Knives Fit for a Lady to Collect and Use - Glass Knives

7/27/2012 1:48:00 PM

Tags: glass knife, DurX Knife, Vitex Glas Knife, Depression Glass, Janann Giles

People have made knives from glass starting back in the Stone Age.  Obsidian knives were knapped, like arrowheads, and were crude at best.  Long after man had moved out of caves and into houses there was a point when glass was popping up in the most unusual objects including once again knives.    It was during the Great Depression that the term glass knives took on an entire new meaning.

I have a friend with a collection of glass knives: pink, blue and clear.  Bennie frequently displays them at knife shows and I have spent time asking him questions about the knives.   Truthfully, with the exception of the photos of food being cut, all the other knives and boxes are part of his collection.  He speaks highly of the sharpness of his knives but says a chip makes them almost worthless.

 Three Glass Knives by Vitex Glas

The glass knife I purchased isn’t as sharp as Bennies.  It has quite a few nicks on the cutting edge but standing in the antique store I knew I wanted that knife, flaws and all.  What’s the allure of glass knives anyway?  I can think of various reasons:  They were made in the USA; they are unique and most important for me is the fact that I’m rather an addict for items from the early part of the 20th century.

Sliced Tomato 

Remember, it was a time before the widespread use of stainless steel.  Acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus would tarnish carbon blades but not glass.  That was the main selling point for the knives by both the Dur-X Company and Vitex-Glas Knife Company.  

Mango being Sliced 

In addition to being impervious to citrus the knives were also said to slide effortlessly through meringues, cakes and Jell-O.  Yes Jell-O!  Don’t you always cut your Jell-O with a knife?  I don’t but you may have different culinary habits.  I’d love to verify the cake, especially angel food cake, theory because no matter what knife I’ve tried I still flatten my angel food cakes when I attempt to slice them.  I didn’t expect the rough edge on my knife to really cut anything. Surprisingly I have to admit it did cut cleanly through the tomatoes and Mango, even the shortcake.

 Shortcake being cut 

Made from crystal (the Depression era term for transparent uncolored glass) the chief problem with the knives was that they were made of glass.  Instructions tell users to cut on soft wood, never on a metal surface.  Then there’s the inevitable kitchen accident of dropping a knife.  Need I say more?  

It has been frustrating the last few years not to have money to spend on frivolous items which brings up the final reason I like the glass knives.  They‘re still available, still useful and still a way to collect Depression glass without spending a lot of money.  If you’re interested in having a piece of history a glass knife is a great item to start collecting.  The knives are available in the standard clear glass but also amber, blue, green, pink and white.  Several years ago you’d need to pay $50 for a knife and box (boxes are more valuable than the knives) but today the price has dropped considerably.  I paid less than $10 for my knife and box.  I’m sure the prices will go up one day but since I don’t collect to make money that’s not important to me.  I enjoy being able to hold a beautiful piece of American history in my hand.

Card from Glass Knife Box

Related Content

Chickens in The Pig Pen

My daddy's mix of chickens and pig

Saving For The Future

We are learning not to waste anything, not even rotted trees.

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


7/30/2012 10:31:27 PM
Janann, I've heard of ceramic knives but never glass. I would suspect them to be extremely sharp just like ceramic. I have my favorite knife as I think all people of the kitchen do. It's just a plain old serrated metal blade knife that I use to cut vegetables and meat but not bread. It's just a great utility knife that just feels right in my hand. My daughter has a little bigger knife with finer serrations on the blade that is her favorite. I have many kitchen knives but those two are the most used. I'm thinking you are talking more about a collection of knives and not those used in the daily kitchen preparation of meals. I'm just not big on collections of any thing that can't be used daily. Have a great glass knife day.

Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!