18 December 2005

Remember Glass Wax Stencils?

We all remember Glass Wax, don't we? It was a liquid solution with a pinkish white cast that came in a bright pink metal container. You shook it up, then applied it to your windows and let it dry. It dried to a white hardness, then you polished it off. (I always thought it was made by Johnson's Wax, but it wasn't. The company was Gold Seal.)

Some bright person realized that this whiteness could be used for another purpose and voila, Glass Wax stencils were born. These were made of waxed paper in all sorts of Christmasy motifs: Santa in his sleigh and also coming down the chimney, reindeer, bells, angels, snowflakes, a nativity scene complete with a shepherd and Wise Men with camels. You applied the Glass Wax with a dry sponge and presto, your windows were festive. Then when Christmas was over, you wiped off the stenciling and the windows were also clean. It was a decoration any mother would love. If you were really ambitious, you could add a few drops of food coloring to the liquid Glass Wax and have multicolor festiveness.

We had a big glass window in the living room, horizontally sectioned into four long panes. I used to decorate the entire window every Christmas. The third level would be the Nativity scene. I would reuse the Wise Man and camel motif carefully three times so there were three, not one; and make one pair of reindeer into eight (in fact I would then dab the sponge on only one of the reindeer and make Rudolph at the front, using the edge of the sponge to make "beams" of light from his nose. Santa and the deer were on the second pane down; the top pane had the star and banks of angels on either side, ringing bells or playing trumpets (the angels only came with bells; instead I improvised the trumpets from the edge of the sponge). The lowest level was reserved for the miscellaneous motifs: bells, holly, Santa in the chimney. It was a lot of fun.

17 comments:

Don Stachowiak said...

I was thinking of Glass Wax this Christmas, because I noticed that vinyl pel off stencils had pretty much taken over the windows I saw decorated, so I went looking for some. I was totally unsuccessful, and when I Googled Glass Wax the results were not very helpful. Apparently the Gold Seal Co. of North Dakota no longer exists, since I wasn't able to find ant sort of compny web page.
Glass Wax was a particularly good product to clean windows with in winter, as the soapy coating it left on the glass helped prevent fogging. I really miss those old glass wax decorations. Of course Christmas was when you saw most of them, but I remember they had Thanksgiving and Halloween stencils as well. Thanks for your memory of something I always felt fondly about. Do you remember Arthur Godfrey selling Glass Wax on radio and TV? "Wipe it on! Wipe it off!"

gramma_lulu said...

I just started my search for GlassWax. I am sorry to hear Gold Seal went out of business. My grandkids would love to do this. I'm going to try the new product from The Vermont Country Store. Just to add a note, I remember my mother adding a drop of food coloring to a small bowl of glasswax, and we were able to color our windows also. What memories. Those were the days when Christmas was for all the innocent children. I wish all the children now could experience such memories.

Anonymous said...

Glass Wax may be gone but there is a similar product called No-Streek Glass Polish. It even smells the same as I remember Glass Wax smelling. You can find it at superiorcabinet.com.

Anonymous said...

http://justinland.typepad.com/justinland/2002/12/glasswax_snowme.html

Restoration hardware has glasswax.

billk222@gmail.com

DJnRF said...

Here is what I know about Glass Wax. (Not including my use of it for many years.)

Gold Seal Products Co.
Started by Harold Schafer of N. Dakota in 1942.

In 1943, his Gold Seal Company made a profit of $901.02, and Harold borrowed money from friends to keep going. The company grew modestly at first but, in 1945, Harold introduced a new product called Glass Wax. Sales increased dramatically and then suddenly boomed when, in 1948, Glass Wax “went national.” The astonishing rise of this small North Dakota company, Harold’s sometimes flamboyant management style, and his incredible enthusiasm for hard work propelled Harold into the national limelight.

The phenomenal success of Glass Wax was repeated again in the 1950s with Snowy Bleach and in the 1960s with Mr. Bubble. Each of these became the #1 selling product in the world in their respective categories and the Gold Seal Company continued to produce increasing sales and profits until it was sold.

The company was sold to Airwick Industries in 1986. Some of the original Gold Seal products can still be found today, but the Glass Wax product was discontinued by Airwick in 2002.

Maybe all who can actually remember Glass Wax in the original formulation, and who have been unable to find any product that works equally as well, should write to Airwick Industries to press them to again start making the old, original Glass Wax. One thing that may have led to the discontinuance is that Glass Wax was a flammable product. Even so, I can’t imagine anyone with half an ounce of common sense that would ever have a problem in using the product.

Dave Jacobs
DJnRF@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

kmeskunas
Glass Wax sure does bring back so many wonderful Christmas memories for me. I just ordered a similar product from the Vermont store and found some of the origional stencils on Ebay. Can't wait to try it out!

Frankcoins.com said...

Looks like a near identical product is here

http://www.shophometrends.com/product.asp?pn=411006&bhcd2=1232812893

Anonymous said...

Christmas 1956 was the year I put Glasswax Christmas stencils all over my bedroom windows. I remember like it was yesterday although the rest of that year is mostly faded from memory.

charlotte said...

I remember every year helping my grandmother and mother decorate our windows with Glass Wax and Stencils. I recently found a package of stencils at an antique store and need to find a source in Phoenix AZ where I can find a similar product to use on my windows. It always served two purposes. Decoration and cleaning. Plus good times with grandma
Charlotte

Anonymous said...

WOW...it's amazing how many of us have such fond memories of glasswax Christmas stencils. It was a time that you did things together and enjoyed it. The peely stick-ums of today just cannot compare. Nostalgia is a wonderful thing....

Anonymous said...

I do remember glass wax, but my mother also made homemade window stencil "snow" using soap flakes, starch, and water. Look on www.cooks.com and enter the search term "soap snow" for a recipe.

Dover books (look on Amazon) sells little books of Christmas stencils, or I think many hardware stores make stencil material you cut yourself.

Anonymous said...

I have a set of the original stencils from my childhood, but alas, no glass wax. Works pretty good with spray snow, though.

According to the package, my mother bought them for 29 cents, marked down from 59 cents. How quaint!

Anonymous said...

I have looked everywhere for Glass Wax, surely there is another product with the same makeup? I am looking for it for Christmas stencils too - as I did in my childhood. The cleaner I use on my ceramic stove dries with that whiteness. I'm gonna try it! Meanwhile, I would be HAPPY to contact Airwick with my requests! Bring it back! Bring it back!

meridith said...

These are so neat! I have some of the stencils for sale in my Etsy store
http://www.etsy.com/listing/77654701/vintage-glass-wax-christmas-holiday

Anonymous said...

I can remember my dad bringing this home from a store one winter, and how excited we kids were about it. I also seem to remember stencils for other holidays as well, like Halloween. Or maybe the fumes from the Glass Wax can affected my memory?

Anonymous said...

I fondly remember these stencils! My Mom used the spray snow from what I recall in decorating our windows. But, even more vividly are my memories of sitting at the dining room table and tracing these images onto colorful felt, then stitching on sequins to embellish them. We would then glue magnets on the back and they would adorn our fridge! A few years prior, my Mom had made a beautiful white felt Christmas tree skirt and placed cutouts into a scene. It was wonderful...I would love to re-create it for an heirloom myself. Thanks for this great blog, I enjoyed reading all the stories! RJohnson in MN

Linda Dalessandro said...

To Don Stachowiak- I just ordered some glass wax an hour ago but can't remember the site!! I to remember fondly my mother making the glass wax blue and she used stencils to decorate the porch windows for Christmas. I am so happy to have found the wax. Don't give up the search, just look for sites that sell stuff from years gone by.