Antique Early American Pattern Glass

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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Recent News: Early American Pattern Glass

Source: Google News

National Glass Block Leader Contributes to Green Building and Universal ...
PR Web (press release), October 22nd

UDLL installed DECORA® and IceScapes® pattern glass blocks in a beautiful aquarium-themed mural to add a touch of color to the master bathroom. The IceScapes® pattern created a bold border around the mural which used DECORA® pattern blocks ...Read more

Devoted mother Joan Moonan Pinnell enjoyed music, travel
Columbia Missourian, October 15th

Mrs. Pinnell also had a knack for collecting things. "She had a terrific collection of American pressed pattern glass, glass that was common up until the 1940s," Patrick Pinnell said. "The kids grew up with a more-than-standard appreciation of...Read more

Heinz History Center speaker featured at Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum series
Tribune-Review, October 11th

'The Glass: Shattering Notions' exhibit features a large piece of cullet from L.E. Smith, a press machine and mold, as well as automobile glass lens and pattern glass made there. In our Special Collections gallery, we feature one of the large...Read more

Iwen, Margaret M.
Madison.com, October 11th

Her interest in design and professional skills led her to pursue further interests in American antique pattern glass. These interests continued in her retirement as she researched and documented the organization and development of early glass companies...Read more

Aldora announces Charlotte area expansion plans
Glass on Web, October 3rd

Aldora Aluminum and Glass Products is a manufacturer and distributor of glass and aluminum fabricated products as well as textured and pattern glass. Operating out of its two manufacturing locations, Aldora in Miramar, FL and Aldora in Charleston, SC...Read more