Big Pine Key Glass Works
Big Pine Key Glass Works was located on US1 on Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys. The owner, Lester S. Cunningham, began construction on the factory in 1965. Lester had previously worked at the Imperial Glass factory. Big Pine Key made figural glass bottles, flasks, ashtrays, small plates and paperweights. They also made limited edition souvenir flasks and plates for Collectors Weekly, a subscription magazine that ran for a short time in the early 1970s.

Their glass can be marked with "BPKGW" stamped into the bottom and some of the carnival plates have Lester Cunningham's mark on them, a capital letter "C" enclosing a lower case "i". Pieces without Lester's mark typically have a small triangle on the bottom.

Iridized items from Big Pine Key Glass Works seem to come from the years 1972 and 1973.

Big Pine Key Glass Works was in operation only until 1973. It closed due to Lester's tragic and untimely death in an auto accident. The glass works building burned down in July of 2003.

A figural bottle in the shape of a log cabin. It is four inches tall. It has a train scene on the front and says "Saluting Pioneer America" on the back. On the bottom it is marked "BN 1972" and has a small triangle. It is not known what BN stands for. A figural bottle in the shape of a log cabin. It is four inches tall. It has a Glass Blower and kiln scene on the front and says "Saluting Pioneer America" on the back. On the bottom it is marked "BN 1973" and has a small triangle. A figural bottle in the shape of a log cabin. It is four inches tall. It has a horse drawn fire apparatus scene on the front and says "Saluting Pioneer America" on the back. On the bottom it is marked "BN 1973" and has a small triangle. A figural bottle in the shape of a log cabin. It is four inches tall. It has a spinning wheel scene on the front and says "Pioneer Women". On the back it says "Saluting Pioneer America". On the bottom it is marked "BN 1972" and has a small triangle.
A flask made for Collector's Weekly of Kermit, Texas. It is four and 3/4 inches tall. On the front is a star and an American Eagle. The bottom is marked "BPKGW" and has a small triangle. The reverse side of the flask says "The buck stops here". Below that are the initials HST and a bust of Harry S Truman along with 1884 - 1972. A small plate made for Collector's Weekly of Kermit, Texas. It is five inches across. On the front is Lady Liberty holding a flag and a shield. These plates with the rayed edges are all 5 inches across. The reverse side of the Lady Liberty small plate. There is a second back for plates that are not numbered. Only the first 99 plates issued must have been numbered.
A small plate with a portrait of an American Indian. It is five inches across. The reverse of the American Indian small plate. Notice the "Ci" mark and that a small triangle forms the tip of the broken arrow. A small plate depicting Lyndon B. Johnson and the saying "Come, let us reason together". It also has the dates 1908 - 1973. A small plate depicting Harry S. Truman and the saying "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen". It also has the dates 1884 - 1972.
A small political plate with the names Nixon and Agnew along with 1972 on it. It is five inches across. A small political plate with the names McGovern and Shriver along with 1972 and the figure of a donkey on it. The name Eagleton is crossed out. It is five inches across. A small political plate with the names McGovern and Shriver along with 1972 and the figure of a donkey on it. The Lyndon B. Johnson, Harry S Truman and the political plates all have the above on the back. The photo shows the "Ci" mark surrounded by hobs.
This small plate is 3 7/8 inches across and has an outer edge filled with large stippling. The center says "Key West" and it shows a pelican on a pier. The back says "Handcrafted by Big Pine Key Glassworks" and it has a triangle. There is also a plate with a Marlin. This small plate is 3 7/8 inches across and has an outer edge filled with large stippling. The center says "Long May It Wave" and it shows a U.S. Flag. The back says "San Vincente Studios St. Petersburg Florida First Issue". This small plate is 3 7/8 inches across and has an outer edge filled with large stippling. The center says "Cape May New Jersey" and it shows a sea gull. The back says "Handcrafted by Big Pine Key Glassworks" and it has a triangle. This small plate is 3 7/8 inches across and has an outer edge filled with large stippling. The center appears to show a man with arms outstretched. Maybe he is a stagecoach driver. The back says "Handcrafted by Big Pine Key Glassworks" and it has a triangle.
This small plate, to the left, is 3 7/8 inches across and has an outer edge filled with large stippling. The center has a menorah and the number 25. Big Pine Key made a series of these small plates to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the creation of Israel. The Series includes 1) Plow and Grain 2) "Shalom" in Hebrew 3) Star of David 4) Menorah 5) Solomon's Temple 6) Palm Tree 7) Lyre 8) Defense Forces 9) Pomegranate 10) New Growth. Photos exists of numbers 1 through 4, so we know they were made before the glassworks closed. The backs say "Handcrafted by Big Pine Key Glassworks" and have a triangle.

To the right is a figural bottle in the shape of a potbelly stove. It is five inches tall. The bottom is marked "Ci" for Lester Cunningham along with 1972 and a small triangle. Other figural bottles include a tall boot and an insulator.

For more information on Big Pine Key Glass Works see,

Lloyd Reichel's book entitled "Modern Carnival Glass Collectors Book II" pages 69 & 70 and 75 & 76.

Encore Book 2 pages 62 and 103.