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Culver Ltd was founded in Brooklyn, New York in 1939 by Irving Rothenberg. Culver Glass features real 22-karat gold decoration used effusively and magnificently especially from the late 1950’s on through the 1960’s. The company gained notoriety and its products became highly collectible and only sold at high-end department stores. In 1980, the company moved to downtown Rahway, New Jersey. Irving Rothenberg passed away in 1987 and his son, Mark ‘Mickey’ Rothenberg, continued the Culver Glass Company. Mickey ran the company until he sold Culver Ltd. in 1996 to Moderne Glass Company, Inc. Mickey Rothenberg continued in the glass manufacturing business by running another glass company until his death on 9/11. He was one of the passengers on the hijacked Newark-to-San-Francisco flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.
The company’s early production line featured acid etch, decalcomania, sandblasted, hand-painted, banded, sand-cut monogramming and silk screen. In the late 1950’s, Culver Ltd started the application of the 22-karat gold to their glassware. The super-heated, roll-on process of gold remains a secret today. By the 1980’s, Culver stopped making its own glass and began using glassware ‘blanks’ produced by other companies.
The patterns of Culver are extensive from gilded mushrooms, owls, cats, wildlife, Egyptian or Asian inspired design themes, scrolling leaf patterns, holiday designs, sports motifs and many others. The gilded Moroccan-style trellis and raised emerald-green diamonds of the ‘Valencia‘ pattern become their most popular pattern in cocktailware. Some other collectible patterns are the following:
Prado: Green and gold squares
Antiqua: low-set, simple crackled-gold band with a single row of oval cut-outs
Seville: Like the ‘Valencia’ pattern, but with aqua-blue diamonds and considered very rare
Pisa: Crackled gold with three rows of oval cut-outs
Paisley: The red reverse and gold swirly paisley pattern
Culver glass from the 1940’s through the ’50s are signed with a script Culver. The Culver mark changed to block lettering in the late 1960’s through the 1970’s. Culver glass after the 1970s are typically unmarked today because the company changed to paper labels attached to the glass. Many of these labels have disappeared from use.
Culver cocktailware is highly collectible and remains popular today. Classy Concoctions have several Culver cocktail sets to embellish your next Cocktail Hour. Click below to view the different Culver Glass Collections.