Definitions of: Depression glass - double-etching - Durand glass - EAPG - elegant glass - enameled glass - engraved glass - etched glass
GLOSSARY OF GLASS TERMS
D - E
The purpose of this guide is to help buyers understand terms
commonly used by E-Bay sellers to describe old American glass (1850-1930).
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This Tearoom pitcher made by Indiana Glass Company, circa 1926-1931,
is an example of a Depression glass inspired by Art Deco design.
photo by desertkool
Depression Glass: a category of glass. The term "Depression Glass," according to author Ellen T. Schroy of Warman's Depression Glass, embraces colored glassware made from the early 1920's up to the 1970's. A stricter definition of the term, and one embraced by many collectors, would limit "Depression glass" to glassware made from the 1920's to the end of World War II (1945). Depression glass is usually (but not always) transparent, and most frequently found in the colors pink, green, yellow, blue, amber and red -- notwithstanding Warman's definition, Depression glass also may be colorless clear glass. Depression glass rode the currents of mass-production made possible by the machine age, and thus Depression glass was typically machine-made, rather than mold-pressed by hand like earlier carnival glass and EAPG. Accordingly, Depression glass pieces exemplifying a particular shape and pattern tend to show little variation from piece to piece -- and yet, Depression glass often displays an elegant simplicity that makes it beautiful. According to Gene & Cathy Florence's Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass, 18th ed. (2008), Depression glass has the most modest of origins: it was "inexpensive dinnerware turned out by machine in bulk and sold through smaller stores or given away as promotional or premium items for other products. Depression glass was often packaged in cereal boxes and flour sacks or given as incentive gifts for buying tickets at the local movie theaters or products from gasoline stations and grocery stores" (p. 5). Prominent manufacturers of Depression glass included such companies as Anchor Hocking, Diamond, Federal, Fostoria, Hazel-Atlas, Imperial, Indiana, Jeanette, Lancaster, Liberty, MacBeth-Evans, McKee, Morgantown, New Martinsville, Paden City, L.E. Smith and U.S. Glass. Depression glass and Art Deco: Depression glass design was influenced by Art Deco, the decorative arts movement of the 1920's and 1930's that celebrated a machine-age aesthetic characterized by spare and geometrical forms. Many Depression glass patterns feature Art Deco inspired designs such as streamlined trapezoidal and conical shapes, angular chevrons, stacked concentric circles or zigzagging lines: examples are Anchor-Hocking's Manhattan, and the Indiana Glass Company's Tearoom and Pyramid patterns, which mirror the Art Deco architecture of 1930's skyscrapers like the Empire State and Chrysler buildings. Indiana's Tearoom pattern is shown in the above photograph. Fluorescent Depression glass: As shown in the photographs below, some green Depression glass glows bright green under a black light: this results from the glass's uranium content. Iron oxide added to the glass mixture prevented it from having the yellow-green coloring of fluorescent vaseline glass, and thus green Depression glass is not technically "vaseline glass". Nevertheless, such fluorescent green Depression glass often is found in vaseline glass listings on E-Bay. If you're interested in Depression glass, we recommend the website of the National Depression Glass Association (ndga.net); Joyce E. Krupey's article at that website titled "Patterns Important to the History of Depression Glass" is especially informative (http://ndga.net/articles/krupeyarticle.htm). See also Art Deco in this glossary, and "elegant glass" below; and see vaseline glass.
Although technically not "vaseline glass," Depression glass
with green coloring often glows bright green under a black light.
photos courtesy of curculiosglass
Double-etching: a glass-making technique. According to An Illustrated Dictionary of Glass, double etching is "a decorative technique by which a design is etched on an object of cased glass and then an added design is produced by a second dipping in acid while the first design is covered, creating two depths of etching." Frederick Carder of Steuben Glass in Corning, New York, developed a method of double etching white alabaster glass cased between two layers of colored glass, so that an etched pattern in three shades of color could be seen on the outside of the glass. See "acid-cutback glassware" in this glossary, and see "etching" below.
A Durand glass King Tut vase, circa 1924-1931 (left),
with detail of King Tut pattern (right).
photos by *treasurehunter* (left) and curculiosglass
Durand Glass: Art glass produced by Vineland Flint Glass Works after the end of the Art Nouveau movement. Vineland Flint Glass Works was founded by French immigrant Victor Durand in Vineland, New Jersey in 1924. The company was short-lived, but in the seven years it operated, it produced high-quality art glass known as "Durand glass" that garnered Vineland Flint the Medal of honor at the 1926 Philadelphia Art Exhibition. Martin Bach, the son of the founder of Quezal Art Glass, joined Vineland Flint's staff during its first year of operation. Initially, Durand glassware imitated Art Nouveau glass created by Tiffany, Steuben and Quezal. Vineland Flint produced, for example, iridescent Lustre ware like Steuben's Aurene, Peacock Feather designs like those found in Tiffany's Art Nouveau glass, and iridescent ware with trails of web-like glass similar to Quezal's. According to Miller's Twentieth Century Glass, however, Vineland Flint soon began producing its own distinctive colors and patterns. Durand glass was distinguished by the company's use of simple shapes and forms, rather than Jack-in-the pulpit and other floriform vase-shapes popularized by the Art Nouveau movement. After the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1923, Durand glass catered to the American public's obsession with Egyptian-inspired fashions and produced "King Tut" vases, which were decorated with a pulled feather design that added a swirled effect suggestive of the curl in King Tut's beard (shown above). Other Durand ware featured iridescent finishes that dripped down vases' sides to create random designs. In the late 1920's, Durand issued ice glass vases under names such as "Moorish Crackle" and "Egyptian Crackle". According to An Illustrated Dictionary of Glass, Vineland Flint was best known for a yellow glass called "Ambergris," for threaded and feathered glassware, and for its King Tut vases. Durand pieces commonly appear in blue, green, cranberry, white, pumpkin and clear glass. Victor Durand died in 1931, and the company ceased operations soon thereafter. Vineland signed its later Durand glass with "Durand"; the name is occasionally signed across the letter "V". Early Durand ware is unsigned. See also "Quezal," "Steuben" and "Tiffany" glass in this index.
An example of EAPG: an 1897 George Duncan's Sons & Co.
4-ounce child's mug, made in the pattern known as Button Arches.
The mug features ruby staining, with engraved pictures and lettering.
photo courtesy of jetcitykid
EAPG or Early American Pattern Glass: a category of glass. EAPG can be defined as glassware that meets three requirements: (1) it was formed by being pressed into a mold; (2) issued in sets of pieces with matched designs or "patterns"; and (3) made in the United States between 1850 and 1910. This period of U.S. history falls roughly in the Victorian Era, and thus you sometimes will see sellers refer to "Victorian" pattern glass. According to Reilly and Jenks, authors of Early American Pattern Glass, thousands of EAPG designs were issued between 1850 to 1910. More than a hundred American glassworks produced EAPG. Among the most prominent were companies such as Atterbury, Dithridge, Gillinder & Sons, Heisey, Hibbey, Libby, National and Tarentum. Most EAPG is in the form of pressed glass tableware and novelty items related to tableware sets: sugar bowls, creamers, spooners, butter dishes, berry bowls, compotes, salt-and pepper-shakers, syrup jugs, celery vases, mugs, tumblers and pitchers. EAPG pieces typically are transparent colorless or colored glass, but EAPG also appears less commonly in a variety of opaque colors such as milk white, chocolate, purple slag, custard, jade green, black, blue, lavender and black amethyst. Colored transparent EAPG was made in a vast array of hues, including (but not limited to) amber, clambroth, canary, amethyst, pink and an assortment of blues and greens. A variety of decorative techniques were used on EAPG: in addition to bearing pressed patterns, the glassware was embellished through frosting, gilding, etching, acid-finishing, engraving and enameling. Clear EAPG was often colored by staining -- by the application of ruby, cranberry, pink, amber, green and even platinum stain to the surface of the glass. Many EAPG tumblers and mugs feature ruby staining that allowed pieces to be customized with etched or engraved dates, people's names or place names commemorating events: the child's mug shown above is an example: the mug is engraved with the name "Brooksie," the date "1899" and a picture of a deer leaping over a fence. (The reverse side of this mug is shown under "ruby staining" in this glossary). Several other EAPG pieces can be found in this glossary: the spooner shown under the definition of "custard glass"; the Cambridge tumbler under the definition of "gilding;" the covered hen dish under "milk glass"; the large tankard pitcher under "pigeon blood;" and the sauce dish under "slag glass". If you're interested in learning about EAPG, we recommend the websites eapgs.org and patternglass.com.
An elegant glass ice bucket, featuring an Evangeline etch design,
sterling silver overlay and a sterling silver rim (left), with detail photo (right).
photos courtesy of catladykate
Elegant Glass: a category of Depression Era glass. Depression glass, defined above in this glossary, is inexpensive machine-made glassware (usually transparent and colored) issued from the 1920's to approximately 1945. According to Debbie and Randy Coe, authors of Elegant Glass, 3d ed. (2007), the term "elegant glass" was first coined by Depression glass authority Gene Florence, to distinguish high-quality glass made during the same period. The Coes define "elegant glass" as Depression Era glass that was "hand made, either pressed, blown or a combination of the two processes". Elegant glass was distributed by fine department and jewelry stores and made by a limited number of companies, sometimes called "hand houses," which added hand finishing and decorative treatments to glassware. Such treatments included fire-polishing pieces to remove mold marks, grinding the bottoms of pieces to make them sit flat and decorating cooled pieces through acid-etching or cutting with a copper wheel. Elegant glass appears in a wide range, from pieces that are simply pressed, without etched or cut designs, to pieces whose handiwork is quite refined and elaborate, such as the ice container shown above. Prominent makers of Elegant glass included, among others, Cambridge, Central, Consolidated, Diamond Glass-Ware, Duncan & Miller, Fenton, Fostoria, Heisey, Imperial, Liberty Works, Morgantown, New Martinsville, Paden City, Viking and Westmoreland. In some cases, glass pieces were manufactured by one company, and then purchased by another company that applied such decorations as etched patterns with silver overlay (see ndga.net/rainbow/1979/79rrg02a.htm). Thus, the same decorations are sometimes found on pieces issued by several companies. For example, the above ice bucket has been attributed to Liberty Works of Egg Harbor, New Jersey; the bucket's etch pattern, however, which is known as "Evangeline," appears on pieces made by Paden City and Diamond Glass-Ware as well. If you would like to read more about Elegant glass, we recommend the articles of David Adams and Kathy Eickholt at the websites of the National Depression Glass Association (ndga.net/dgarticles.php) and news-antique.com (news-antique.com/?id=782496&keys=Elegant-Depression-Glass). For help in identifying Elegant glass patterns, a superlative website to consult is the Glass Etch and Pattern Gallery (clicksnipwow.com/chataboutdg/index.php).
