A Resource for Identifying Antique Glassware!

Aug 30, 2001 (Updated Aug 17, 2006)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Helps identify unknown glassware. Color pictures.

Cons:Not complete.

The Bottom Line: An excellent reference book on Elegant Glassware of the Depression era to the 1950's.

Antiques and Collectibles
I love antiques! Many of my relatives have old dishes in their cupboards which have been handed down from one generation to the next. However, I find it so sad that they don't know anything about the glassware ... neither where it originated, nor the company who produced it. I love history and the challenge of learning about long forgotten pieces of art ... glassware falls in this category! The glass of this era is so unique - it is elegant and refined. A true art form! I am hard pressed to find anything made quite like it today.

When my mother died in 1980, I brought all of her wedding dishes home with me, from New York to Alaska (and only one piece broke, thank the Lord.) Her dishes were made by the well known glass company, Fostoria, in the Colony pattern. I desired to learn more about these dishes and their value (since I live in a state prone to earthquakes, I wanted to insure them), and an antique dealer recommended Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era to me! She gave me the address of the author, and I wrote to him with a list of what I owned. I was so surprised when he kindly answered my note, and gave me the information on how to purchase his book, which I promptly did.

Explore with me as I take you inside the pages of Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era, Revised 3rd Edition.

The Book, in a Nutshell
It consists of 174 pages of information on styles, patterns, and glassware etchings, as well as the companies who made these timeless pieces of glass. What I love most of all, is that every single page is in full color! Clear, remarkable color pictures! There are 90 pages of glassware, (and 90 different patterns are shown.) Clear glass is shown on a dark blue background to make the etchings and designs stand out, and likewise, the colored glass is pictured on a white background. This book is full of information on handmade and acid etched glassware! It is well layed out and finding a particular pattern is very easy. It's a great resource for not only identifying certain patterns, but also for determining their values. Since Gene Florence's book The Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass is used by most antique dealers as a price guide, this book, also written by Florence, should be quite accurate.

The Forward
This book was authored by Gene Florence, and published in 1988, and the glassware it features were sold in upscale department stores during the Depression Era through to the 1950's. Not to be confused with dime store glassware more commonly known as "Depression Glass". In his forward, he describes these differences.

There are two separate index's. The first is for patterns, which are layed out in easy to find alphabetical order. The second is an index of glassware by company, listing prominent glassware manufacturers such as: Cambridge, Duncan & Miller, Fostoria, Heisey, Imperial, Morgantown, Paden City, Tiffin, and the US Glass Company.

Layout/Substance of the Book
This wonderful reference book is layed out wonderfully! The left pages contain articles about the glass pattern, the years that is was manufactured, the colors of that particular pattern, and a short history. Florence explains if this pattern was produced in abundance, or a limited supply, and which colors are more sought out by collectors. Below this description is an inventory of the most common pieces in the set, the dimensions of each piece, and their value at the time of the printing. On the right are full color pictures of the glassware. If the pattern was made in different colors, all are shown. These pictures are perfect! Those patterns which are distinguished mainly by their etchings are easily discernible.

What I found fascinating was learning what the names of these pieces were! I had no idea that the small 4" round bowls I owned were called "comports", or that the bowl with ladel that I commonly use as a gravy bowl, was instead a "mayonnaise" bowl. Interestingly enough, some of these old pieces also had "Cigarette Holders" made to match the rest of the dishes!

The one thing that I was a bit disappointed in was the fact that the categories were not complete. I own pieces that were not included in the Fostoria Colony section. It left me wondering if the other patterns of glassware were incomplete as well. The title may be a bit misleading. I thought it was a reference for depression glass, however the distinction is made between depression glass and elegant glass of the same era. This book focuses only on elegant glass.

My Impression of this Book
Some antique glassware, including Fostoria glass, were never gave a pattern name. If you are someone who owns glassware like this, you know that it can be very difficult to track down any information - let alone determine it's value. A book like Elegant Glassware of the Depression Era can be a wonderful resource! The pictures show such detailed patterns and etchings that one could easily find their favorite glassware by browsing through the pictures and descriptions. A good friend of mine has some antique stemware that belonged to her mother-in-law, and all she knew about them was the company name - Fostoria. I took my book over to her house and we discovered in about 5 minutes that her stems were the "June" pattern. She now knows that her stemware is worth a lot of money! (My book is the 3rd Edition, which is out of print. There is now an 8th and 9th addition available at Amazon.com for $19.95 and $13.96 respectively.)

Other Books by Gene Florence
~Pocket Guide to Depression Glass~
~Kitchen Glassware of the Depression Years~
~Collector's Encyclopedia of Occupied Japan Collectibles~
~Collector's Encyclopedia of Depression Glass~
~Collectible Glassware of the 40's, 50's, and 60's~
~Glass Candlesticks of the Depression Era~
~Stemware Identification~
~The Pocket Guide to Depression Glass~
~The Collector's Encyclopedia to Akro Agate~

About the Author
A collector from childhood, he gave up a teaching career to pursue the glass business. His work is well respected by collectors, and he now travels all around the country in order to do research for his books. His mother runs the "Grannie Bear Antique Shop" in Lexington, Kentucky.

Published by: Collector Books, a division of Schroeder Publishing Co, Inc.

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