Object ID
2011.7.205
Object Name
Set, Salt & Pepper
Object Collection
Alex's Candy Shop (is part of)
Date Created
1920 – 1940
Material
Metal
Object Entities
Object Description
This is a simple sugar shaker made out of a thin and cheaper silver metal. It has a circular perforated top that can unscrew to open. The top is dented a little but still intact. There are a few rivets for the twist off feature on the sides of the shaker. The lower sides and bottom are completely plain. There is a handle made of the same material that is attached with little studs. The metal is dirty and a little pitted from use and age.
Origin
Paulina Franks' grandfather, John Rassogianis, came to Chicago in the 1890s. He began his life in the new city by peddling fruits and later, with the help of his sons Alex and George, would open a candy store. In the 1920s Paulina Franks' father Constantine became a part of the family business and the store was able to prosper. When the second business closed Paulina Rassogianis chose to hold as many of the candy store's items as possible and, later, donate them to the National Hellenic Museum.

The Rassogianis family began their candy business in Chicago proper, working out of their own shop named "St. Louis Ice Cream Parlor." Eventually, the shop was closed and the Rassogianis' chose to continue their candy store venture in Berwyn, Illinois. The new shop they chose to open was named Alex's Sweet Shop.

Paulina Franks' father was a key contributor to the success of the Rassogianis candy stores. While Constantine Rassogianis was a noteworthy entrepeneur, he also had many other accomplishments. Among these was his four years of involvment in the Greek national military during World War I wherein he obtained the rank of sergeant. Also, he was a published author and poet, an experienced mandolin player, a church officer and had extensive knowledge of psalti.

A muffineer is a utensil like a large salt shaker for sprinkling sugar, cinnamon or other granular condiments; it's a small container with a perforated top which is used to shake out powders like sugar, salt, and talc in a controlled way. People have been keeping powders in perforated containers for a very long time, since this storage technique makes a great deal of sense for substances which are used in small volumes. Substances like salt, sugar, and pepper were also once extremely expensive, so storing them in a shaker kept them protected and reduced the risk of waste. Silver salt shakers dating back to the 16th century and even earlier are on display at museums with collections of culinary artifacts, and many of these shakers had very fine, beautiful designs from the hands of master craftsmen. The word "muffineer" started to be used in the early 1800s to describe a shaker used to hold powdered sugar which could be spread on muffins, scones, and other breakfast goods.

Muffineers were part of the Victorian tableware along with so many other serving utensils that seem foreign to us now. Many were quite elaborate and they are very collectible today. . With the change in life style after the First World War and on into the 1960s, muffineers were referred to as sugar shakers and were not quite as elegant or elaborate.

This one is a plain one that was probably used for sugar coating cakes or candies. It is simple yet practical for its everyday use.

Milk glass is an opaque or translucent, milky white or colored glass, blown or pressed into a wide variety of shapes and is a popular type of glass collector's item made into dishes and cups, vases and figurines and anything in between.

Milk glass originated in Venice in the 16th century. However, back then milk glass came in all different colors including yellow, brown, black, pink and blue. All of these colors still project a 'milky' color as the tone is thick and coated. Some of these colors still exist in milk glass, especially blue, but the opaque color remains the most popular.

Since the 16th century, milk glass has remained a popular collector's item as well as a useful item around the house. However, most of the collectable milk glass of today dates back to the 1700's or newer.

Although milk glass came from the 1500's, the term 'milk glass' did not actually come into play until relatively recently. During the 19th century glass makers referred to milk glass as 'opaque glass' and was still considered a luxury item and a great collectable.

Milk glass became popular during the end of the 19th century in France. Often considered a product of the 'fin de siecle', the milk glass goes hand in hand with French cultural awareness and symbolists that paved the way for modernism and expressionism.


During the early 20th century, also known as the American Gilded Age, milk glass was synonymous with the cultural prosperity of the wealthy American culture. Milk glass made in the Gilded Age still remains some of the best ever made. It is known for the delicacy and elegance and were often seen on dressers and shelf tops in upper-class American homes.


However, during the 1930's, milk glass made during the Depression was considered less elegant and delicate and more a production of the harsh times. Because of this, milk glass made during the 1930's and 1940's is often considered of lesser quality.

These days, milk glass still remains a popular collectable for around the home. Although it is not as expensive as porcelain, it makes a beautiful alternative for all sorts of decorations and decor items. These include cups, dishes, plates, vases, figurines, boxes, perfume bottles, glass holders, lanterns and much more. Milk glass can also be used for entire pieces such as dresser sets or salt and pepper shakers. Milk glass also makes its way into themed occasions with some Christmas bulbs and Christmas decorations made from milk glass as well.
Rights and Reproduction
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Citation
Set, Salt & Pepper, 1920 – 1940, Alex's Candy Shop, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/8703. Accessed 02/20/24.