In the late 1920s, new technology allowed manufacturers to produce appealing glassware with little expense and with no handwork. In fact, this glassware, known as Depression glass, was so cheap and easy-to-make that in the '30s it was given away as a promotional item with almost any purchase, from oatmeal to gasoline. This was fortunate timing, as most Americans were suffering in the Depression and unable to afford fine glassware or real china dinnerware.

However, despite the blow to the economy, a few glass companies continued producing high-quality glassware, usually made with some handwork by skilled craftspeople. This glassware, known as elegant glass, was still expensive, sold in high-end stores, and treasured by its owners.

Like vintage Depression glassware, most elegant glass featured intricate, pretty designs on its surfaces, usually of flowers or tree branches. The distinction between the two is in how they were made. Patterns on elegant glass were usually etched, meaning the design was recessed. The glass was coated with wax, and a design was drawn into the wax. Then the glass got an acid treatment, which ate away the surface of the glass not covered in wax. Depression glass, however, was mass-produced using molds, which were etched with acid themselves. This means the pattern was raised rather than inset, what's known as "mold etched."

Vintage elegant glass, also called "good glass," is often hand-pressed, hand-molded, or hand-blown, and frequently features hand-finished bases. Elegant glass is made of high-quality glass, has fewer visible seams, and lacks the little bobbles and wrinkles found in pieces of Depression glass. Extra steps made the difference. For example, after a piece was shaped, it was inserted back into a "glory hole" for fire polishing, which gave it a high gloss. Most elegant glass was clear, a.k.a. crystal, but some of it was pastel colored and translucent.

Top elegant-glass companies of the era included the Cambridge Class Company, A.H. Heisey & Company, Fostoria Glass Company, and Imperial Glass Corporation. In 1936, Imperial created its most successful elegant-glass line, Candlewick, which was inspired by a Colonial needlework technique known as candlewicking. The design featured little clear glass beads around the top of each crystal piece.

While Candlewick was a hugely popular dinnerware pattern, it faced serious competition from Cambridge's Rosepoint and Fostoria's American line. That geometric pattern, resembling a series of protruding cubes, was first produced in 1915 and had one of the longest runs in U.S. glassmaking history.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1940s Morgantown Chanticleer Rooster Cocktail Shaker & 5 Colored GlassesElegant Fostoria Glass American Pattern Swung VaseAmerican Fostoria--kidney Shaped DishRare Blue Cambridge Glass Cleo Pattern Vase No Reserve Must See!!Vintage Fostoria American Square Pedestal Cake Plate With Rum WellCambridge Art Deco Nude Figural Tall Comport Or Compote, Amethyst Cupped TopCambridge Golden Amber Glass Bashful Charlotte 8.75" Draped Nude Flower FrogVintage L G Wright 1940's Epergne. 17" Pressed Glass Base & 4 Flutes- Perfect!Imperial Candlewick Compartment Condiment Dish With LidViking Glass Blue Swung Vase 40" LargeHeisey Glass Nail Vases #44911 Tiffin Franciscan Gold Encrusted Rambler Rose Glasses Water Wine GobletsVintage Fostoria American Pedestal Cake Salver/stand Square Rum WellImperial Candlewick Square 2 Part Relish 7 1/2"7 American Fostoria 9 1/2" Dinner Plates-excellentCambridge Statuesque #3011 Nude Stem Moonlight 3-ounce CocktailFosteria Lead Crystal Round Pedestal Cake Plate 1972 Centennial Ii Or Diamond EcSeven Cambridge Chantilly Iced Tea Or Low Water Goblets #3600 - Excellent Cond.!Cambridge Rose Point Keyhole Candlestick W Bobeche Prisms, Hurricane Shade Lamp 6 Antique Gold Gilt Small Fruit Bowls 5 1/8" - Baccarat Moser Saint Louis?Westmoreland Glass Dresser Set/gold Leaf Hand Painted. Rare Old QuiltVtg Scotty Scottish Terrier Dog Slag Glass Paperweight Bookend Statue ImperialHeisey Animals And Figurines Mama Sow And PigletsCambridge Statuesque #3011 Nude Stem Pistachio 3-ounce CocktailVintage Imperial Candlewick 80 Oz Clear Water Pitcher With Ice Lip Rim 9" TallLarge Heisey Saturn Pattern VaseImperial Candlewick 10 In Cake Stand Etched Flowers Etching Engraved PlateVintage Westmoreland Milk Glass Pedestal Bisquit Jar/ Very Large - Beautiful!Fostoria American Crystal 9 1/8" Square Decanter Mint, With Square Stopper ExcTiffin/franciscan Company Byzantine-clear Wine Goblet/glass Set 10 Elegant 8.5"Vintage Sun Color Amethyst Purple Fostoria American Candy Dish With Lid 7" TallHeisey Empress Sahara Old Colony 10 1/2" Center Bowl Super Condition N/rSet Of 8 Cambridge Chantilly Glass Water Goblets 3600 Excellent ConditionFostoria Rare Orchid American Sugar And Creamer Individual SizeSet Of 6 Fostoria American Flat Ice Tea Tumblers Holds 10 OuncesHeisey Ipswich Footed Floral Bowl2 Pcs Heisey Greek Key No. 433 - Claret Wine - 5-1/4" - 4.5 Oz4 Vintage Imperial Glass Candlewick Water Goblets 4 Ball Stems 7-3/8"Duncan & Miller Blue Caribbean AshtrayCambridge Elegant Tally-ho Cobalt Blue 4- Lunch Plate 8" 20's-30's ExcellentTiffin Glass Kings' Crown Ruby Flashed PitcherVintage Elegant Heisey Orchid Etched Glass Crystal Dinner Table Bell DepressionVintage Etched Tiffin Franciscan Classic Green Stem-rareRare Antique Westmoreland Yellow Cased Star Rim Glass Console Set10 Fostoria 5 1/2" Colonial Dame Emerald Green Iced Tea Glasses Goblets Antique Etched Nude Morgantown Sunrise Medallion-green 7-7/8" Glass Water GobletFostoria American Glass Cranberry Mist / Pink Hat Tophat With Original LabelImperial Candlewick Glass 6 Tea Cups & 5.5" Saucers #400/353 Vintage Optic Etched 7" Watermelon Glasses4 Mint Fostoria Firelight Iridescent Optic Water Goblets 6 3/4"Rare Cambridge Glass Blue Caprice Deep Bowl Footed No Reserve Must See!!Two Vintage Farber Brothers Art Deco Chrome Compotes Purple Glass InsertVintage Limoges Tumble Up Bedside Water Carafe: Cobalt & FloralSet Of 7 Ruby Red Viking Glass 12 Oz Footed Stems Water Goblets GorgeousVintage Pressed Glass Fostoria American Domed Covered Round Butter Dish 6 High Ball Glass By Arte Italica Clear Glass W/ Gold Wreath & Swag DesignPerfect One-of-a-kind Green Cambridge "cleo" Four-section Relish Bowl!!Decorated!! Heisey Opal ** Bead Swag ** Cruet!!Vintage Fostoria American 6 Inch Plates Lot Of 16Fostoria Versailles Blue 5 1/4" Fruit Bowls(4)