Designer: Ruth Van Tellingen Bendel (?-1986)
What: Ceramic cookie jar, salt & pepper shakers and wall plaques.
When: 1947 – 1963
Where: USA – Antioch, Illinois,
The Rest of the Story: Ruth Van Tellingen (Bendel after her marriage), was a children’s book illustrator. In the 1940s she was asked to design several products for the Regal China Co. / Royal China and Novelty Co. One of those lines became “Snuggle-Hugs” Salt & Pepper shakers featuring whimsical animals and insects. They were designed to fit together in a hugging position (known today as “Huggers”) which is also a clever design feature because both can be easily picked up and the salt and pepper dispensed at the same time using one hand.
Identification/dating tips – The earliest designs are impressed “Van Tellingen, Patent Pending.” After mid July 1951 they are marked with the name and patent number and in 1958 “Bendel” was added to the mark. The factory had a fire in 1963 which destroyed the molds and ended production.
Most valuable: “Peek-a-Boo” Cookie Jar, rare size or color Salt & Pepper shakers
Tip: Snuggle-Hugs were produced in table size (about 4″h) and range size (6 – 7″ h) which is generally (but not always) rarer and more valuable.