That Pretty Glass In Grandma's Cupboard!
by Lorna Hart


From the time it graced department store windows such as Woolworth’s or was distributed by gas stations and movie theaters as prizes, and later displayed in Grandma’s cupboard, Depression Glass has found a distinctive place in America’s homes. In an era of economic hardship, this glass caught American’s fancy with its affordability and varied patterns and colors.

Depression Glass is historically important, as it was the first glass to be made completely by machine in the United States. Over twenty-five companies, located in Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, produced Depression Glass in the United States during the Depression years of the 1920s through 1940. Seven Depression Glass manufacturing companies made ninety-two different patterns: Federal, Hazel-Atlas, Hocking, Indiana, Jeanette, MacBeth-Evans, and U.S. Glass. Each company designed their own molds, and these patterns were not copied by other companies, so the pattern, and the colors in which it was produced are distinctive to that company.

Even the most frugal household in the Depression Era had a cream and sugar set or butter dish on their table. Such pieces were passed through the generations, as people nostalgically recall the pretty glass in their grandma’s house. Recognized for its aesthetic value, unique beauty and design, the glass has become collectible. Browsing glass shows, antique shops, flea markets, yard sales, and now even eBay, shopping has become a treasure hunt.

It is a very sturdy glass, produced under the expectation of daily use. Decorative and functional by design, its place in your home need not only be in a display case. The enduring colors including (amber, blue, black, crystal, green, pink, red, yellow, and white) have never gone out of style. With proper care, pieces such as candlesticks, candy dishes, and vases can be used to decorate for the Holidays and other special occasions. Alone or mixed with china, Depression Glass makes a lovely table setting. Its availability and pricing has allowed it to be comparable with glassware currently manufactured, but Depression Glass carries a historical significance and individuality absent in new glass.

So whether the piece of Depression Glass you see is a piece handed down in your family, one that is sitting in an antique shop or glass show, or a recent purchase, when you look at a piece of Depression Glass, you are looking at a bit of American history.