Depression Glass
depression glass

What is Depression Glass?

"Depression glass" is a collector's term used for inexpensive tableware items made from machine-pressed glass during the 1920's and 1940's. Depression glass was produced in a variety of colors, shapes and patterns by over 20 companies. Most manufacturers were located in the central and eastern United States.

The name, "depression glass" comes from the economic downturn of the 1930's - The Great Depression. During the Depression, the glass was sold at very low prices. A complete table setting could be purchased for two or three dollars. It was sold in retail stores and also by mail order, such as through the Sears catalog.

An Immediate Collectible

Pieces of depression glass were frequently placed in boxes of cereal, flour, oatmeal, detergent and other retail products as an incentive for purchase. It was also given away by businesses such as gas stations and movie theaters to gain publicity and to attract customers to their establishments.

This type of distribution produced immediate "collectors" - people received one piece and then wanted to build a collection. They had fun opening an oatmeal box to find the prize inside!

Diversity of Patterns, Pieces and Colors

Although depression glass was inexpensive, the colors and patterns were beautiful. Many of the patterns contained enough pieces to form a complete table setting, often with accessories. Cups, saucers, goblets, tumblers, pitchers, plates, bowls, butter dishes, serving dishes, salt & pepper shakers, sugar bowls, creamers, vases, candle holders, cake plates, serving trays and other items were manufactured. Common colors were pink, green, blue, yellow, amber, black, red, white and clear. Hundreds of depression glass patterns were produced - many of them in multiple colors. Patterns were impressed on the outside or inside of the glassware, although some glass is plain. Designs include flowers, swirls, lace, birds and fruits.

Collecting Depression Glass

The beauty, color and desirability of depression glass sustains its popularity as a collectible. Depression glass can be found in almost every antique shop in the United States. Thousands of pieces of depression glass are regularly listed on the auction site.

Today there are thousands of depression glass collectors. Many try to build complete sets of a single pattern, or a specific color (pink is the most popular). Other collectors purchase only what they enjoy. Some collectors use their glass on a daily basis. Others just like to admire it. There is no "right" or "wrong" way to collect. The goal is to enjoy it.

Depression glass clubs and specialized shows enable collectors and dealers opportunities to meet, exhibit, teach, learn, buy, trade and sell glass. Many collectors have researched the history of the depression glass manufacturers, patterns and colors and have produced publications for sale. Newsletters, pattern books, checklists, histories, encyclopedias, and price guides are available to assist collectors in learning about the glass.

Depression Glass Prices

Depression glass can be a very affordable collectible. Most patterns have many pieces that can be purchased in good to excellent condition for $5-$10 each. Many pieces run $20, $30, or $50 each. However, the rare and especially popular pieces can be expensive. Pieces such as the rare beautiful blue Royal Lace nut bowl in mint condition can sell for between $1,000 to $2,000.

The easiest way to obtain information about depression glass values is to purchase one of the published price guides. Some of the most popular are republished with updated information on a regular schedule. These guides usually have generous photos, identification information and estimates of current retail value.

Depression Glass Reproductions

Several depression glass patterns have one or more pieces that were reproduced. Some of these reproductions were done during the depression glass era. When a company went out of business the molds were often acquired by another and a new issue of that pattern was produced. Today a few companies in the United States and overseas are making fakes or reproductions of popular and expensive pieces. Fortunately, with a little knowledge the serious collector can spot most of the reproductions. If you are buying the high priced glass items, it is a good idea to study the depression glass reference books to learn about reproductions. Always purchase from a reputable dealer that guarantees authenticity.

Cream Soup Bowl

Green Royal Lace Soup Bowl
Green Depression Glass Cream Soup Bowl. See my Pricelist


Royal Lace Tumblers

Royal Lace Tumblers Blue
Blue, pink, green and crystal Royal Lace tumblers were made in 5-, 9-, 10-, and 12-ounce sizes. See my Depression Glass Pricelist


Berry Bowl

Green Royal Lace Soup Bowl
Pink royal lace depression glass berry bowl


Depression Glass Books

Depression Glass Books
More Books on Depression Glass


Royal Lace Nut Bowl

Blue Royal Lace Nut Bowl
Top view of a Royal Lace nut bowl, the rarest piece of Royal Lace depression glass by the Hazel Atlas Company. Visit my Royal Lace Pricelist to see more photos of pink, blue, green, amethyst and crystal depression glass.


Depression Glass Cookie Jar

Green Royal Lace Cookie JarTo view photos of Royal Lace depression glass items please click on the photo links in my

Depression Glass Pricelist


Pattern List

American Sweetheart
Aunt Polly
Block Optic
Cherry Blossom
Cube / Cubist
English Hobnail
Floral / Poinsettia
Florentine 1 & 2
Mayfair / Open Rose
Miss America
Patrician / Spoke
Queen Mary
Rose Cameo
Royal Lace
Sharon / Cabbage Rose
Waterford / Waffle

depression glass
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