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    

Heisey Cordial Set Old Colony Yellow 6 Glasses Plus 1 Decanter With StopperVintage Cambridge Crown Tuscan Glass Art Deco Nude Candlestick8 Fostoria American Block Cube Glass Bone DishesCambridge Glass Imperial Hunt Scene Etched DecanterVintage Cambridge Statuesque Nude Stem Cocktail Wine Glass Set Of 6 #3011 Pink2 X Fostoria American Conefoot Candlesticks Nr 284 Or Nr 283Cambridge Glass Company Charlston Crown Tuscan Flying Lady Bowl And CandlesticksCambridge Glass Nude Stem Wine Glass Set Of 6 StunningCambridge Etched Glass Apple Blossom Ball Jug Pitcher Yellow "gold Krystal"l@@k"Elegant Emerald Green Fostoria Crystal Coin Glass 7 Oz Cruet #1372/531 StopperCambridge Rosepoint Glass Rose Point Ball Shaped Salt & Pepper Shaker Set NrVintage Tiffin Lamp Jesus On The Cross Religious Lamp 6 Fostoria Glass Topaz Yellow June Etched 5.5" Small Wine Glasses 5 Cambridge Farber Cobalt Blue Art Deco Decanter 3400 Cordial Glass Barware SetVintage Farber Bros Cambridge 1930s Ny Pitcher With 6 Cordial GlassesRare Fostoria American Glass Square Dresser Tray Viking Glass Co Orange Amberina Owl Fairy Lamp Votive Candle HolderRare Cambridge Heatherbloom Diane Pattern Pedestal Ashtray AlexandriteForstoria American 10" Square Pedestal Cake Plate W/rum Well10pcs Etched Fostoria Cambridge Elegant Glass Optic Rib Tumblers 5 1/8" TallDeep Purple Fostoria Decanter Great Decor!antique!Deep Purple Fostoria Candy Box Great Decor!antique!Set Of 4 Morgantown Chanticleer Rooster Stem Cocktail GlassesImperial Candlewick "red" Heart Candy Bowl 5 1/2" X 6 3/8"Cambridge Rose Point Rosepoint Pair Of #3121 5 Oz Café Parfaits Six Vintage Imperial Glass Shoji Gold Trellis Mid Century Modern Rocks GlassesArt Deco 1924 Farber Bros. Figural Nude Chrome Compote W/ Amethyst Glass1892 Us Coin Glass Reproduction Covered Sugar Jar 6 14/16" TallFarber Bros Cambridge Glass Amber And Green Footed Cordial Set Of 6 With Tray Beautiful Fostoria American Cake StandSet Of 6 Tiffin Minton Gold Encrusted Water Goblets 7.5" Optic #15042 Fostoria Romance Etching #341 Bows Flowers 11" Rectangular Serving BowlDepression Watermelon Pink Vaseline Green Glasses Set Of 6 Optic Tiffin LouieWestmoreland 1950's Milk Glass Hp Roses And Bows Tumbler Glass & Soap Dish SetRare Stone Thomas Imperial Glass Candlewick Ashtray Tea Room Wheeling WvVintage Atterbury Milk Glass Lion Covered Candy Oval Dish - Brown (marble Look)5 Cambridge Nude Ebony Cocktail/liquor 3 Ounce Stems - L@@k!Cambridge Rose Point 1320 14-oz Decanter With Stopper - RarePair Of Vintage Heisey Crystal Figural Goose Stem Sherry Glasses"perfect" Pair 1930s Heisey Clear Glass #1509 Queen Ann 1 - Light Candle HoldersVintage Fostoria American Clear Footed Lid Glass Small Wedding Bowl Vintage Heisey Crystal Figural Goose Stem Sherry GlassFostoria 6007 Wisteria Water Goblet Glass Neodymium Palm Optic(f) Nmgcs - Milk Glass Collector's Society - Brown Turtle Covered Dish - Ks 96Vintage Rare Vaseline Glass Hen/chick On Egg Pile Nest Wg UsaFostoria Heirloom Yellow Topaz Opalescent Dish BowlSet Of 6 Unusual Candlewick Juice GlassesMichael Weems 4 Water/wine Glasses Elise Amber Signed Crystal Stemware GobletsCambridge Clear Nude Compote: Large Central Glass Works Deco Green "morgan" CompoteFostoria American Glass Pedestal 10" Square Cake Salver Plate Stand W/ Rum WellCambridge Rose Point 3500-74 4-inch Ram's Head Candlesticks - RareVintage Yesteryear Viking Glass Amethyst 8" Pineapple Candy Jar & Lid Free Ship!Cambridge Crown Tuscan Translucent Pink Swan Farber Brothers Cordial GlassesDeep Purple Fostoria Coin Glass Urn W/ Lid Antique Great Decor!!13" TallVintage Fostoria Navarre Blue Magnum 7 1/4" Balloon Wine Glass Quite RareCambridge Caprice Moonlight Blue Pair 3-light Tiered Candle SticksTiffin's (twilight) Flower Bowl Neodymium ~purple ~blue ~pink ~pulled PetalsLarge Vintage Fostoria Ruby Red Coin Glass Pedestal Fruit Bowl Compote