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The History of Depression Glass

Updated on March 27, 2010
Pink Ladle Handed Down From My Grandmother. I have never seen another one.
Pink Ladle Handed Down From My Grandmother. I have never seen another one.

Depression Glass was produced in the mid 1920s through the end of the 1930s, and some companies even produced Depression Glass into the 1950s. Depression Glass was the first machine produced glassware in the United States. This "pressed" glass was molten glass that was poured into a mold and mechanically pressed to form the piece of glass. This enabled the development of many different patterns and shapes. Depression glass come in many different pieces such as plates, sugar bowls, creamers, cups, and vases. It also comes in a variety of colors from the popular pinks, greens, yellows, to dark blues and reds. There is a color for almost everyone's taste.

Depression was cheap glassware for the everyday household during the Great Depression. It was so cheaply produced that often you could get a free piece in you clothes soap or your oatmeal. This was nice for the struggling family during the Great Depression because you could eventually get a whole set of glassware just buying the things you needed to run your household without spending money on glassware. You could also purchase this glassware in stores.

It has been said that the popularity of Depression Glass helped to stimulate the economy and helped the United States emerge from the depression.

A green sherbet glass I picked up at an antique mall.
A green sherbet glass I picked up at an antique mall.

Depression Glass Today

Depression Glass today is highly collectible and can be found in most antique shops across the country. One of the most highly sought after pieces is the dome on a butter dish. Often the dome was broken whereas the butter dish itself would outlast the dome. I have seen butter dish domes go for many hundreds of dollars. As well some of the more elaborate pitchers are very expensive as well. Most depression plates are not as expensive because a family might have 10 or 12 plates and only one pitcher. I have read that the amber and yellow colors were the most popular in the day, so there are more pieces in those colors available today, but in my antiquing experience I have seen more pink than anything. Some people also say the most popular color today is green, and again in my experience green is a bit harder to come by than pink. I think it's all in the desire of the buyer as to what color is the most popular. Everyone has their favorite color of Depression Glass.

Spiral Pattern by Hocking Glass Company
Spiral Pattern by Hocking Glass Company

Copy Cats

There are companies out there that are still making Depression Glass and when you are on the market to buy some do a bit of research to make sure you are not buying a reproduction. Some companies will change a pattern slightly so that it's known that their glass is a reproduction. However some companies are in it for money so they will try their best to exactly reproduce their product to fake out the buyers. Some tips for knowing how to spot a reproduction are most reproductions are made with thicker glass and and because techniques were not as good back in the 20's and 30's many real pieces have flaws such as bubbles and scratches that you may not see on a reproduction. Knowing what patterns you are looking at is a huge step in making sure you are getting an authentic piece.

Experience is also a must. All you have to do is go to an antique mall and look at the pieces. Don't let the prices fool you as some reproductions have big price tags for the express reason of fooling you and making a buck. So just have fun with it and be careful. Go to your local library and look at some patterns and colors so you have a general idea of what to look for.

I don't know the pattern, still searching, but it's authentic, it belonged to my grandmother.
I don't know the pattern, still searching, but it's authentic, it belonged to my grandmother.

I just wanted to add one more thing, and that's that all the photos in this hub are part of my personal collection of Depression Glass. I have 9 pieces in total. Not many but I am working on it.


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    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks AprilDiamond, I will check that out.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just thought you'd like to know...that pink ladle goes with Imperial Glass Co.'s mayo dish and underplate, 'Molly' pattern. I have the mayo dish and plate, but NOT the ladle! LOL! If you decide to sell it, I'd be interested. I got my first wave of pink depression glass when my grandmother passed away also. Here's a site to show you the whole set! Pretty cool, eh? :)

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks for reading my hub Jim

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I didn't see any comment about machine blown glassware. Most glass companies produced machine blown glass during the depression years. Many of the tumblers, stems, vases and sherbets were blown glass.

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks molometer

    • molometer profile image


      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      How interesting. I always thought that depression glass was to do with the era it was manufactured.

      I learned something new and interesting from this.

      Many of my family worked in the Waterford Glass company, so I have a particular interest in these too.

      I wrote a hub on it. Voted up and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      I love depression glass and am always on the look out for it, green being my favorite. Thanks so much for viewing vox vocis.

    • vox vocis profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice to have learned about Depression Glass (never knew anything about it). You have got a nice collection!

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Thanks wrenfrost and thanks for reading my hub.

    • wrenfrost56 profile image


      8 years ago from U.K.

      Some very pretty pieces and a bit of history there too. :)

    • fishtiger58 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Momence, Illinois

      Cool I love going antiquing for glass. Thanks so much for reading my hub.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      8 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Great hub. We collect Fenton and Cambridge glass products.


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