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Depression Glass Companies

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Just before the advent of the Great Depression, more than ahundred companies manufactured glassware in the UnitedStates. At the end of the Depression, fewer than fiftypercent of these companies remained in business. Of thesecompanies, seven became major players in the production ofDepression glass, and these seven companies utilized alittle more than 90 patterns to decorate their wares.Indiana Glass, Hocking, Federal, U.S. Glass, JeanetteGlass, MacBeth-Evans, and Hazel-Atlas manufactured hundredsof thousands of pieces of this popular and inexpensiveglass, creating a bright spot in the lives of everyday,working-class people during a grim epoch of Americanhistory.

Before Depression glass came along, colored and patternedglass existed, but only for the wealthy. Because thebeautifully hued and intricately designed glassware of thetimes was hand-blown, and the cost of manufacturing suchpieces proved prohibitive for most people, this type ofglass was simply out of reach for many households. However,with the invention of mass-produced, machine-pressedglassware that produced colors and patterns - albeit riddenwith flaws such as air bubbles and mold marks - a newversatility in glassware could be made available tohouseholds all over America. Because of this, even thepoorest families could now have cheerful pieces from whichto serve their meals, hold sugar, salt, pepper, and othercondiments, contain candy, and more - even to shake theirmartinis, if they could scrape up the money for thebathtub-made gin!

Adam, Cherry Blossom, Iris and Herringbone, Sierra(Pinwheel), and Windsor make up some of the most popularand now-sought-after patterns produced by the JeanetteGlass Company from 1928 through the 1970s. From 1932 to1942, Federal created such designs as the Sharon (CabbageRose), Rosemary (Dutch Rose), Madrid, and Columbia thatfetch top-market prices today.

Anchor Hocking came into being when Anchor Cap and Closuremerged with Hocking Glass in 1937, so when you see"Hocking" and "Anchor Hocking" you know you are looking atpre- and post-1937 pieces, respectively. Some of thepatterns considered highly collectible today from Hockinginclude Coronation (banded rib), Fortune, Old Café,Princess, and Waterford. Anchor Hocking created suchwell-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 Evansbrought American Sweetheart and Petalware onto the market.

These patterns touch on only a few of the most popular andsought after patterns that today's collectors seek - manymore exist from these and other glass manufacturers toentice and fascinate avid Depression glass aficionados theworld over.

Many of the glass companies - at least those that survivedthe Great Depression - maintain museums in which interestedparties can learn much more about Depression glass and thebusinesses that supplied it. Credit must be given to theseglass manufacturers for providing something simple andlow-priced yet delightfully appealing to a grateful publicat a time when such items were few and far between.

So when you admire a piece of Depression glass, there's agood chance that very same piece may have uplifted a familyin 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,

Murray Hughes

If you enjoyed this article by Murray Hughes, then visit Depression Glass History now and enrollin the free Depression Glass course "The 5 Essential StepsTo Becoming A Depression Glass Collector". For AOL Users: Depression Glass Companies


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