Depression Glass Companies
Just before the advent of the Great Depression, more than a
hundred companies manufactured glassware in the United States. At
the end of the Depression, fewer than fifty percent of these
companies remained in business. Of these companies, seven became
major players in the production of Depression glass, and these
seven companies utilized a little more than 90 patterns to
decorate their wares. Indiana Glass, Hocking, Federal, U.S.
Glass, Jeanette Glass, MacBeth-Evans, and Hazel-Atlas
manufactured hundreds of thousands of pieces of this popular and
inexpensive glass, creating a bright spot in the lives of
everyday, working-class people during a grim epoch of American
Before Depression glass came along, colored and patterned
glass existed, but only for the wealthy. Because the beautifully
hued and intricately designed glassware of the times was
hand-blown, and the cost of manufacturing such pieces proved
prohibitive for most people, this type of glass was simply out of
reach for many households. However, with the invention of
mass-produced, machine-pressed glassware that produced colors and
patterns - albeit ridden with flaws such as air bubbles and mold
marks - a new versatility in glassware could be made available to
households all over America. Because of this, even the poorest
families could now have cheerful pieces from which to serve their
meals, hold sugar, salt, pepper, and other condiments, contain
candy, and more - even to shake their martinis, if they could
scrape up the money for the bathtub-made gin!
Adam, Cherry Blossom, Iris and Herringbone, Sierra (Pinwheel),
and Windsor make up some of the most popular and now-sought-after
patterns produced by the Jeanette Glass Company from 1928 through
the 1970s. From 1932 to 1942, Federal created such designs as the
Sharon (Cabbage Rose), Rosemary (Dutch Rose), Madrid, and
Columbia that fetch top-market prices today.
Anchor Hocking came into being when Anchor Cap and Closure
merged with Hocking Glass in 1937, so when you see "Hocking" and
"Anchor Hocking" you know you are looking at pre- and post-1937
pieces, respectively. Some of the patterns considered highly
collectible today from Hocking include Coronation (banded rib),
Fortune, Old Café, Princess, and Waterford. Anchor Hocking
created such well-loved designs as the Manhattan (horizontal
ribbed) design along with the Oyster and Pearl pattern.
Hazel-Atlas Glass Company introduced Florentine #2 (Poppy),
Hairpin (Newport) and Moderntone, while MacBeth Evans brought
American Sweetheart and Petalware onto the market.
These patterns touch on only a few of the most popular and
sought after patterns that today's collectors seek - many more
exist from these and other glass manufacturers to entice and
fascinate avid Depression glass aficionados the world over.
Many of the glass companies - at least those that survived the
Great Depression - maintain museums in which interested parties
can learn much more about Depression glass and the businesses
that supplied it. Credit must be given to these glass
manufacturers for providing something simple and low-priced yet
delightfully appealing to a grateful public at a time when such
items were few and far between.
So when you admire a piece of Depression glass, there's a good
chance that very same piece may have uplifted a family in what
was an otherwise bleak time. And now you'll know when you see
this prettily colored or clear and patterned glass, that it's
much more than "just another pretty face!"
Until next time,
If you enjoyed this article by Murray Hughes, then visit
Glass History now and enroll in the free Depression Glass
course "The 5 Essential Steps To Becoming A Depression Glass
Collector". For AOL Users: Depression
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