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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Pattern Glass School
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Early American Pattern Glass
Source: Google News
Glass show, sale set for Valentine's weekendTampa Bay Newspapers, February 8th
Numerous types of glass will be for sale, including American-made art glass, carnival glass, depression glass and pattern glass. China, pottery, dinnerware and kitchenware spanning the decades from the 1880s into the 1960s also will be available...Read more
New art exhibitions at Brunnier Art MuseumAmes Tribune, January 16th
A program, “Pattern Glass Made in Iowa,” will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at the museum. The program will be presented by Lonnie and Lynn Sulzberger, collectors and members of the Quester group Pearls of Wisdom No. 1186, and members of the ...Read more
From Architecture to Art: Pittsburgh Corning's Glass Block Featured in ...PR Web (press release), January 11th
Pittsburgh Corning's Chiaro™ Pattern Glass Blocks are featured in the Carnegie Museum of Art's exhibit, 'Silver to Steel: The Modern Designs of Peter Muller-Munk', a retrospective of the preeminent industrial designer, Peter Muller-Munk. "The quality...Read more
New York Commits to Penn Station Transformation PlanArchDaily, January 8th
Governor Andrew Cuomo has laid out plans to transform New York's congested Pennsylvania Station and neighboring James A. Farley Post Office into a world-class transportation hub. Penn Station, North America's busiest train station, was originally ...Read more
Village Glass Works reflects on tradition, prepares for changeColumbia Daily Tribune, December 25th
She worked with the client to select the right type of opalescent — a sort of marbled pattern — glass to match the color and texture of the chicken's feathers. Next to her work, she has printed out several pictures of the chicken so she can double...Read more
Tarentum library to sponsor program about region's glassmakingTribune-Review, July 19th
“Some glass companies made just milk bottles or just medicine bottles or pattern glass or tableware.” Some of her favorite pieces were made by Tarentum Glass. “I have a wine goblet that is called Harvard, and the design on the goblet is a garland wheel...Read more
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
'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