Also known as uranium glass, Vaseline glass glows bright green under ultraviolet light, thanks to the uranium oxide added to the glass in its molten state. In natural or indoor light, Vaseline glass has a yellow or yellow-green tinge with an oily sheen, which is where its name comes from. Vaseline glass is not to be confused with Custard glass and Burmese glass, which also glow under ultraviolet light. While Vaseline pieces are transparent or translucent, these pieces are opaque.

Uranium oxide was first used as a coloring agent in the 1830s; Vaseline glass was produced commonly from the 1840s through World War I, though it was most popular from the 1880s onward. A variety of companies produced it, including Adams & Co., Steuben Glass, Cambridge Glass Co., and Baccarat, which released its first Vaseline glass piece in 1843 under the name “cristal dichroide.”

Different companies called its distinctive color different names, including citron, jasmine, golden green, mustard, Florentine, and canary. Pieces could also have different exterior color finishes, like satin, opalescent, iridescent, rubina verde, and yellow-green.

Vaseline glass was produced in a variety of styles over the years, from Victorian to Art Deco. During the Great Depression, some manufacturers added iron oxide (rust) to the Vaseline glass mixture in an effort to make the glass look greener in natural light. As a result, Vaseline-glass purists exclude this Depression-era glass from the Vaseline-glass family, since Vaseline glass in the traditional sense does not include iron oxide in its composition. Carnival glass was also produced in Vaseline glass varieties, which generally had a marigold, iridescent look.

Although making dinnerware out of uranium may seem like a bad idea today, companies produced an endless variety of Vaseline glass dinnerware pieces, including wine servers, water pitchers, mugs, and butter dishes, along with more decorative shapes like candlesticks and paperweights.

Around 1943, the U.S. government halted the production of Vaseline glass altogether, as uranium became a heavily regulated substance. In 1958, uranium oxide was deregulated, and the production of Vaseline glass resumed. This time, however, producers used depleted uranium in place of more radioactive natural uranium.

Practically since its invention, Vaseline glass has carried the burden of a bad reputation. Stories of Vaseline glassblowers dying young from lung cancer raised the question of r...

The U.S. Nuclear Regulation Commission studied the health risks of Vaseline glass in its 2001 report, “Systematic Radiological Assessment of Exemptions for Source and Byproduct Materials.” This report agreed largely with what collectors had been saying all along—radiation from the glass was equally (or, in some cases, even less) harmful than the background radiation levels we are exposed to every day.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Set (4) Cambridge Glass Statuesque Nude Lady Claret Glasses Topaz Vaseline GlassAntique Victorian Vaseline Silver Plated Reed & Barton Pickle Castor PerfectAntique C1840 Boston & Sandwich Vaseline Cut Glass Perfume BottleVaseline Glass Cambridge Lamp Base & Large 11.5" Mosser Horse/pony FigurineAntique Hand Cut Uranium Glass & Sterling Silver Perfume Smelling Salts Bottle3 Piece Vaseline Glass Lot- Gibson Cruet, Collie, FlowerGreen Neon Vaseline Uranium Art Glass Indian Chief Tomahawk Hatchet Axe Glows!3 Piece Vaseline Glass Lot: Owl Bell, Slipper, Fish Figurine3 Piece Christmas Themed Vaseline Glass Lot- Sleigh, Candle Holder, Bell3 Piece Vaseline Glass Lot- Handpainted Owl Bell, Duck Dish, Lidded DishVintage Murano Vaseline Glass Poodle PairTwo Vaseline Glass Lidded Dishes-mosser Hen In Basket, Westmoreland SwanAntique Pink Depression Glass Lemonade Juice Dispenser/ Century Silver PlateAntique Vaseline Glass Vanity SetVintage Fenton Vaseline Hobnail Opalescent Vase 6 Piece Vaseline Glass Lot- Shot Glassses, Slipper, Turkey In A BasketMarked Gibson 2000 Vaseline Opalescent Hanging Heart Large CruetVaseline Glass Vintage Door KnobFostoria American Vaseline Glass Footed Plate 7 3/4"Vintage 11" Wide Fenton Topaz Opalescent Hobnail Ruffled Bowl Vaseline Glass 3'' Czech Yellow Uranium Vaseline Art Glass Paperweight Westmoreland Vaseline Glass Lily Of The Valley VaseVaseline Glass 1lb. Butter Dish With Lid, Depression Glass Pre-1940's5mm Tubes Over 1/2lb Corning 3320 Borosilicate Uranium Glass2 Green Opalescent Glassware Pieces: Candy Dish + Opalescent Van Vase Antique Pink Vaseline / Opaline Glass Central Trumpet For Epergne C 1890 . Art Deco Vintage Green Uranium Glass Cookie JarArt Deco Vaseline Uranium Glass Swan Candy Bowl. Great Condition Rare!(2) Antique/vintage Green Uranium Vaseline Depression Glass Candlestick HoldersVaseline Glass Biscuit Jar / Candy Dish With Lid, Depression Glass Pre-1940'sScarce Eapg Thousand Eye Vaseline/canary Christmas Light/match/toothpickGreen Yellow Lutz Uranium Vaseline Handmade Art Glass Paperweight Signed DatedLarge Antique/vintage Green Uranium Vaseline Depression Satin Glass "vase" Vintage Very Unusual Vaseline Square Jar & Metal Lid. Greek Words On Base Vaseline Glass Wall Pocket Bird Vase Car Auto Hanger Tomb Stone VaseAntique/vtg Green Uranium Vaseline Depression Glass Cameo Ballerina DecanterVintage Green Depression Glass Ashtray Art Deco Design Uranium Vaseline NiceAntique Green Vaseline Uranium Czech Floriform Art Glass Table Lamp Light ShadeAntique Car Etched Crystal Vaseline Glass Bud Vase - Floral!Set Of (6) Vintage Green Depression Vaseline Glass Dessert Plates-6" DiameterAntique Car Crystal Vaseline Glass Bud Vase - FlowersExcellent 1900's Northwood Vaseline Glass Opalescent Beaded Panel Compote Glows(3) Antique/vintage Green Uranium Vaseline Depression Glass Tumblers 'rare"Uranium Glass Opaque And Translucent Marble Purple Swirl Glows Uv .945"Vintage Vaseline Glass Jug/decanter #1 9"Uranium Glass Vase And Non-uranium Glass Flower FrogVintage Vaseline Glass Squat Bottle 6" Tall Vintage Vaseline Glass Dog Bottle 8 In TallVaseline Glass Daisy And Fern Syrup DispenserVintage Vaseline Glass Large Fan Vase With 2 Handles In Loving Cup StyleVery Pretty 1905 Northwood Beaded Drapes Opalescent Vaseline Glass Ruffled BowlAntique 1920s Davidson Hobnail Crimped Vaseline Glass BowlGreen Neon Vaseline Uranium Art Glass 3" Swan Bird Master Open Salt Dip Glows!Vintage Green Depression Vaseline Glass Round Refrigerator Dish With LidGreen Vaseline Glass Train Tanker Box Car Uranium Yellow Canary Railroad Rr Art Green Neon Vaseline Uranium Art Glass Owl Toothpick Holder Made In Usa! GlowsGreen Neon Vaseline Uranium Handmade Art Glass Billy The Dog Figurine GlowsGreen Neon Vaseline Uranium Art Glass Open Sunray Clover Pattern Open Salt DipNorthwood Vaseline Opalescent Daisy & Fern Fancy Large BowlGreen Neon Vaseline Uranium Art Glass Footed Honey Pot W/ Wooden Stick And Lid

