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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It was my first day back in Metaponto in a decade, and I was anxious. As my train from Rome pulled into the station, after a six-hour descent past Vesuvius, the craggy Lucanian Dolomites, olive groves and pebbly streams, and finally the small hill...Read more

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Richmond.com, March 5th

The Rogue Gentlemen's drinks menu focuses on elegant pre-Prohibition-style cocktails featuring rum, gin, whiskey, scotch and bourbon served in vintage glassware. ........................ ADVERTISEMENT ...................... Posted: Thursday, March 5...Read more

Horologists clock time at the Antique & Collectible Show this weekend
OregonLive.com, March 5th

At the show, there will also be vintage toys, clothing, glassware and silverware as well as radios from the 1930's, turn-of-the-century furniture, movie and sports memorabilia and other collectibles for sale at more than 1,000 booths. Treasure hunters ...Read more

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SCVNEWS.com, March 4th

Concerned the ceramics you picked up at the local thrift show or the antique glassware passed down for generations in your family is radioactive? Bring it in to be tested during California State University, Northridge's Department of Physics and...Read more

Antique show will give vintage lovers in Saginaw Township the chance to buy ...
MLive.com, March 4th

More than 40 vendors will set up booths filled with antique furniture, military paraphernalia, jewelry, toys, glassware and more. Additionally, each attendee can receive verbal appraisals of two items during the event. Admission is $4 per person, with...Read more

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THV 11, March 1st

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Dealers specializing in glassware from the 1930s put on a show at the State Fairgrounds Feb. 27 through March 1. The Arkansas GlassHoppers Inc. presented their 29th annual "Depression Era & Vintage Glass Sale and Show."...Read more

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