As I've been building the rental inventory, I've noticed some patterns about where these objects come from.
Porcelain lustreware from Japan, glass from Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, pottery from California, porcelain from France. A little digging into it brings up the stories of why. Natural resources, a certain kind of kaolin clay found in a region to make hard-paste porcelain. And the industry grew to not just one company, but a whole region, generations of people, that specialize in making it. It's still like that in Limoges, France, where these cake stands were made.
Ohio was like that until the 1950s. It was producing more decorative glass than anywhere else. Hazel-Atlas was the largest glass manufacturer in the world, and then it closed. When I think about what went on in old Rust Belt factories I usually imagine big, industrial metal things--steel beams, tractors, ball bearings. But they also made glass for people's homes--vases, candy dishes, cake stands. The same kind of serious folks made it though, overall-wearing, calloused-hand, sturdy folks who took serious pictures.
There's one glass company left in Ohio, Mosser Glass in Cambridge. They're a family business and 30 people still use the same method to make glassware there today. Thomas Mosser worked at Cambridge Glass before it closed and he started the company by buying the glass molds from shuttered factories. He got lucky with a set of cake stand molds that were copied from molds from 1870. All the stands like these come from this set of glass molds, and people still like them.