What Is Depression Glass?
Many of you are probably wondering what Depression glass is. Depression glass is a type of dinnerware that was mass-produced in the 1920s and 1930s. It often came with food, especially from the Quaker Oats Company. It even was given out at movie theaters and other businesses! It came in lots of great colors: green, red, black, amethyst, blue, yellow, clear, and pink (which is what I collect). The dinnerware ranged from teacups and saucers to pitchers, salt shakers, cake plates, and everything in between. It also comes in lots of different patterns: Cherry Blossom, Dogwood, Princess (shown below), and Sunflower, just to name a few.
Why Collect It?
Many types of glass became popular during the Great Depression, as people looked for cheaper ways to decorate their homes without the high cost of crystal or pieces from Tiffany’s. In fact, one type of glass often mistaken for depression glass is carnival glass, and it is referred to as the “Poor Man’s Tiffany.” This adds a layer of context and history that cannot be ignored when collecting these unique pieces.
How Do I Know That It’s Real Depression Glass?
Companies started making reproductions in the 1960s. The reproductions are very convincing, but there are a couple of ways to sniff out impostors.
1. Look for Flaws - These pieces can be more than 100 years old so they should show some indication of a test of time.
2. Check the Thickness - Reproduction glass is very thick compared to the original. Though the originals vary from piece to piece, if the glass feels thick, it’s likely not real.
3. Learn the Patterns - The new versions of the old patterns are fairly convincing, but there are some great resources, like realorrepro.com, that cover each and every difference.
How do I start Collecting?
1. Find a color that you love!
2. Find 1–3 patterns that you adore. I found a great website that shows you all of the patterns manufactured. Click here to check it out.
3. Learn your stuff. There are real and fake pieces, as I just mentioned. Make sure you know what you’re looking for! This makes the treasure hunt all the more fun!
4. Start Collecting! At Blue Box Auction Gallery we have an upcoming Estate Treasures Auction that contains a variety of authentic expression glass. You can browse the sale here.