Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG), also known as pressed glass, was produced from roughly 1850 to 1910. Cheaper to manufacture than blown glass, this glassware was made in cast-iron molds and marketed as an economic alternative to hand-cut crystal. Manufacturers made a wide range of patterns in order to compete with each other, usually patenting their work. Despite these steps, competitors routinely copied patterns by making minor changes to them and varying the names of the patterns just enough to keep from being sued.
One of the most famous of the early manufacturers was McKee, which established itself making windows and bottles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1836. By 1850, the company, which had numerous names in the 19th century, moved into flint glassware. By the 1860s, its patterns included Sprig, New Pressed Leaf, and Crystal. In 1889, the firm relocated to Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
Another famous Pittsburgh firm was Atterbury & Company, whose first patent came in 1874 for a pattern called Basket Weave. Others such as Lily (most collectors know it as Sunflower) followed, while one of Atterbury’s most famous designs, for a covered dish in the shape of a duck, was patented in 1887.
Ohio was also a center of EAPG. For example, Heisey was founded in 1895 in Newark, producing pressed glassware that was so precise it looked like cut glass. Early on, the company was known for its colorless pressed glass tableware. In the first two decades of the 20th century, designer Arthur J. Sanford produced much of tableware for Heisey, a lot of it in the Colonial style, although some of its most memorable pieces came later during the Depression.
Also from Ohio was Fostoria, which was established in 1887 and was known for its almost sculptural patterns such as Bedford, Frisco, and Heavy Drape. Some of its earliest products, though, were kerosene lamps.
By the 1890s, the industry was ready for consolidation. That occurred in earnest in 1891, when the United States Glass Company was created out of the merger of 18 glass factories. These included some of the biggest names in the business, including Adams & Company and Bryce Brothers of Pittsburgh; Columbia Glass and Bellaire Goblet of Findlay, Ohio; and Hobbs Glass and Central Glass of Wheeling, West Virginia. One company that did not join the group was Northwood, which, in 1902, moved into the factory that had been vacated by Hobbs.
After World War I, pattern-glass manufacturers struggled as the real thing from Waterford and Baccarat, among other European manufacturers, became relatively inexpensive and plentiful in the United States. But when the Great Depression hit, Americans once again turned to pattern glass made by companies that today are associated with Depression glass, including Anchor Hocking, Cambridge, Jeannette, Imperial, Hazel-Atlas, Indiana Glass Company, and Macbeth-Evans.
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100 years of Fostoria's American Pattern to be featuredLebanon Democrat, June 21st
Dealers at the show will have a wide variety of glassware to show and sell. In addition to Fostoria's American pattern, they will offer other elegant glass patterns, depression glassware, early American pattern glass and American-made pottery from...Read more
The Oglebay Institute's 61st Annual Antiques Show & SaleMaine Antique Digest, June 15th
Having been in the business for more than 30 years, the pair specializes in Heisey and pattern glass, as well as other Victorian items. Large pieces of furniture are the norm at this event, probably because the venue is so accommodating. Rick Fleshman...Read more
'Words Without Music,' by Philip GlassNew York Times, June 5th
It's part of a pattern: Glass came from a “struggling middle-class family”; was discouraged from pursuing a career in music; studied with the formidable music teacher Nadia Boulanger; worked day jobs, some grueling, until he was 41; but in his telling...Read more
Preservation Week includes Museum Crawl of Kimberly Crest, other placesRedlands Daily Facts, April 28th
Eight rooms in the museum divide the historical glass on display by specific groups: American Depression Glass, American Brilliant Cut Glass, Early American Pattern Glass, Elegant American Glassware, American Victorian Art Glass and Yesterday's Kitchen...Read more
In Defense of Pattern GlassMaine Antique Digest, April 9th
What a winter. Everyone seems to be talking about the weather. We've been lucky here, keeping mostly warm and never losing power—until the day after Hollie wrote this sentence. There's hardly an experience more jarring to young Americans than losing ...Read more
History on display at Fox Valley Antiques ShowChicago Daily Herald, March 15th
A new feature at the spring show was a one-hour presentation on pattern glass featuring Nancy Smith of Lamplight & Old Glass Ltd. from Grand Rapids, Michigan. There is a fall show in the same location on the third weekend of October. This weekend's...Read more
Glass club to host antique show in Bethel ParkPittsburgh Post Gazette, February 19th
Exhibitors John and Alice Ahlfeld, a couple from Manor, Lancaster County, are specialists in Early American pattern glass, the common everyday tableware of the 1850s to 1910. They started collecting glass nearly 50 years ago as a hobby and have been ...Read more
The Houston Glass Show & Sale and The Best Little Antique Show in Texas set ...Fortbendstar.com, February 11th
We have two buildings filled with top quality merchandise. The show features American made glassware and antiques from 1880-1970. This includes Pattern Glass, Carnival Glass, American Brilliant Cut Glass, Depression Glass, and American Art Pottery...Read more