Don Draper’s Whiskey Tumbler
Serve nostalgia neat or on the rocks with Don Draper’s distinct silver rimmed Whiskey glasses
With its near-obsessive attention to authentic detail Mad Men became one of the most talked-about and explored shows ever. Gorgeously stylised and visually distinctive with its vibrant mid-century aesthetic. The Mad Men creative team exhaustively researched this time period and amassed vast amounts of knowledge to ensure that the series’ set design, costume design and props were historically accurate. The shows’ creator Mathew Weiner collaborated with production designer Dan Bishop and set decorators Claudette Didul, Amy Wells and Rena DeAngelo to develop the rich and textured visual tone.
Food and drink feature prominently, with alcohol being consumed in vast quantities over the seven series, and whiskey was a major drink of choice for many of the characters. We fondly remember Don Draper’s office - and its portable bar within reach of his desk – with its bottles of gin, vodka and whiskey. The show depicted a world of whiskey-stocked offices with a constant daily consumption during work, boozy lunches and even boozier dinners.
The glasses we frequently see Mad Men characters drink from are the Roly-Poly silver-rimmed tumblers designed by Dorothy Thorpe in the 1930s. There are now also known as Madison Avenue Whiskey Glasses. Their distinctive silver band around the rim, is a considered reference to the silver screen and the mid-century style. These round, heavy, crystal glasses have slightly indented bases, which makes it hard to tip them over. They lend an executive style and movie star, sexy glamour to whiskey drinking, whether to savour alone at the end of a long day, or with a convivial gathering of friends.
Dorothy Thorpe (1901-1989) had no formal design training and was self-taught. From her early struggling years, she gained recognition for her exquisitely designed pieces when her brother took some to MGM Studios where he worked. Clark Gable was captivated and ordered several dozen pieces and her designs, selling first in a small Hollywood gift shop and later in large outlets like Neiman Marcus, went on to be snapped up by the rich and famous.
Now, almost one hundred years later, her work has gained a new appreciation. When Don Draper sipped whiskey out of Dorothy Thorpe Roly Poly silver band tumblers they were re-positioned as classic, timeless icons of mid-century design. They are made from mouth-blown, lead-free crystal and the company that purchased the Dorothy C. Thorpe of California Company from her in 1953 after her husband’s death produced these and other Dorothy Thorpe pieces with the same attention to detail and quality as when she owned the studio herself.
You can find originals on eBay as well as many different varieties of Dorothy Thorpe’s glassware designs. So we can thank Don Draper, Roger Sterling and, let’s face it, most of the Mad Men characters for reintroducing these stunning whiskey glasses to the world.
Find the amazing furniture, lighting and décor seen on the set of Mad Men.
Please note that guest comments need to be approved before they appear.