Recent News: Vaseline Glass

Source: Google News

Early Pittsburgh (Pa.) district double eagle historical pint flask sells for ...
ArtfixDaily, April 4th

Today it is the foremost auction house in the U.S. for antique glass. In Oct. 2010, the firm set a record for an antique glass bottle at auction when a General Jackson eagle portrait flask went for $176,670. In addition to bottles and glass, the firm...Read more

Where Every Day It's 1893
Tufts Now, March 26th

A hatchet made of so-called Vaseline glass that shimmers in the dark because of the uranium oxide added during manufacture. ... He would arrive before dawn at the giant Brimfield, Massachusetts, antique shows, racing from booth to booth with a flashlight...Read more

Singerly's 30th antiques show draws 40-plus vendors
Cecil Whig, February 15th

“It's fun, and like seeing old friends,” she said. Among the items she displayed were pieces of Vaseline glass, which is made with uranium, and casts a glow when backlit with a black light. “It's from the 1940s,” she said. The fall antiques show will...Read more

The Man in the High Castle never lets us believe its alternate-history nightmare
The Verge, January 19th

They're less interesting, though, than seeing characters — a Japanese trader, a German secret agent, an American antiques dealer — navigate two empires obsessed with racial and national differences. Even the most steadfastly ... Amazon's pilot...Read more

Antiques & Collectibles: 'Mantiques,' Asian art will be hot collectibles in 2015
Post-Bulletin, January 16th

As an example, 'mantiques,' or antiques for men, dominated the landscape. Ranging from rusty oil cans and beat-up motorcycles to racy pin-up calendars and vintage barware, these items defy the traditional rules of antique collecting and make a 'man...Read more

The Victorians Used To Use Uranium To Make Glowing Glassware
io9, June 25th

We love artwork made with innovative materials — but sometimes, it can go too far. This Victorian-era glassware, made with uranium to make it glow, is definitely in that category. Today, the glow of uranium glass, which you can still find in antique...Read more

Vaseline glass is a little-known treasure
The Pike County Courier, February 17th

“You didn't have to become an expert to know Vaseline glass," said Eric Martin, who with his wife, Ida, owns the Hawley Antiques Exchange on Route 6 in Hawley. "All you had to do was take a portable pocket-sized black light, and if it glowed the unique ...Read more

A Quick Guide to Vaseline Glass
Wall Street Journal, August 9th

WHILE VASELINE GLASS may have a rather unappealing name, the antique tableware—distinguished by its radiant yellow-green hue—is anything but. Typically seen in the form of Victorian-style bowls, pitchers, plates and candlesticks, the glass can look ...Read more