So we've probably all seen Depression glass, when we were kids, loving the sparkle in Grandma's cupboard, having no idea what it was, or just (as generations have been before us) dazzled by the colors and myriad patterns. But what's the real story? Why is it called Depression glass? Why did people start collecting it, and why do they still?
In the early 20th century, most glass was still very much artisan produced. Each company, though many by then were somewhat automated, still relied heavily on artisans to produce their wares. The craftsmen passed down their knowledge and skill to apprentices, who in turn did the same. The secrets, and art, stayed with the companies, such as Heisey, Duncan and Miller, and Cambridge. They were the "thing." What everyone wanted.
However, these pieces, prized and used by the wealthy, were simply too expensive for the average folks. By the mid 1920's, color was really the thing, and those popular (though largely unattainable) brands began producing colored glass tableware. The public was captivated. It didn't take long for a few companies to catch on that they could produce a similar looking product in automated factories- no craftsmen needed. They were able to press glass, in a variety of colors, with lovely patterns, quite cheaply and accessibly to the masses.
By the mid 1920's, there were full lines being produced, in factories, of this dazzling, pressed and patterned colored glass that was affordable to the "common" folk. The average family was finally able to set their table with the same sparkle and style that one might find on the table of the Vanderbilts. Happy day!
Then came the Great Depression, and everything changed. The sparkle, and the money, was gone. The marketers realized that no one was really able, or wanted to spend any money on frivolities.It was tough to get them to part with any money at all. So they began taking these pieces of glassware, so popular and beloved, and marketing them to other companies, who were trying to sell their own goods. These companies began placing them in bags of flour, containers of oatmeal, and other consumer goods, as an incentive to purchase. They were still relatively cheap to produce, but very sought after. They even gave them out at the movies! It added that free "boost" and encouraged collecting as well.
The most common colors you'll find to date in Depression Glass are clear, pink, pale blue, green, & amber. You'll still see plenty of these today. (and still, awfully inexpensively for the most part.)
The less common colors (and ones to look out for) are canary (yellow), ultra marine, jadeite, and delphite (an opaque pale blue.)
We have quite a lot of fun pieces, and they're great for dressing up and adding a bit of color to a festive table- mixed with your everyday pieces, they can add a real touch of vintage sparkle and make it interesting. (And now you know the story, so it's even more interesting.) Come see all of the colors we have in store!