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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Pattern Glass School
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Glassware
Source: Google News
Visits by Royal appointment: Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Frogmore HouseExpress.co.uk, August 2nd
If you've ever wondered how long it takes to set a table for a banquet – the Queen oversees everything from the menu to the linen, glassware and porcelain – you can find out in this year's special exhibition, A Royal Welcome. There's also the chance to...Read more
Auction firm steps up to help families deal with estate salesBeckley Register-Herald, August 2nd
“The family had everything from antique kitchen cabinets to all kinds of really neat dinnerware. “Dad found some info on some of the pieces of dinnerware and some of them are $40 a plate and $275 per platter. There's a whole table of that type of...Read more
Steve Cahalan: New owner takes over at Viking InnLa Crosse Tribune, August 1st
Some other merchandise includes musical instruments, gas station and beer memorabilia, stoneware, vintage advertising, comic books, and Star Wars collectibles. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The store's ... The shop opened...Read more
BRIEFLY: Aug. 1-4Wicked Local Plymouth, August 1st
In addition there are dishes and glassware, small electronic items and lots of gift-giving items (many brand new). Everything in the shop is 50 percent off. The thrift shop is run by volunteers from St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, which is located on...Read more
Blakeley Antique Collector Selling A Lifetime of TreasuresBelleplaineherald, July 30th
Thousands of items will be on the selling block, ranging from some of the Albrecht family's circus memorabilia to the original old Blakeley Depot sign, as well as antique pottery, glassware, toys, advertising signs and posters, military items, books...Read more
FRESH MEAT | FROM OUR COMMUNITY BLOGSDestructoid (blog), July 30th
Many of the nicer antique shops are crammed full of glassware, an area that I find pretty boring. Seriously, some stores and stalls are absolutely packed with bowls and glasses and whatnot, with strict signs ordering no horseplay or young children in...Read more
For what it's worth, HAHS plans antique appraisal fair Aug. 5La Crosse Tribune, July 23rd
drawings, prints and statuary; furniture; ceramics such as figural pottery, vases, dishes, kitchenware and stoneware; glassware including lighting, marbles and souvenir items; vintage photographs; two-dimensional and three dimensional advertising...Read more
Variety of wares found at Antique Flea MarketCoshocton Tribune, July 11th
Vintage jewelry, tools, antique furniture, glassware and advertising items are just some of the unique finds at the market. The event is sponsored by the Coshocton Agricultural Society, with proceeds going to the organization for various projects...Read more