At about the same time Red Wing was moving into manufacturing dinnerware in the early 1930s, the company also began producing cookie jars and the museum showcases the wide variety offered.
The earliest cookie jars were intended to be cold painted, possibly after the sale. Cold paint is a process of decorating the jars with enamel paint after the glaze was applied and fired, meaning the colorful designs will eventually wear or scrape off. That’s one reason cold painted cookie jars in mint condition are so difficult to find, because the wear and tear of every day life has taken its toll. In the photo at left churn, drum, and saffron cookie jars decorated with cold paint are displayed.
In 1938 Red Wing began a long-term relationship with freelance industrial designer Belle Kogan, who was based out of New York. One of the first female industrial designers, Kogan designed many successful pieces for Red Wing including the dinnerware line Fondoso and in 1940 the Magnolia group. Belle Kogan also designed five innovative cookie jars for Red Wing in the shapes of an apple, pineapple, pear, bananas, and grapes.
Of all the Red Wing cookie jars produced, the most popular were the three designed by Charles Murphy. Debuting in 1941, Katrina the Dutch Girl, Pierre the Chef, and Friar Tuck (who is inscribed with the words, “Thou Shalt Not Steal”) were immensely successful, with Katrina reportedly selling as many as 200,000 jars a year. The three cookie jars came in various colors including tan, yellow, blue, green, and in some rare cases, white. In 1999, Jerry and Louise were blessed with a granddaughter named Katrina, although her parents maintain Red Wing cookie jars had nothing to do with their choice of names.
Sometime around 1955 the King of Tarts cookie jar was introduced, along with a hand-painted merry-go-round. In the early 1960s between 1962 and 1964 the last of Red Wing’s cookie jars were produced. These were the Drum cookie jar (most often referred to as the Drummer Boy) and two pumpkin shaped cookie jars - one large and a smaller, flatter version. Both pumpkins touted a figure on the lid and have come to be known as the Jack Frost cookie jars.
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