A little Depression glass history

The term “Depression Glass” is a common term that is used by just about everyone, but what exactly is Depression Glass?

Depression Glass was an inexpensive household glassware that became very popular starting in the 1920’s through the 1940’s.  Depression glass came in a wide variety of colors including light to medium green, pink, amber, amethyst, yellow (also called canary), cobalt blue, jadeite (an opaque green) milk glass and even red.

This type of glassware was also given away as premiums (a marketing idea to help increase sales of a product).  I’ve heard of small saucers or tumblers that were included inside a box of oatmeal and items given away at a gas station with a gasoline fill-up.

Due to its popularity as a collectible, Depression Glass has been reproduced.  I’ve seen quite a few of these reproductions come out of China, and you can tell the reproductions from the real deal.  The colors are a little off—there are green colors that almost border a forest green, and even the pink is different (it looks more orange than the old pink).  I would suggest that you familiarize yourself with what the colors each individual pattern came in.

Another thing to look at is the pattern itself.  There are going to be obvious flaws with the reproduction’s pattern that the real pattern wouldn’t have.  I’ve also seen patterns on reproductions that are missing portions of the pattern.

The wonderful thing with Depression Glass is that it can be very affordable.  There are pieces that sell for a few dollars to a few hundred dollars, so you can find some great items to either collect or even use around the house!

There are some great Depression Glass pieces in my Etsy shop here.  I also have another blog post on Depression Glass on this site, and it can be seen here.

What kinds of Depression Glass items have you run across?

Sulfide marbles—what exactly are they?

Cats Eye, Steelies, and Latticino Core are all different types of marbles that you’ll run across.  One of my favorite type of marble is what’s called a Sulfide.

Sulfide marbles were made from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s.  More often than not, they are the size of a shooter.  This type of marble is made of glass with a chalk inside–and that piece comes in a wide variety of shapes from an animals, buildings, people, flowers and even numbers.

Sulphide Shooter Marble With Lamb

The most common type of glass that you’ll see is clear, but different colors like green and blue have been found.

There are some things that you need to remember when you are either starting to collect these.  Since this was a shooter (and sulfides were actually played with), there is a very good chance that there will be some surface chips or cracks in the marble.

Another thing to remember is that the chalk piece was inserted into molten glass when these were made.  The chalk piece stands a good chance of breaking in half when the marble is made.

Beware though—there are modern varieties of sulfides out on the market.  It’s easy to tell the old from the new marbles when you are looking at them.  The quality of the glass and chalk figure are of a better quality on the new marbles.  Pay attention to the chalk piece itself—it’s almost always painted on the new ones too.

What kinds of Sulfide marbles have you run across?

Great Fenton items for any collector!

The Fenton Art Glass Company opened its doors in a rented space in Martins Ferry, Ohio in 1905.  Since then, the company produced quite a variety of items and colors–you could find a piece for just about any part of your house.

It could be a lamp with a cranberry Fenton Shade for the living room, a vase for your favorite type of flowers, or even something for the kitchen table.  One of the items that you an get for the table is this great pair of candle holders.

This pair of amber colored candle holders sports the hobnail pattern, and they date to the 1960’s.  The great thing about them is that they are low enough so you can look over them and see the person on the other side of the table.  You can see them in my Etsy shop here.

Another thing that Fenton did was that they made glass items for other companies, and that’s what they did with this perfume bottle.

The perfume bottle was made for Devilbiss, and it has the Blue Opalescent Coin Dot pattern on it.  The bottle dates to the 1950’s, and it has a replaced replaced atomizer (the bottle is just a decorator piece now).  You can see it in my Etsy shop here.

Fenton also made a wide variety of bells, like this example.

This pink opalescent variety dates to the 1950’s, which can be dated by the paper label on it.  You can see this wonderful example in my Etsy shop here.

As a matter of fact, you can see all of the Fenton pieces in my Etsy shop here.

You never know what shape, pattern or color you could run into while out shopping.  What have you seen?

A small slice of the different types of glass on the market

When you start to get into antiques and collectibles, you will find out there are a wide variety of items out on the market.  It could be just about anything, really.  It could be a specific item, or even a broader area like glassware.

Here are a few of the different types of glassware that I have heard about over the years:

Confetti—this is paper-thin elements of glass that can be worked into either a fused or blown glass piece.  Sometimes you will hear someone call this “shards” and you could find this in something like a paperweight.

Drapery Glass—this is glass sheets that has dramatic folds, kind of what you find in the hanging drapes of your house.

Millefiori Glass—this is an Italian word meaning “a thousand flowers.” This commonly refers to glass items that are made from a lot of murrini slices.

Beveled Glass—this is cold glass (usually a clear, thick plate of glass) with an edge that have been ground and polished to an angle other than 90 degrees. Light is refracted from this, and a prism-like effect is often the result. Bevels come in a variety of sizes, shapes and geometric configurations, which are called “clusters” that is incorporated into leaded glass work.  More often than not, you will find this in windows and even mirrors.

What other types of glassware have you heard about?

When a piece goes from functional to just plain cool

Pottery and glassware are fun areas to get into and collect, especially since they can be very cool and functional at the same time.  It could be something for the kitchen, the table or even the fireplace mantle!  It always surprises me what I run into, especially when it’s something like this clock.

royal-oxford

This very functional electric Royal Oxford Gibraltar clock that dates to the 1920’s.  Not only does it sit pretty close to the wall, it doesn’t take up too much room on the mantle so that you can put a lot of picture frames around it on the mantle.

