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    

Rare Antique Vintage Heisey Glass Orchid Covered Long Butter DishVintage Cambridge Glass Rose Point Etched Ball Decanter W/glass Stopper 32 Oz.Antique Vintage Heisey Glass Orchid 64oz Pitcher Tankard Jug Pinched SpoutVintage Ruby Red Cranberry Fostoria Large Bowl American Pattern10 Vintage Oval Fostoria American Glass Almond Dish Individual Nut Bowls Cambridge Rare Art Deco Pink Keyhole Portia Etch Candleholders-----nrRose Lady Glass Flower FrogRare-tangerine Colored-empress Pattern-dolphin Footed-11" Heisey Bowl-nice!!!!!!Rare Duncan & Miller Radiance Pitcher In Jasmine Yellow OpalescentCandlewick Plates Cups Saucers Candlesticks Glassware Lot 43 Pieces Heisey Original Clear Glass Sow Circa 1940s Fostoria American Large Cone CandlesticksGorgeous Candlewick Punchbowl Set Underplate Cups & LadleFostoria Glass American Pattern Large Red Bowl 10.5" Perfect! Very Rare!Vintage Candlewick Dinner Plates 10 1/4 Original Label & Tag Rare Qty Of 4 RareFarber Brothers Chrome Cambridge 10 Ounce Tumbler Set Of 6Large Candlewick Flared Vase Hard To FindDuncan Miller Pink Opalescent Hobnail Vanity Set; 2 Colognes/stoppers & Puff BoxDuncan Miller First Love Etched Hurricane Lamp Shades Globes 7 5/8" Fostoria American Red Hex Footed Candy Dish/lid Sticker/mintFostoria American Ketchup BottleImperial Candlewick 8 Dinner 10 1/2" Plates & 8 Salad Plates 8" Lot Of 16 Antique Hand Blown Victorian Cranberry Ruffled Rim Lidded Glass BowlGreen Opalescent Satin Solid Glass Large Bulldog Doorstop - Westmoreland MouldPink Duncan & Miller #12 Art Deco Covered Powder JarTiffin Ruby Kings Crown 12" Ruffled Edge Bowl - 4.5" High ThumbprintVintage Marked Cambridge Rubina 9 1/2" Bowl Stunning ColorsSet Of 6 Six Heisey Ipswich Pattern 8" Square Plates In Crystal GlassSix! Vintage Cut To Clear Cut Glass Wine Glasses Assorted Colors!Fostoria American Sparkling Clear Glass Round Ruffled Edge Pedestal Cake Plate 2 Ruby Duncan & Miller Sandwich Water Goblets 1930sTiffin Black Glass Console Set Bowl & Candle Holders With Gold TrimFostoria American Lady Amethyst Tea Goblets Lot Of 4Imperial Shoji Trellis 8 Rock Glasses 22 K Gold Barware Mcm Smooth As Silk!Vintage Fostoria Ruby Red Coin Glass CollectionRuby Fostoria American 8" BowlEtchVintage Fostoria Crystal Navarre Blue Claret Wine Glass Goblet (seven Available)Heisey #3368 Albermarle All Alexandrite Tall 10 Oz. Goblet Diamond Optic "as Is"Beautiful Ruby Red Fostoria Coin Glass Water Pitcher ..........Viking Ruby Red Cut Georgian Water Goblet Set Of 8 10 Oz Rv #7Vintage Fostoria Iridescent Shell Pearl Drapery Lot 8 Iced Tea Glasses StemwareVintage Fostoria American 10Vintage Fostoria American Basket With Original Reed Handle - Euc Signed Faberge Glass ~ Cobalt Blue Cut To Clear ~ Mini Rose Bowl Candle VotiveCambridge Rosepoint Water GlassesFostoria June 6" High Sherbet Champage "c"3 Fostoria June 6" High Sherbet Champage "b"7" Tall, 11" Dia., Candlewick Punch Bowl Imperial Glass Old VintageRare Vintage Fostoria Colony Crystal Bottle Decanter Liquor Wine With 2 GlassesFostoria American (8) Straight Side 5 Oz Juice Tumblers~vintage~crystal ClearSix Villeroy And Boch Malindi Crystal Wine Stems Glasses Discontinued Set Of 6Cambridge Center Piece, Base, Candle Ring W/3 8 Posts Rosets, And Ring W/3 VasesTiffin Palais Versailles Seafood Icer & Liner 1954-1989Tiffin Elegant Vintage Etched Crystal Cherokee Rose 6 Liquor CocktailsSet Of 6 Htf Cambridge Daffodil Liquor Cocktail Goblets- Gorgeous Etch & Stem!Westmoreland Carnival Glass Iridescent Thumblina Miniature Mini Punch Bowl SetVintage Cambridge Caprice Moonlight Blue Candlesticks With Prisms StunningPair Cambridge Glass Rosepoint Gold Etch Keyhole Double Candelabra Candle HolderViking Bluenique Epic Taperglow Pair Candlesticks Mid Century Art Glass *rare*