If you enjoy antiquing and buying mystery glass then you will love this book, Great American Glass of the Roaring 20s and Depression Era, Book 2. It is Volume 2 from James Measell and Berry Wiggins. I reviewed Volume 1 here:
Volume 2 continues with beautiful photographs of unusual pieces that illustrate a company’s style and colors. For example, we know Jeannette Glass best for their depression era patterns like Cherry Blossom. Measell and Wiggins include none of Jeannette’s well-known depression ware, but instead show interesting pieces like a lovely footed blue bowl, iridescent accessory pieces and pretty candle holders.
New Martinsville got three pages that include some gorgeous translucent jade colored pieces and Florentine etched crystal. It is fun to see glass that you might find at the antique mall but not spot in the usual glass reference books.
I especially enjoyed reading about the companies themselves and seeing glass from the less well-known firms like Beaumont, Dunbar and Diamond. It’s funny but so often after I buy a book I’ll suddenly spot glass from it everywhere. Your eye gets used to seeing at certain things and you look for them.
At one estate sale I got some small stems etched with a long tailed phoenix that I just could not identify. They were not any of the glass patterns with peacocks, pheasants or any other bird. Finally I happened to browse this book and noticed one of the tiny line drawings for a Lippincott Glass stemware pattern called “Bird O’ Paradise”. The arrangement of the design on the glass is what sparked the memory in my mind, and sure enough, my glass matched. I eventually sold the stems to a descendant of the company founder. And no, I had never even heard of Lippincott Glass before stumbling on that tiny line drawing!
The best known companies, Cambridge, Fostoria and Heisey, don’t get as much of a write up as do some of the more obscure firms. That’s OK since we can choose other books that focus on only one of those companies.
The book is not meant as an etching gallery. You get a good idea of shapes and colors but authors include only a few etches.
Here’s how I use this book:
- Eye candy.
- Identifying glass when the distinctive element is the shape, not the decoration. For example I identified several pieces of New Martinsville including a huge pink square bowl and matching candle holders, the Lippincott stems, a Lancaster candy jar, several pieces of Georgian from different companies, Diamond candle holders. All these are fairly obscure, pretty and interesting.
- Researching company or pattern histories to include in blog posts.
- More eye candy…
You will see I did not list price research. The book comes with a separate price guide but it’s not that great. The guide includes some helpful information to help you tell different Georgian pattern glass apart and that’s better than the price list.
Overall I recommend this and the earlier Great American Glass of the Roaring 20’s and Depression Era. They are well worth the investment and you’ll be glad you got them. I do recommend (strongly) that you get the hardcover and not the paperback. My Book 1 is paperback and falling apart but the hardcover is in good condition.