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Depression glass

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Depression ware
Pink sunflower patterned depression cake plate
Green patterned Depression glass pieces

Depression glass is glassware made in the period 1929–1939, often clear or colored translucent machine-made glassware that was distributed free, or at low cost, in the United States and Canada around the time of the Great Depression. Depression glass is so called because collectors generally associate mass-produced glassware in pink, yellow, crystal, green, and blue with the Great Depression in America.[1]


The Quaker Oats Company, and other food manufacturers and distributors, put a piece of glassware in boxes of food, as an incentive to purchase. Some movie theaters and businesses handed out pieces to patrons.

Most of this glassware was made in the Ohio River Valley of the United States, where access to raw materials and power made manufacturing inexpensive in the first half of the 20th century. More than twenty manufacturers made more than 100 patterns, and entire dinner sets were made in some patterns. Common colors are clear (crystal), pink, pale blue, green, and amber. Less common colors include yellow (canary), ultramarine, jadeite (opaque pale green), delphite (opaque pale blue), cobalt blue, red (ruby and royal ruby), black, amethyst, monax, and white (milk glass). Some depression glass is uranium glass.

Although of marginal quality, Depression glass has been highly collectible since the 1960s. Due to its popularity as a collectible,[2] it is becoming more scarce on the open market. Rare pieces may sell for several hundred dollars. Some manufacturers continued to make popular patterns after World War II, or introduced similar patterns, which are also collectible. Popular and expensive patterns and pieces have been reproduced, and reproductions are still being made.

Manufacturers and patterns[edit]

Fluorescent uranium Depression glass

Elegant glass[edit]

A prominent sub-category of Depression Glass, Elegant glass, is of considerably better quality, often including polished mold seams, and hand-decoration such as cut patterns, etched patterns, and painted patterns. It was distributed through jewelry and department stores from the 1920s and continuing after the Great Depression through the 1950s, and was an alternative to fine china. Most of the Elegant glassware manufacturers had closed by the end of the 1950s, when cheap glassware and imported china replaced Elegant glass.

Fostoria plate

Some Elegant glass manufacturers were:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schroy, Ellen (2013). Depression Glass:Field Guide. Wisconsin: F+W Media, Inc. p. 5. ISBN 978-1-4402-3456-9.
  2. ^ "Crescent City Depression glass show to be held in Kenner". The Times-Picayune. March 17, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Hazel Atlas Glass Website - Depression Glass". www.hazelatlasglass.com. Retrieved Jun 9, 2021.

External links[edit]

National Depression Glass Association Consolidated Lamp & Glass Co History

Depression glass identification: