My grandparent’s have been cleaning out their home, and among the things they no longer wanted was a collection of green depression era glassware. Depression glass, so named for the era in which it was produced, are cheap, translucent pieces which were distributed free or cheaply. In fact Quaker Oat’s ran a promotion that gave away pieces of glassware in boxes of cereal. (Source)
Elegant glass which was produced during the same time period, is similar to depression glass, but of better quality. It was sold in jewelry and department stores, and often had hand worked elements. Depression glass was mass-produced and often shows mold marks, bubbles, and indentations made accidentally on cooling glass. (Source)
There were over 20 companies producing this cheap glassware during the depression, and it comes in many colors, the most common being green, blue, amber, pink, and crystal. There are many different patterns from each manufacturer and most were made in more than one color. (Source)
I’ve identified the majority of my pieces as being Florentine 1 (also called Poppy 1 or Old Florentine) produced by Hazel Atlas Glass Company from 1932-1935:
Florentine 1 differs from Florentine 2, in that the edges of the plates and other items had alternating ruffled and straight edges. Florentine 2 had straight edges only.
I also have several items I have identified as belong to the set Princess, produced by Hocking Glass Company from 1931-1935.
I also have a bowl, a cup and two ashtrays each with their own pattern, and glasses and two plates from another, as yet unidentified pattern:
Although cheaply made, and often flawed, depression glass is beautiful. I love the subtle green tint, it reminds me of the emerald city in the Wizard of Oz. I can’t wait to eat dinner off a piece of history almost 80 years old… after I clean the dust of the past 80 years off them of course.
Here are some helpful links for finding out more about depression era glass, and identifying specific patterns:
- History of Depression Glass, from NDGA.
- The Different Between Depression Glass and Elegant Glass, from NDGA.
- Depression Glass Companies, from Suzie Max.
- Pattern Identification Index (with pictures), from Suzie Max.
- Another Pattern Id Index, from K&M Antiques.