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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Antique, décor store opens on Central Avenue
The Independent, August 31st

The range of items available will be competitive in terms of stock and price with any store carrying similar items, Duley said. “I think that everyone will be able to find something in their price range, whether it is new or vintage, that they are...Read more

Italian dinner raises awareness and funds
Kansas City Star (blog), August 31st

A measuring tape determined we could seat up to 20 people in my living and dining rooms after moving a little furniture. We had all of the china, silverware and tablecloths we needed and George would provide glassware. ... Occupying a recently...Read more

Drat It: A perfect spot for more really cool old stuff
Mansfield News Journal, August 31st

My parents started hauling me to antique shops, auctions and flea markets when I was a very small child, so I've been a collector most of my life. ... I've always had pretty glassware to display on the mantel and interesting lamps to light my desk. But...Read more

Cuero antique shops have hidden treasure
Victoria Advocate, August 30th

The store is filled from wall to wall; each wall is lined with shelves and decorated with art along with antique glassware and old, wooden furniture. At the center sits a jewelry ... Vintage and aged items often catch her eye. During a visit with her...Read more

Pittsville Community Library to host antique appraisal event
Marshfield News-Herald, August 30th

Items accepted for appraisal include: fine art, furniture, ceramics, glassware, books, metalware, advertising, toys, clocks, vintage photographs and costume jewelry. Excluded items include: Knives, traps, Nazi memorabilia, coins and paper money, Beanie ...Read more

Retro? Vintage? MCM? What's in a name? Part I
Greensburg Daily News, August 29th

In the antique malls of 2014 you will still find ample antiquity (objects that are 100 years old or older) but, on an ever increasing scale, you will also find a large percentage of the merchandise being described as retro, vintage and MCM. Not certain...Read more

Decor books to nudge you out of the box, off the wall
San Francisco Chronicle, August 29th

Lake provides styling tips such as using vintage glassware for tea lights in the garden and adorning dining tables with mossy terra-cotta pots stuffed with fragrant herbs. Her do-it-yourself projects range from crafting an easy bunting of hankies 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