Tipsy Drinkers

I recently found these adorable martini glasses and couldn’t pass up their cheery faces.  These charming Tipsy Drinker martini glasses were made in the 1950’s and early 1960’s by the Gay Fad Studio of Lancaster Ohio. There are only 5 of these glasses and I wish there were 6 but after looking around on line and seeing the prices for them I know I got quite a bargain for these so, will continue looking for one more to finish the set.

Fran Taylor started Gay Fad Studios in her Detroit home in the late 1930’s but unfortunately not much is known about her early years when she was painting predominantly on metal.  During the early 1940’s due to the scarcity of metal for decorative home goods Fran started painting glassware and the rest as they say, is history.  She began with mostly floral and fruit designs.  In the fall of 1945 she moved the company to Lancaster, Ohio.  With the new location, a much larger space, Fran was free to expand her designs on glassware and began to really branch out with more styles and more types of glassware.  In the early 1950’s their somewhat cheeky designs in barware their Gay Nineties line was a great success due in part to the popularity of cocktail parties during Mid-Century experience and more designs soon followed.

This set of Tipsy Drinkers with some straight stems and some crooked stems is actually a collection of two different sets. Originally they were sold in sets of 4 straight stems or 4 crooked stems. Regardless, when I spied them at the estate sale, they brought a smile to my face and begged me to take them home.  Every time I look at the somewhat tipsy faces on these martini glasses I still smile.  They are a little smaller than a traditional martini glass and could be used for aperitif as well.  They stand about 5 ½ inches high and hold about 3 ounces.  The tipsy faces look hand painted but could be silk screened. 

With a little research, I found the crooked stems were actually a happy accident.  Apparently the stems bent in an accident with a malfunctioning firing oven that overheated enough that the stems were distorted.  Instead of discarding the glasses with bent stems, Fran Taylor thought she liked the look and decided to start a new line of barware with bent stems.  Fran thought they would add a little laughter to a party if you served the 2nd or 3rd drink in the glasses with the crooked stems after serving their first drinks in the straight stemmed glasses.

Sadly, the Gay Fad Studios closed in 1962 so these glasses are limited by the number that remain after a lifetime of use.

One each of these Tipsy Drinkers are pictured on the cover of the definitive book for Gay Fad collectors by authors and consummate collectors: Donna McGrady and Kitty Hanson, ”Gay Fad: Fran Taylor’s Extraordinary Legacy”.  For more information about Gay Fad glassware or this remarkable book check Santa Fe Trading Post’s website HERE.   


    • I don’t think I’ll ever use them. Probably sell them to a barware dealer at the Texas market I’m selling at later in March. But I like looking at them for now because they remind me of my Uncle Eddie who was a heavy drinker and quite often rather tipsy and they make me smile.


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