The Lost Art of the Ashtray

The Lost Art of the Ashtray

With the coolness factor of smoking on the decline, we are also losing sight of the beautiful and funky ashtrays that graced so many boardroom, restaurant, and kitchen tables. They range from the crystaline to the creatively glazed, and were given as gifts, prizes, and treasured souvenirs. Some of the ones we’ve come across at the Argosy have been so beautiful that I can’t imagine anyone ever stubbing out a cigarette in them.

Don’t get me wrong – I think its a fabulous thing that smoking is no longer portrayed as the super cool pastime it once was. After all, it’s believed that smoking contributes to more than 30% of all cancers. So not cool.

That being said, with the coolness factor of smoking on the decline, we are also losing sight of the beautiful and funky ashtrays that graced so many boardroom, restaurant, and kitchen tables. They range from the crystaline to the creatively glazed, and were given as gifts, prizes, and treasured souvenirs. Some of the ones we’ve come across at the Argosy have been so beautiful that I can’t imagine anyone ever stubbing out a cigarette in them. Maybe what we need to do is think up some new uses for them: candy dishes, jewelry containers, or just as little pieces of art for the table.

Here are some of our favourite specimens of the lost art of the ashtray.

 

 

 

 

 

Front and back of a naughty ashtray from a speakeasy, circa 1920.

 

Simple but classy souvenir from the El Cameron Restaurant Bar, Mazatlan.

 

Faceted crystal catches and holds the light.

 

Super funky Italian hand-blown art glass – too beautiful to use for stubbing out a butt!

 

The green glaze on this pottery ashtray is just starting to craze a little but still looks verdant and fabulous.

 

Sometimes simple is just perfect.

 

Nothing else screams Mad Men like this amazing specimen of fifties ashtray glory.

 

Bowling trophy with a twist . . .

 

Tiny and perfect Czech crystal for the solo smoker.

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