Enameled Glass: enameling is a glass-making technique. In enameled glass, ground glass powders (usually metallic oxides with frit) are mixed with oil and applied like paint to the surface of glassware. Firing burns the oil away and melts the powders, fusing them with the glassware. Below is a carnival glass tumbler enameled with a pattern known as Daisy & Little Flowers, issued by Northwood Glass Co., circa 1907-1920. An encyclopedic array of such enameled tumblers can be found at the website Tumbler World (tumblerworld.com/Enamels1.html). Compare "frit" in this glossary.
This blue Northwood carnival glass tumbler
has been decorated with enamel.
photo by *treasurehunter*
Engraved Glass: engraving is a glass-making technique. Engraving is done by cutting into the surface of a cooled glass object. Cutting may be done by scratching the glass with a diamond, or by holding the glass against a rotating copper wheel fed with an abrasive. The writing on the child's mug shown above under "EAPG" was done by engraving. Illustrations demonstrating the use of a copper wheel can be found in the Glass Making Techniques section of the Corning Museum of Glass website (cmog.org/index.asp?pageId=736). See also "cut glass" in this glossary.
An etched glass tumbler with ruby staining
photo by *treasurehunter*
Etched Glass: etching is a glass-making technique. An Illustrated Dictionary of Glass defines etching as "decoration on the surface of glass by the use of hydrofluoric acid". Acid-etched glass is made as follows: the glassmaker coats a glass piece with acid-resistant wax or varnish and then uses a sharp tool to scratch or cut a design in the wax or varnish; next, hydrofluoric acid is applied to the surface; the wax or varnish resists the acid, but the acid passes through the carved portions and eats the design into the underlying glass. The depth of the etching is determined by the length of the glass's exposure to the acid. The above tumbler was etched with acid that ate through ruby staining on the surface to create a recessed, clear design against the ruby foreground. Acid-etching methods: There are several methods of acid-etching glass. First, the glassmaker simply can carve a design by hand into the acid-resistant wax that coats the glass piece. A second method is needle etching, in which a hand-held or mechanized needle is used to delineate a design through the acid-resistant wax or varnish. A third method is called plate etching. This method was used on Depression Era glass such as the elegant glass ice bucket shown under "elegant glass" on this glossary page. In plate etching, the artisan engraved or etched a metal plate to create a design in relief. He then inked the plate, transferred the inked pattern to a special paper used for etching, and pressed the paper against the glass piece to transfer the ink. The artisan next coated the glass in beeswax, but left the the inked areas delineating the design exposed. Finally, he submerged the glass in acid, which corroded the design into any area not covered with wax. Illuminating photographs of metal plates used by the Morgantown Glass Company for plate etching glassware can be viewed at the website of The National Depression Glass Association (ndga.net/articles/feb04showsetup.php). A note on mold etching: Mold etching is an interesting term usually associated with machine-made American Depression glass. Mold etching (shown below) was done beginning in the 1920's by etching a shallow pattern into a metal mold. Glass was then pressed mechanically into the mold. The mold transmitted the pattern to the glass, giving the manufactured piece the appearance of acid-etched glass. The etched effect that this created was relatively inexpensive to produce, while acid etching done by hand is expensive and labor intensive. On machine-produced mold-etched glass, the pattern is raised; on true acid-etched glass, the patterns are recessed. Mold-etched Depresson glass reached its heyday from 1930-1934, when at least forty mold-etched designs were invented; examples of mold-etched Depression glass patterns are Jeanette's Adam and Floral, Hocking's Cameo and Hazel-Atlas's Florentine and Royal Lace.
A mold etched Cameo pattern on a Hocking
Depression glass plate, circa 1930-1034.
photo by curculiosglass
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Many thanks to E-Bayers catladykate, desertkool, jetcitykid and *treasurehunter* for generously contributing photographs to this page of the glossary. Rights to all photos belong to the photographers, and pictures should not be used without their permission. Text is (c) 2007 curculiosglass, all rights reserved. To locate any E-Bay seller mentioned here, just click on "Site Map" at the bottom of your E-Bay screen, and then click on "Feedback Forum" at the right top corner of the large menu that pops up. Type or copy the seller's name into the Feedback Forum's search blank.
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