Today’s Marketplace Spotlight takes us back to the late 1920s with a look into the history of Elegant Glass and Depression Glass. During the Great Depression there was a long stretch of glass producing factories on the Ohio River referred to as the “glass houses.” These factories produced mass amounts of cheap, pressed glass. This glass was made for everyday use and storage before plastics were available. The affordable glassware had imperfections in the finish, raised seams and various nicks and marks. Today, this glass is referred to as Depression Glass.
Unlike Depression Glass (although from the same era), Elegant Glass was fire-polished after it was pressed to remove imperfections, and thus produced a fine quality piece of glass with a more vibrant and rich color. The images show a set of 1920s green Elegant Glass tableware that was produced by the Cambridge Glass Company of Ohio.
One of the more popular colors of glass in the 1920’s was this translucent green. The color was obtained by adding uranium to the glass mixture during processing. The method of adding uranium to color glass was nothing new and had been done in the 1800s, resulting in a very yellow/green translucent color. This earlier yellow variety of glass is called Vaseline Glass, because its color looked like that of Vaseline petroleum jelly. The later translucent green made in the 1920s used iron oxide as well as uranium and this gave the glass a slightly truer green without the yellow hue. The uranium in the glass also gives the glass the unique ability to fluoresce under ultra violet light. Vaseline Glass fluoresces a more yellow green.
The Cambridge Glass Company soon became known worldwide for its beautiful designs and quality art glass. The opaque shades of Elegant Glass were produced early in the 1920s and then transparent colors were popular during the late 1920s. By the 1930s, new darker colors were introduced such as ruby red and royal blue.
The PAST Antiques Marketplace has many varieties of Depression Era Glass and accessories available. Visit Nature’s Art Village in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and collectibles!