Antique and vintage glassware encompasses countless types of decorative-yet-functional containers, bowls, and platters produced from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. Examples include pressed glass, cut glass, carnival glass, Depression glass, elegant glass, and milk glass.

Of these techniques, cut glass is the oldest, going back some 2,000 years, almost to the introduction in the West of glassblowing itself. Then as now, glass was cut by holding a cooled piece up to a grinding wheel to carve grooves in its side. The effect could be used to produce decorations and designs, as well as patterns. Another type of cut glass could also be called carved glass. In the earliest surviving example of this technique, a piece of 1st-century cameo glass known as the Portland Vase, a top layer of white glass has been carved away to reveal the background of dark blue glass behind it.

More recently, during the so-called "American Brilliant" period from the late 19th century until the early part of the 20th, intricately cut pieces of leaded crystal on a dining table was a key signifier of social status and class. But the American Brilliant era was brief, its optical opulence interrupted by World War I and dealt a final blow during the Depression, when less-expensive pressed glass was embraced by budget-conscious consumers.

In the United States, the production of pressed glass proliferated in the mid-1800s, when the Early American Pattern Glass (or EAPG) industry matured. Manufacturers such as New England Glass Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Cambridge Glass Company of Cambridge, Ohio, were leaders, as was McKee of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These companies and many others like them, often produced the same patterns (albeit with very minor differences to avoid lawsuits), with names like Bellflower and Wildflower, Westward-Ho, and Lion, and Thousand Eye and Three Face. The numerous firms that came out of Ohio were particularly strong, including Heisey, Fostoria, and Jennette.

During the 1920s, many pressed-glass manufacturers struggled as cut glass from France (Baccarat) and Ireland (Waterford) became relatively cheap. But the stock-market crash of 1929 gave a boost to even less-expensive forms of pressed glass, known, fittingly, as Depression glass. Now it was Anchor-Hocking’s turn to shine. Also from Ohio, the firm manufactured at an impressive rate, producing 90 pieces of glassware a minute, allowing it to practically give away Circle, Mayfair, Spiral, and other popular glassware patterns for pennies each.

Concurrently, companies such as Fenton and Northwood were cranking out a sort of poor-man’s Tiffany Favrile known as carnival glass, since it was so often given away as prizes at carnivals. Fenton made roughly 150 patterns of carnival, with descriptive names like Waterlily and Cattails, Peacock Tail, Thistle, and Wreath of Roses. Because the competition was so fierce, companies resorted to all sorts of visual gimmicks to distinguish themselves. One by-product of this race to the bottom was Vaseline or uranium glass, which glowed green when exposed to UV light thanks to its sprayed coating of uranium salt on its surface.

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Recent News: Glassware

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Antiques in Square to be Sunday at Clear Lake
Mason City Globe Gazette, August 28th

There will be multiple dealers of antiques, including glassware, toys, kitchen collectibles, pottery, coins, furniture, primitives and more. The Clear Lake Dance Team will offer cinnamon rolls, sandwiches and beverages. There will be additional food...Read more

Antiques shop liquidation expected to draw crowd
SFGate, August 28th

The entire store full of Victorian, antique and collectible furniture, artwork, glassware and china, including flow blue, Staffordshire, Limoges, Wedgewood and crystal glass, will be auctioned off, with many of the items being sold with no reserve...Read more

Austin-area home sparkles with bright colors and decor, August 27th

An antique piece from an Italian church is a base for angel wings by Jan Barboglio; A reliquary from the 17th century holds a mirror in the home of interior designer Cinda; Colorful glassware shimmers under lights in a glass-front cabinet in the home...Read more

cost to homes, businesses: $300 million
SFGate, August 27th

Weis said the damage included crushed barrels and thousands of gallons of lost 2013 vintage wine, along with hoses, pumps, barrel lifts, washers, valve shutoffs, tank fixtures, portable cooling units, forklifts and "whatever you can think of that would...Read more

Cape Cod Glass Show And Sale To Be Held September 6, 7, August 27th

Nationally prominent glass dealers from the East Coast and Midwest will show antique and contemporary collectible American and European glassware from the 18th to the 21st centuries. This annual show draws collectors from every corner of the country...Read more

Brimfield Antique Show getting ready for September run
The Republican -, August 26th

The shows – which also are held in May and July – bring thousands of antique dealers and visitors to the small town for six days at a time, transforming fields along Route 20 into a shopper's paradise. Celebrities also have ... something for everyone...Read more

A buyer's paradise at Outdoor Antique Show
Gettysburg Times, August 25th

and historical souvenirs will find a buyer's paradise in Lincoln Square during the Gettysburg Outdoor Antique Show, on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The show will include about 125 vendors, selling everything from antique furniture to...Read more

Warren County Antiques Show and Vintage Marketplace is Aug. 16-17 in ...
The Warren Reporter, August 11th

“You'll find furniture, jewelry, antique toys, tools, posters, quilts, porcelain, glassware, primitives… with antiques, collectibles and vintage items of all kinds,” said Melva Sterlacci, one of the show organizers. From furniture to coins, artwork to...Read more