Are you confused about all the glass terms out there? Like what is the difference between depression glass and elegant glass? If you are like I was when I first found glass in 1999 you are feeling more than a little bewildered! No surprise, glass collecting, just like any field, tends to collect jargon and strange terms.
Let me share with you some basics and each post we’ll learn a little more.
When I started with glass, I was simply amazed that there were so many people out there who own glass, collect it, want to buy it and who simply enjoy it. I found glass because I found eBay. I always wanted to own my own business and as soon as I found eBay I said “I can do this!” I went to auctions and bought glass and resold it – mostly at a small profit – but quickly learned that in order to do well I needed to learn more.
Luckily with glass there are many reference books out there, some incrediby good and some rather poor. If you are just starting, check your local library as many libraries have the basic books by Gene Florence which are good. The other way to learn is to read online. Back in 1999 there weren’t many great sites or blogs where you could get educated so I spent a lot of time on eBay looking at pictures, reading descriptions and sorting through the maze of information and misinformation.
Some basics first:
- Depression glass refers to glassware made roughly during the depression era, or about 1928 to 1940. It usually means glass made in the US although other countries made glass then too, of course. Depression glass came in sets, was mass produced, was inexpensive or even given away as premiums.
- Not all depression glass is colored. It’s true that colored glass is more popular than clear but there are many patterns that are extremely attractive in clear. Clear depression glass is also called “crystal” but don’t let the term fool you; it does not mean the glass is lead crystal or good quality.
- Not all colored glass is depression glass. Some is more recent than 1940 and would be referred to as Glass from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and some higher quality glass is classified as elegant glass.
- Depression glass in well-known patterns is sometimes called “Adam to Windsor” because there are some 70-90 recongized patterns that could fit alphabetically in that range. Other pieces are more generic.
Elegant glass was made from the 1920s on and included some handwork. Companies like Fostoria Glass, Cambridge Glass, Heisey Glass, Tiffin, Fry and Central, produced colored and clear glass that was usually higher quality. One easy way to tell elegant glass is the underside base rims were often ground smooth vs. molded.
The piece below is Fostoria’s Trojan etched console bowl, which dates from the late 1920s and is shown here in topaz yellow. This is a type of elegant glass.
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