News-Antique.com - Feb 07,2009 - One big misnomer that I often hear is the assumption that all Pink and Green Glassware is Depression Glass. This isn’t always the case, it may very well be Elegant Glass. So what is the difference and where did these names come from?
Depression and Elegant is actually a modern name bestowed by price guide writers who had to find an easier way to describe the glass they were writing about. In the end both names were appropriate. Both types of glass began production around the same period of time, the late 1900’s. The overall “recipe” to make the glass was basically the same. Some companies even made both types of glass and used the same molds to produce them! Confuse you even more?
The name Depression Glass was given to a period of glass whose production began around 1920 and continued until the late ‘40s. However, some patterns which are still considered Depression were still being made into the 80s! Throughout glass collecting circles Depression glass is typically American made glassware but we must not forget that this glass was also being produced throughout Canada, Europe & Australia.
If not made only during the Depression years why then is it called Depression Glass? I’ve heard several assumptions over the years as to why the name. The most accepted reason seems to be this is a form of “pressed” glass originating during a “depressed” era thus the name was born!
The simplest way to explain it is that for the most part Depression Glass is machine made glass that was mass produced and did not have to be touched by human hands. Imperfections were a natural part of the process and often left alone. It was usually a premium item or sold in a dime store!
Depression Glass was produced in a variety of colors in addition to pink and green; blue, amber, yellow, crystal and even white to name a few. Jeannette Glass, MacBeth Evans, Anchor Hocking, Imperial, Hazel Atlas, U.S. glass were just some of the companies that produced Depression Glass.
Elegant Glass although had many of the same characteristics such as color, production and era, this glass had to be touch by “human hands” in its production. Elegant Glass, unlike Depression, was polished to get rid of the imperfections in the glass. These same imperfections are one of the things we expect to find in depression glass. The base of bowls, platters, etc. in Elegant Glass were ground so it would sit evenly on your table; acid etching or hand etching was used to create the pattern, one more beautiful then the next.
Another, and probably the biggest difference, is the way in which two were distributed. As we said before Depression was usually a premium item or sold in the 5 & 10 stores, conversely Elegant Glass was sold in the finer stores and never given away.
These patterns were marketed as wedding patterns as early on china was not really used. One reason may be