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    

Pair Vintage Cambridge Glass Everglade Ruby Red Candleholders 2-liteHeisey By Dalzell Glass Cobalt Blue Horse Flying Mare 1993Heisey Glass By Dalzell Viking Flying Mare Lavender Ice Color. #365 Of 450Cambridge Dealer Prism Light Emerald GreenCambridge Dealer Prism2 Vintage Westmoreland Panel Grape Milk Glass Wall Pocket Vases 6"Viking Art Glass Bluenique Epic Kellogg Rooster LqqkEstate Buy Vintage Heisey Clear Glass Donkey Mule Hallmark Mid-century Group Of 6 Imperial Glass Insulators 1911-1971 Anniversary Telephone PioneersFostoria Flower Box And Frog Cover In PinkSet Of 4 Multi Color Cut Crystal Stemware Wine Champagne Flutes Glasses GobletsFarber Bros. Krome Kraft Cambridge Glass Art Deco Ebony Cordial Glasses 4-1932Decanter In American-clear By Fostoria 9" TallCentral Glass Morgan Fairy Tinkerbell Purple Stem Wine ChampagneWestmoreland Glass Rabbit Covered DishStunning Vintage Fostoria Heirloom Bittersweet Orange Large Splash-stretch Vase!9 Fostoria Navarre Juice Glasses, 4 5/8"Set Of 6 Vintage Cambridge Fostoria Etched Glass, Rose Point Goblets, 1940'sHeisey/imperial Milk Glass ScottyVintage Cambridge Glass Rose Point Candle Holders Candlestick Etched Elegant Old3 Pieces Fostoria Jenny Lind Tray / Powder Jar / Trinket Box Pink Milk GlassVintage Hand Blown Cherry Glass Paperweight - Viking?Vintage Ashley By Viking Glass Lime Green Pedestal Cake Stand 11 1/2" Mint W BoxVintage Fostoria Romance Etched Floral Ice Bucket Bowl Rare 5" Tall 1930's Cambridge Glass Green Statuesque Nude Lady Cordial 2Vintage Cambridge Glass Wildflower Clear Ball Pitcher 80 Oz. 1940's- 1950'sRare Vintage Viking Glass Amberina Yesteryear Pineapple Covered Jar Lid Imperial Candlewick - 4 Pc. - Divided Mayo Bowl, Underplate & 2 Ladles - EtchedHeisey By Dalzell Cobalt Blue Show Horse Hca 1995 DVtg Elegant Heisey Signed Pink Depression Glass Covered Cigarette Holder UniqueCambridge Keyhole Candle Holders In Ruby Red Or Carmen ColorRare Heisey Glass Flamingo Pink Covered Cigarette Holder Seahorse Handles MintWestmoreland Milk Glass Grape Paneled Punch Bowl Ice-lip Ladle Red Hooks 14 PcsVintage Viking Glass Diamond Point Smoke Color Footed Fairy Lamp1930's Cambridge Glass Amber Statuesque Nude Lady Cordial Fostoria American Clear Punch Bowl With 12 CupsSet Of 9 Rose Point 4.75 Stem Sherbet/cocktail Glassware Cambridge GlassVintage Westmoreland Ruby Red Glass Chicken Hen On Nest Covered Dish Butter DishHeisey Glass Tangelo Orange Jack O Lantern Oscar Sparky Horse LqqkWestmoreland Ruby Flashed Wedding Bowl/lid ExcellentCambridge Glass Mount Mt. Vernon Emerald Green 6" VaseVintage Pink Etched Depression Glass Basket Duncan & Miller Or Westmoreland ArtFostoria Coin Glass Green6 Libbey Rock Sharpe Crystal Floral Cut 4 Oz Rhine Wine Goblets Diamond Cut StemHca Heisey Lavender Ice Art Glass Pouty Pigeon #282/450 Dalzell Viking12 Vintage Etched-glass Cut Crystal Stemmed Wine/water Glasses, Matching PatternFostoria American Cake Stand And Pair Of CandlesticksCambridge Caprice Moonlight Blue Glass 9 3/8" Large Dinner Plate Vintage Tiffin Crystal Cranberry Red & White Large Basket Vintage Fostoria Azure (blue) Water/wine Goblet/glasses – Lot Of 4 (710)Morgantown Golf Ball Cobalt Blue Ritz Water Goblet Glass Lot Of 4 Glasses Utility Glass Works Cambodia Optic Amethyst Wines Stems ( Set Of 9 )Fostoria Canary Vaseline No. 2245 Pr. CandlesticksStunning Vintage Fostoria Heirloom Bittersweet Orange Large Splash-pinched Bowl!Halina's Doll Fashion Chicago ~ Barbie "roaring 20's ~ Blue FringeFostoria American Salad Plates Set Of 8Vintage 19" Swung Vase Viking Tall Stretch Dark Brown Glass With StickerFostoria Coin Glass Purple Candle Holders Pair Imperial Candlewick Crescent Salad PlateRare Heisey Orchid Oval Tall Footed Compote