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    

Signed Retro George Nelson Ball Clock Mid Century ModernRare Vintage American Fostoria ~canary~~vgcVintage Yellow Cambridge Glass Compote With Nude Lady Stem & Seashell Plate 8"Cambridge Rare Amber #3011/40 Flying Lady Nude Bowl - Great Conditions No ChipsVintage Westmoreland Ring & Petal Square Milk Glass Cake Plate Stand Perfect MkdBeautiful, Extremely Rare, Fostoria American Sugar Cuber Bowl With Tongs In LidVery Nice, Beautiful, Extremely Rare, Fostoria American Round Cosmetic Box & LidBeautiful 1920's Tiffin Glass Art Deco Fruit Basket Lamp ShadeFostoria American Small Cone Candlesticks.. Great ExamplesVintage Set Of 4 Tiffin June Night Floral Etch 12 Oz Footed Iced Tea Tumblers NrTiffin E-1 Brown Decorated Crystal Owl Lamp Working Near Mint7 Fostoria Etched Elegant Versailles Blue Azure Tall Water Goblet Glasses 7.5"4 Fostoria Blue Azure Fairfax Versailles Etched Tall Water Goblet Glasses 8.25"Cambridge Rare Crystal #1066 Candlelight Oval Cigarette Card Holder Fostoria Navarre Blue Etched Water Goblet Glasses 7 5/8" Tall Set Of 9 Signed4 Antique Topaz Yellow Etched Champagne Martini Sherbet Stemware Goblet Glasses Cambridge Imperial Hunt Scene Pink Footed Fruit BowlHeisey Candlesticks Tricorn Triplex 3 Light Moongleam Green Cuttings Mint Imperial Candlewick 3400 Pitcher With Ice LipFostoria 8.25 " Ruby Red Crystal American Deep Nappy Bowl Serving Glass SaladGreen Woodland Fox And Hounds Depression Glass Rectangular Dish Bowl With DogsFostoria American Crystal Large 3-3/4 Gallon 18-1/2" Punch Bowl & Pedestal Base!Rare Fostoria American Round Ruffled Edge Pedestal Cake Plate Stand 10 1/2 & LidFostoria 14 " Ruby Red Crystal American Torte Plate Mint Glass Inch MoundsvilleThree Etched Fostoria Navarre Crystal Wine/water Goblets 7 5/8" X 3 1/2"Imperial ? Purple Slag~agate Candy Bowl / Dish Mint Beautiful Colors & Swirls Farber Nude Compote-----chantilly EtchedFostoria 12 " Ruby Red Crystal American Flared Salad Bowl Footed Fruit Glass Fostoria 11 " Ruby Red Crystal American Salad Bowl Footed Serving Glass Fostoria Jamestown Water Goblets - Six Pink1950s Cambridge "statuesque" Nude 4 Cocktails Crown Tuscan W/gold Krystol~~30116 Cambridge Rosepoint 3121 Water GobletsFostoria 11 " Ruby Red Crystal Flared Centerpiece Bowl Or Low Punch Foot GlassColored And Cut Crystal Dessert Wine Glasses Set Of 6Pair Of Etched Fostoria Navarre 4 7/8" Glass Highball Tumblers Nice! #1Heisey Orchid Etched Glass Stemware 8 1/2" Glasses Tall Water Goblet SetVintage Fostoria Ruby Red Coin Dot 1887 Covered Footed Urn Candy DishViking Art Glass Black Flowerlite Silver Daffodil Overlay Tree Bark Feet Rare 8 Imperial Crystal Clear Candlewick Glass 7 1/4" Salad Or Dessert Plates!Pair Of Etched Fostoria Navarre 4 7/8" Highball Glasses Nice! #2Heisey Fish Candlestick HoldersFostoria American Clear 9 1/2"' Flared Swung VaseTiffin Franciscan Valencia Footed Optic Crystal Water/ Beer Glasses Gold RimSet Of 6 Boopie Candlewick Ice Tea 7" Tumblers Beaded Base6 - Imperial Candlewick 10 1/2 Inch Dinner Plates ~ Nice!!Vintage Imperial Glass Shoji Gold Barware Ice Bucket 1960's Hollywood RegencyGorham King Edward Footed Crystal Punch Bowl Cups Glasses - Set Of 6Tiffin 112 Squat Jug - Green W/ Pink Handle, FlamingoViking Glass Paperweight Brown Acorn Green Stem Epic LineViking Flowerlite Flower Vase With Crystal Frog Colbalt Blue 8" Duncan Miller "sandwich" Pattern Ruby PlateNew Martinsville Modernistic Pink Satin Deco Vase11 Fostoria Richmond Needle Etched Champagne/tall Sherbert Stems6 Signed Fostoria Navarre Crystal Wine And Water Goblets 7 5/8" TallHughes Cornflower Pink Bowl Goblet Tiffin #150112 Tiffin Melrose Crystal Gold Encrusted Rim Tall Water Goblets 10 Ozs. 8" #17358Elegant Fostoria Etched Navarre Footed Tea Stems; Set Of 4; No Damage!5 Signed Fostoria Navarre Crystal Liqueur Glasses 6.5" Large Pink "cut Flowers & Leaves" Water Pitcher. Fostoria. 7.75" Beautiful.30's Cambridge Elegant Depression Glass Stemmed Goblet Sherbert Gloria Yellow