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Antique Drinking Glassware: Vintage Glassware Patterns

Updated on January 25, 2018

Antique drinking glassware is a pretty interesting thing. While you would expect pieces like this to be of shoddier material and construction, nothing could be further from the truth. Vintage drinking glasses are not only beautiful and very appealing to look at, they are sturdily made and can withstand a fair amount of abuse. They had to in order to survive this long, after all. Antique drinking glassware is something you should consider for your home, for a number of reasons.

This article will talk about the benefits of purchasing sets of vintage drinking glasses instead of going with a new set. We'll mention the advantages and potential disadvantages of this choice, and then point you in the right direction to go and hunt down a nice set of your own. We'll also talk about things to avoid or watch out for in your hunt for vintage drinking glassware.

Let's begin!

Potential Advantages and Disadvantages of Antique Drinking Glassware and Vintage Drinking Glasses

There are a few things that might make a set of antique drinking glassware more appealing, and a few things that detract from this choice as well.

One of the primary advantages of vintage drinking glasses and antique drinking glassware is the cool factor. Antiques are always popular, and vintage stuff is really coming back into the mainstream these days. A set of beautiful vintage drinking glasses will set you apart.

Another attractive thing about antique drinking glassware is the fact that it's eco friendly. Since this stuff has already been produced, you are utilizing one of the three "R"s by reusing them. You aren't leaving nearly as much of a carbon footprint by buying used glasses as opposed to new ones.

One great thing about antique drinking glassware is that it is very durable. These pieces haven't lasted all this time for no reason. Glass was typically thicker and better made in the earlier part of the 20th century, especially cut and etched glassware. To find an equal in today's market, you'll need to be prepared to spend a lot. The best way to tell if your antique drinking glassware will last a long time is by feeling its weight. The heavier the glasses, the more likely they will last.

Now for some disadvantages:

A problem with reused vintage drinking glasses is they are often hard to get looking perfect again. They can have a sort of dulled look, a result of decades of hard water and mineral deposits on the surface. They can also be stained by darker drinks like wine and coffee. You'll have to put up with this slight 'patina' with some antique drinking glassware sets.

Another problem you might face is materials used. There was a bit of lead and other heavy metals used in glassware back in the day, particularly crystal. You want to limit any chance of ingesting lead, so do your research on leaded glass.

Where To Find Antique Drinking Glassware: Finding Vintage Drinking Glasses

Tracking down good sets of antique drinking glassware isn't difficult at all. For some reason, these pieces are not nearly as difficult to find as other antiques, though I believe that will change drastically in the next ten years or so.

You can find lots of incomplete sets of vintage drinking glasses at many thrift or second hand stores. They may have imperfections or require some cleaning, but you can find really neat stuff out there.

For complete sets of antique drinking glasses, you'll probably have better luck in antique or vintage stores. These places specialize in tracking down complete sets of things from estate sales and the like. You'll pay a premium, but at least you'll know that your set isn't missing any parts.

You might be surprised at how many antique drinking glassware sets live in your parents or grandparents house. Most of the time people will be glad to pass them on to a good home, especially if they are sitting somewhere just collecting dust.

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If you're hunting in a second hand store for a set of antique drinking glassware, be careful and pick wisely. Look for spiderweb cracks in the glass. Because these pieces are so ornate in design, it can be easy to overlook a small hairline fracture in the glass. That fracture will likely shatter after a few washes, so don't waste your money on these unless you're just looking for something decorative.

You also want to avoid knockoff antique drinking glassware. This style is often replicated due to its design appeal. There are some telltale signs of a ripoff, such as a glass 'seam' down the middle of the glass. Vintage drinking glassware was often handmade, and lacked any seams or signs of shoddy construction. Also look for the old 'made in China' stamp on the bottom: a dead giveaway.

Good Luck!


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    • SaffronBlossom profile image

      SaffronBlossom 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Love this hub! I have a small antique glassware collection...some Carnival glass and a Jeanette pitcher set. I don't drink out of it though...too afraid to break it!