The Elusive Dorothy Thorpe

Let’s talk about mid-century name brands. Branding is important; Don Draper would be the first to tell you. So how do you determine if something is the real deal, or a reproduction? Does it matter? You can find many a heated discussion on the subject on mid-century modern blogs and Facebook Fan pages. I’m here to tell you, when it comes to Dorothy Thorpe, it’s really hard to know. You’ve seen Dorothy’s work…real or reproduction on Mad Men, and you’re probably starting to see it in your friends homes.

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According to the only seemingly reliable information I could track down, Dorothy Thorpe sold her interest in her company in 1953. At the time, she was well-known for her floral work and sand etching.

Here’s an excerpt:

Thorpe passed away September 4, 1989 in Carlsbad, California. Based on this revised information, it seems that Dorothy Thorpe only ever did floral and similar decorations which include the etched pieces such as coffee pots and trays that have lucite handles and bear the DTC logo. The company that purchased Dorothy C. Thorpe of California Inc., went on to produce Silver Band and other known pieces with the same attention to detail and quality as was the rule when Dorothy owned the studio herself. All of the floral and etched decorations are referenced as “Dorothy Thorpe Originals” and by the time of her retirement, she was famous for her floral decorated glassware that was owned and displayed by celebrities, galleries and museums.

The author goes on to surmise that the silver band “Mad Men” barware that we so often see labeled as “Dorothy Thorpe” is most likely the work of the company that purchased and took over the Dorothy Thorpe Company name after 1953, and further that these pieces were largely experimental. I’m thinking the gamble paid off. With the resurgence of interest in mid-century modern accessories, these glasses are a must-have for the true MCM enthusiast. If you’re hot for Thorpe or the “roly poly” barware, I’d like to share with you a few sellers who have something to offer.

This most exemplary set of 6 are offered on Etsy.com Search "RustBeltThreads"Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
This most exemplary set of 6 are offered on Etsy.com Search “RustBeltThreads”
Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
Set of 8 with caddy again offered by RustBeltThreads on Etsy.com Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads
Set of 8 with caddy again offered by RustBeltThreads on Etsy.com
Photo Credit: RustBeltThreads

 

Don't like the silver-band? Check out awesome Etsy seller WestTexasVintage. This set of 7 is only $28! Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Don’t like the silver-band? Check out awesome Etsy seller WestTexasVintage. This set of 7 is only $28!
Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Silver-Banned Cocktail or Juice Glasses again by WestTexasVintage. Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage
Silver-Banned Cocktail or Juice Glasses again by WestTexasVintage. Photo Credit: WestTexasVintage

 

Authentic Dorothy Thorpe or not, these roly poly glasses are HOT and they’re everywhere, and I must say that I really want a set for my wannabe Mad Men bar.  There is nothing yummier than seeing Don Draper sip from one of those roly poly glasses; personally, I don’t care who made it. Until the final season of Mad Men is released, I’ll have to get my hands on some “Dorothys” and settle for a drink alone.

Better than Booze: Don Draper
Better than Booze: Don Draper
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4 thoughts on “The Elusive Dorothy Thorpe

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