PRESSED GLASS is gaining renewed interest among collectors who prize it for its beauty, durability and function. Here’s my take on this much sought-after collectible.
PRESSED GLASS, also known as pattern glass, was first created in the early 1800s by American inventor John P. Bakewell. Bakewell perfected the process of plunging molten glass into molds, yielding consistently sized pieces of formed glass. It wasn’t long before it became an important industry in the United States, England and Canada, providing inexpensive mass-produced glassware to an appreciative market.
The PRESSED GLASS produced between 1850 and 1910 included a wide range of useful, functional pieces such as plates, cake stands, bowls, trays, platters, dishes, pitchers, goblets, vases, and even furniture knobs. Noteworthy patterns from this period include Jacob’s Ladder, Trailwork, Jewel Band, Candlewick, Daisy and Button and countless others.
It also enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during the Great Depression when crystal, imported from Europe, became too expensive. Cost-mindful consumers wanted reasonably priced glassware, and the “Depression glass” produced during this period fit the bill. Top patterns included Bubble, Princess, Iris, Holiday and Cameo.
Here are a few tips on collecting:
1) Look for pieces with interesting, unusual or distinctive designs and details. Pedestal cake plates, pitchers and goblets often feature unusual bases or handles, adding more interest to the piece.
2) Purchase pieces that you can use. Displaying collectibles allows us to appreciate them, but putting them to use really increases our enjoyment. Food always looks so delicious when served with this style glassware, as do fresh flowers or chilled beverages.
3) Collect pieces of the same style, produced by the same manufacturer. Some of the most brilliant pieces are often part of a series. Identify your favourite pattern and then add pieces to your collection.
I often look for antique glass at tag sales, auctions and antique fairs but you can also find pieces with the help of an expert. My favourite go-to person is Sean George, Canada’s leading authority on antique PRESSED GLASS. Check out his website HERE. He can assist in identifying patterns and providing appraisals, but more importantly, he has an incredible assortment of items for sale. Sean really knows his stuff!