The history of depression glass
– By Pioneer Auto Museum
Many different things came from the 1920s-1940s that were iconic to that time frame and were a milestone in American history. One of those items was depression glass, which was very popular during the late 1920s into the early 1940s. While depression glass may not be the most accurate term, the history of depression glass is an interesting one. Depression glass is a catch-all phrase for mass-produced, collectible glassware and tableware that was either clear or colored.
Some of the more popular and common colors produced were green, pink, and amber. Some of the more rare colors included amethyst, yellow, cobalt blue, opaque black, jadeite, white milk glass, and red. The majority of depression glass were made by 20 different glass companies scattered throughout the Midwest or eastern parts of the country and they helped to shape the history of depression glass as we now know it.
Some of the companies who created depression glass were Hazel Atlas Glass Company, Hocking Glass Company, Federal Glass Company, Indiana Glass Company, Jeanette Glass Company, Impreial Glass Company, Lancaster Glass Company, U.S. Glass Company, L.E. Smith Glass Company, and MacBeth-Evans Glass Company, including many more. What started as a marketing tool, depression glass quickly became popular and a collectible item. The history of depression glass starts with a simple promotion to get people in the door. Often companies would give away a piece of depression glass with a gasoline fill-up, or in a box of oatmeal, or as a thank you just for walking in the door of a business. They were even given away at carnivals for playing a game.
While the quality of depression glass was often low to medium quality, it quickly became a collector’s item in the 1960s and has continued through its history. Authentic, original depression glass, however, is becoming more and more rare by the day. Many pieces can be found on sites like eBay, as well as the usual antique shop.
The Pioneer Auto Show has a vast collection of depression glass that depicts its unique colors and designs. It is always worth a stop in to check it out and get a feel for the type of things that were popular during the 1920s-1940s. We’d be happy to show you around and give you a lesson in the history of depression glass.