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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Find treaures at Antiques & Collectibles Fair in Old Town Clovis
yourcentralvalley.com, March 26th

On March 29th more than 90 dealers will fill the streets of Old Town Clovis. You will find all sorts of treasures: antique furniture, jewelry, vintage hats, tools, fishing rods, vintage clothing, collectibles of all types and the rare and unusual...Read more

Storage Wars Stars to be Featured in Vintage Show at Dallas Market Hall, April ...
Freestonecountytimesonline, March 25th

It's all indoors and will house more than 300 booths, overflowing with an impressive array of vintage merchandise. Collectors of all types can expect to peruse through historical artifacts, architectural remnants, antique furniture, estate jewelry...Read more

Appraisal Day is Sunday, March 29
Crow River Media, March 25th

Appraiser Lynn Buck shared information about a cameo at last year's Antique Appraisal Day. She will join Kathy Krone in conducting ... “I love primitives and glassware — that end of collectibles and antiques.” Krone described primitives as items from...Read more

Home, sweet home:38th annual Williams Antiques Show returns to traditional ...
Appeal-Democrat, March 25th

"This has always been a good show," said Gillespie, who became interested in antique glassware after inheriting her first piece — a footed carnival glass dish — from a great-grandmother. The antique show is also a fundraiser for the Williams Catholic...Read more

Long-time fixture in local antiques to close doors for final time March 31
Hudson Hub-Times, March 24th

Dealers are offering 30 to 50 percent off on items which include vintage furniture, collectible glassware, toys coins and models. ... "All are saddened by the future closure and many dealers will be adding their unique collections to other local...Read more

Senior Center's Vintage Marketplace opens April 24-25
Chicago Tribune, March 18th

Carefully pricing hundreds of pieces of glassware is just the first step in putting together the North Shore Senior Center's Vintage Marketplace, which will open to shoppers late next month. After collecting numerous donations, volunteers spent a...Read more

Vintage glass sale coming up at Pontchartrain Center
NOLA.com (blog), March 9th

Sponsored by the Crescent City Depression Glass Society, the 39th Annual Vintage Glass and Collectibles Sale will benefit Angels' Place, a nonprofit organization that provides respite and end-of-life services to terminally ill children and their...Read more

Vintage glassware on display, sale
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