You can see this great clock in my Etsy store here, and another great item for the mantle is a football shaped clock featuring the Dallas Cowboys.  You can find a post about the lamp on this blog here.  Another still very functional item is this great ice bucket.

tea-room

It features the TEA ROOM pattern and was made by the Indiana Glass Company from 1926 to 1931.  The great thing about it is that it can double as a flower vase as well.  You can see the terrific ice bucket in my Etsy store here.

What kinds of items have you run across like this?

Different forms of carnival glass

Carnival glass originated as a glass called ‘Iridill’, produced beginning in 1908.  This was produced by the Fenton Art Glass Company, and the glass quickly caught on.  The 1920’s was the height of the production of carnival glass, and the decade saw huge volumes of glass being produced.

The prices were low enough that everyone could afford, and one of the nicknames that the glass was dubbed was ‘poor man’s Tiffany’.

The keys to its appeal was that it looked a lot like the more expensive blown iridescent glass by Tiffany and Loetz (and others, really).  When the 1950’s came around the name that it has now came about because Carnival glass was often gave away at carnivals.

Today, carnival glass is a fun area to dive into and start to collect.  There are many different forms that you can find.  One such item is something like this vase by Northwood.

northwood

The vase was made in the 1910’s and sports the FINE RIB pattern.  You can see this wonderful vase in my Etsy shop here.  Another form that was made was a plate, like this one by Fenton.

three-fruits

The plate has the THREE FRUITS pattern on it, and it was made during the height of popularity for carnival glass, the 1920’s.  You can see this plate in my Etsy shop here.

Carnival glass was also incorporated into fashion, one example is this bolo tie.

bolo-tie

The slide of the tie features the WINDMILL pattern, and it was made by the IMPERIAL glass company.  The tie was made in the 1930’s, and it would be a fun addition to any outfit!  You can see this bolo tie in my Etsy shop here.

You can see all of the different types of carnival glass in my Etsy shop here.  How many different forms of carnival glass have you run across?

Great Czechoslovakian treasures

Czechoslovakia did not exist until 1918 when World War I ended.  The country was formed as a reward for the help of the Czechs and the Slovaks in winning the war.  It was made up of parts of Austria, Bohemia and Hungary.  In 1993, a peaceful dissolution of the country split it into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Items such as highly decorated dinnerware and colorful artistic vases are very collectible because the country was only around for a very short time—only 75 years.

Recently at an estate sale, I discovered one of these great treasures—a light pink 1930’s Czechoslovakia tango glass vase with black trim.

SONY DSC

You can see this absolutely gorgeous vase in my Etsy store here.  What kinds of finds from Czechoslovakia have you found?

More vocabulary words for the glass collector to keep in mind

When you start to collect items in a certain area like glassware, you find out that you need to know some of the terminology when you go along.  Here’s some of the words that I’ve heard over the years about glassware:

Bent (or Slumped) Glass—this is glass that has been heated up in a kiln from room temperature to a temperature high enough to cause it to soften and sag into or even over a mold. The finished product will take the shape of the mold that the glass is around.

Iridescent—this is a surface treatment when a layer of metallic oxide is bonded to the hot glass surface just after the form the glass into a sheet.  The result is a colorful one, and it also has a shimmering effect.

Seedy Glass—this is glass that has air bubbles trapped in it. This is when air or gas is injected into the molten glass prior to forming the sheet causing the bubbles.

What kind of terms have you heard or run across?

Two simple steps to help spot a real piece of Depression glass from a fake

So you are out at an antique mall, estate sale or even an auction.  While there, you happen to run across a piece of Depression glass.  The piece that you’re looking at doesn’t have any damage on it, but how do you know that it’s the real deal?

When I’m in this situation, I usually use two simple steps to help me determine if the piece is real or fake.  The first thing that I do is to look at the color on it.  There are slight color variations on a real piece, these variations are just going to be a little darker or lighter on the piece.

On a piece of pink Depression glass, a reproduction will more likely have an orange pink hue to it (it’s really obvious).  With a piece that’s green, the reproductions that I have seen tend to go real dark.  I have seen forest green on a piece of ADAM Depression glass.  So if it’s off (especially for the pattern that’s on the piece), it’s a good idea to question it.

The second step that I use is to look at the pattern.  Even though Depression glass was given away quite a bit when it was first made, the glassware still had high quality to it.  What this means is that the pattern is easily recognizable, and there are no missing details to it.  A reproduction may be missing the veins in the leaves of a flower, or the beak on a bird is not as pointed.

A reproduction will sometimes be rushed through, and the pattern will show the crudeness.

So be aware—the fine details will help you determine if the piece of Depression glass will be real or fake.

What kinds of tricks do you use to help determine if you have a real piece of glassware?

Great vocabulary words for the glass collector

Over time, you will pick up quite a few words that describe what a piece is. It could be anything really–there are times when they apply to how a piece is made or what happens to a piece over time. Here are some words that apply to the glassware field:

Chop Plate – this is a large, flat serving plate. This piece is also sometimes called a salver.  You’ll see this type of piece in both pottery and glassware.

Cane –this is a glass rod that’s used in glass making to produce effects like twisted filigree or even marbles.

Sickness – this refers to a cloudy haze that’s in glass vessels such as vases, decanters bottles, and even tumblers. This can be something as simple as hard water deposits (hard water stains can be cleaned off with a little foaming denture cleaner).

So what kind of fun words have you heard?