My lifelong love affair with Depression glass began when I was just a little girl. In my house, only birthday cakes were showcased on a large pink “Miss America” patterned plate by Hocking Glass Company (pictured). In my eyes, this intricately cut, blush pink plate, passed down from my Grandmother, was “the best,” only to be trotted out for truly special occasions.
When I became an adult, my Mother very kindly gave me that very same plate! And, over the years I’ve added to my little collection with other colors and patterns, as well.
But, what is Depression glass, exactly? Made during the Great Depression and soon thereafter, this glassware was actually not “the best” at all! In fact, it was simply very pretty machine-made glassware that was given away as incentives in boxes of food by manufacturers and distributors. So, you might open a box of Quaker Oats and receive a lovely plate or bowl. It was also handed out at businesses and movie theaters (my Grandmother always called it “movie glass”) to draw in customers.
In addition to the charming pink color, Depression glass is also found in clear (crystal), pale blue, green, and amber. According to Wikipedia, less common colors include yellow (canary), ultramarine, jadeite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue), cobalt blue, red (ruby & royal ruby), black, amethyst, monax, and white (milk glass).
If you love Depression glass, too, it is easy to get started collecting. There were over 20 popular manufacturers and over 100 unique patterns! In addition to dinner sets and larger serving pieces, there are also quirky desert cups, champagne glasses, juicers, and more. Collect all one color, all one item, all one pattern, or like me… a little bit of anything I can find!
Where do I search for Depression glass? Personally, I love to scour garage sales and estate auctions. And, since just about everyone has a piece or two, tag sales often yield results. Plus, the odd piece can often be had for as little as a quarter! Larger collections, naturally, are most costly. But, since reproductions are in abundance, it pays to be careful.
Although, some rare pieces can run into the hundreds of dollars, my collection is really for my personal enjoyment, not investment. The glass mixes well with other patterns and is sturdy enough to stand up to the dishwasher. So, what’s not to love?
In order to familiarize yourself with the vast array of colors and patterns, I suggest Replacements Ltd.
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