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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Auction donations bring funding to Mt. Pleasant centerTribune-Review, May 5th
Glassware seemed to be the big draw at the event, with several different pieces of lead crystal going for a nice sum, according to Laura. Other items, such ... An antique straight razor sharpener prompted one of the biggest bids of the morning. The...Read more
Mastering the Old Fashioned, One of the World's Finest CocktailsEater, May 5th
Back at Old Town, Fitz's Old Fashioned quickly melts into oblivion, the muddled cherries now a quagmire at the bottom of the glass. I gather my belongings and head over to a place nearby that couldn't be more different than the Old Town. Dear Irving is...Read more
30 of the world's best hotel barsCNN, May 4th
With its Baccarat chandeliers, antique fireplace, damask walls and Chesterfield armchairs, this Victorian-themed bar is one undoubtedly classy establishment. Top shelf bottles are offered alongside champagne cocktails and staples like the sherry cobbler...Read more
Privet House features eclectic mix of vintage itemsTorrington Register Citizen, May 4th
There is also Hotel Silver, European and Japanese table linens, towels from Turkey, and Belgian glassware. Stacks of vintage and out-of-print books that can be found in the second-floor of the almost 3,000-square-foot foot shop add more whimsy to a...Read more
The Biggs Museum in Dover, telling Delaware's history through its craftspeopleNewsworks.org, May 4th
Antique furniture, glassware, silver and art are just some of the objects you will find on a visit. All these items have one thing in common; they were made by Delawareans, or as is the case with the portraits on display, were painted of a Delawarean...Read more
Auction watch: Gruber works, collections among sale starsTribune-Review, May 3rd
This edition of the ongoing series features more Castleton china, glassware, samplers, furniture, quilts, walking sticks, books, Polaroid cameras, furniture, art, antique clothing and toys, stoneware and kitchen utensils, miniature porcelain figurines...Read more
Business owner in Galesburg recalls moment of quakeWZZM, May 3rd
One place where the rumbling caused a lot of confusion was Grant's Antique Mall in the center of town. Owner Sue Graham says no one was exactly sure what was happening during the few seconds of shaking. "Everybody thought maybe it was a derailment ...Read more
Spoons souvenir of sad, sensational storyMid Columbia Tri City Herald, May 1st
There are hundreds of patterns of Depression glass and they were made by many companies. As the name implies, this type of glassware was popular in American homes during the 1930s. Most patterns were affordable and some glass was even given away ...Read more