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.
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Recent News: Vaseline Glass
Source: Google News
Unique glass collection on displayMason City Globe Gazette, April 27th
A reamer, also known to many as an orange juice squeezer or juicer, is machine-pressed, tinted glassware produced during the Great Depression, from the 1920s to the 1940s. Some manufacturers continued to make the patterns after World War II...Read more
Local shops help celebrate Hawley Earth FestNEagle, April 18th
At the Hawley Antique Exchange, a free tour of the world's largest collection of Vaseline Glass, the Martin Collection, will be offered both Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4. The Village Bath will be hosting BrookValley Farms for a “Goat Meet and Greet...Read more
'Naughty' figurines lounging on collectors' shelvesHeraldNet, April 7th
I was going to use the crayons, but an antique-collecting member of the group said the elf is a “Brownie” and the box may be collectible. ... Vaseline glass, compote, pedestal, daisy and button, scalloped edge, lid, Belmont Glass, 12 ½ x 9 inches, $390...Read more
'Naughties' were a hit for about 30 yearsTyler Morning Telegraph, April 4th
I was going to use the crayons, but an antique-collecting member of the group said the elf is a “Brownie” and the box may be collectible. ... n Vaseline glass, compote, pedestal, daisy and button, scalloped edge, lid, Belmont Glass, 12 1/2 x 9 inches...Read more
'Naughties' represent erotica of early 20th centuryWinston-Salem Journal, April 1st
Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in ... Vaseline glass, compote, pedestal, daisy and button, scalloped edge, lid, Belmont Glass, 12½ x 9 inches, $390. Wedgwood...Read more
Save time, save space, save money: House HacksLancasterOnline, February 11th
Stubborn bits of food left behind on your oven rack, grill or glass baking dish? Add a drop of dish soap to a ... To keep squirrels from chewing the gourds and pumpkins you have on display, rub the gourds with Vaseline. -- Store firewood at least 15...Read more
Vaseline glass is a little-knownThe 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 GlassWall 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