over 2,000 designs and decorations on almost any kind of glass. Her decorations could be found on clocks, coffee pots, bowls, vases, stemware, etc. Thorpe also decorated dinnerware for companies such as Crown Lynn.
George, became ill and passed away in 1953. Losing her husband of twenty years was hard on Dorothy and she decided it was time to unburden herself. She sold Dorothy C. Thorpe, Inc., in 1955 and retired to Carlsbad, California.
It is not known which company purchased Dorothy C. Thorpe, Inc., but it has changed hands severak times. Thorpe did start to use lucite in the later years, often combining her beautiful floral "Originals" with lucite handles.
Thorpe did not manufacture the Allegro (aka "Silver Band"), Old Gold ("Platinum Band") or most of the other post 1955 pieces such as those used in the series "Mad Men". Mad Men takes place in the 1960's; Thorpe was no longer manufacturng or decorating post 1955. These banded border wares. But they are still considered "Thorpe" though they were mass manufactured in great number by the compnny that bought Thorpe's company.
IMPORTANT! About this "Silver Fade" myth; Silver Fade is a name coined by someone who could not otherwide identify it reasoning that it was close enough to Thorpe's Allegro (Silver Band). None of this 'Silver Fade' was manufactured by Thorpe nor designed by Thorpe.. These pieces are known as "Mercury Glass" and more commonly referred to as "Queens Lusterware". You can find out more about Queens Lusterware here: Classy Concoctions.
There is a proliferation of people selling any floral etched glass as having been made by Dorothy Thorpe. Thorpe's "Originals" are deeply etched floral decorations so lifelike you would think they were real and they all have the DTC mark which is stylized. Please visit the following pages for information about fakes and forgeries, the Gallery of Thorpe pieces, and the Thorpe pieces we are offering for sale. We also offer etched glass from such glass artists of the time such as Frank Oda/Arts Hawaii, Billie Ray, and Franz Grosz along with modern studio artists of the era.