Let’s Reduce Confusion! Cut or Pressed?
It can be hard to tell cut glass from pressed sometimes. Here are tips I use to tell them apart.
Tips to Tell Cut from Pressed
- Cut glass will have sharper, more defined edges than pressed. The pressed techniques tend to make slightly more rounded edges. Even when cut glass is fire polished the designs tend to be crisper
- “Colored cut to clear” as with the Egermann ruby vase shown below, are cut.
- Take a good look where miter cuts or fine cross hatching ends. Often there is a bit of slippage, where the line continues for a fraction of an inch. That indicates cut glass. Note that very expensive cut glass will usually not have this slippage.
- Back in the early 1900s companies came out with pressed glass that mimicked the high end, costly cut glass from the American Brilliant Period. Some of these pressed pieces can look cut at first glance but usually you can tell by feeling them. Molded glass lacks the well defined, sharp edges.
- Pressed glass can be mass-produced but cutting has to be done at least partially by hand. You might find slight differences among pieces in the same pattern with cut glass.
Here are a few examples that may help.
First up are three patterns from Anchor Hocking, from the 1940s-80s. These are pressed, not cut although the designs resemble cut patterns with miters, hob stars, cross hatching. All these are readily available on line or at antique malls and make good pieces for daily use. Just be aware they are not cut crystal or depression glass.
First one is 1000 Lines, also called Stars and Bars. This one dates to the 1940s-60s and you might find a few colored pieces. See how the design looks similar to cut glass? When you touch it you’ll notice the edges are rounded. It is pressed and mass-produced.
This next one is Early American Prescut. Hocking made a couple similar patterns that lack the molded stars. You might find this in several colors from the 1970s, including avocado, but it is mostly clear.
This glass is ubiquitous! And you will find sellers on line call it everything from cut crystal to depression glass to etched crystal. It is none of these, simply basic, decent quality kitchen glass.
Last one from Anchor Hocking is Wexford. You may have one of their nice canister jars; I received several filled with cookies for gifts. I have seen the pitcher in several colors, including light blue, and it is often incorrectly described as “depression glass”.
This pitcher is a little harder to tell whether cut or pressed. The design uses elements similar to the American Brilliant Period glass but I’m pretty sure it is not that old, probably from the 1950s. It took me a while to decide it was cut vs. pressed. The cross hatching is what convinced me as I could see some tiny goofs at the ends of the lines.
If you like cut crystal, you might consider looking up American Brilliant Period glass. There is a society devoted to this glassware that I found when researching this article. You can find out more here at their website.