Monday, April 27, 2015

Early American Pattern Glass or Pressed Glass

Cut Glass Compote
Cut Glass Plate
Cut Glass Cruet
If you were wealthy in 1880, your dining room table was set with an elaborate array of cut glass pieces but if your household had less money to spend, your table held early American pattern or pressed glass. Pattern glass copied the look of cut glass but it was much cheaper to make because the glass was pressed into molds.

Pressed Glass Pickle Dish
Pressed Glass Creamer
Pressed Glass Cake Plate
In 1829, The Boston and Sandwich Glass Company built molds and patented a machine to press glass. By blowing glass into the mold and using a plunger type device to press the glass into the pattern carved in the mold, pattern glass could be manufactured quickly and inexpensively.


Pressed Glass Amber Bowl
It is sometimes difficult to distinguished cut glass from pressed glass but can be done by looking closely at the glass item.  Cut glass is hand cut on a wheel and is labor intensive.  The edges of cut glass are sharp, the cuts are deep and the finished product sparkles as it catches the light.  Pressed glass has mold seams, blunt edges, and somewhat less sparkle but the mold seams can be eliminated by fire polishing. Notice the mold seam on the base of the amber pressed glass bowl to the right.
The Victorian period between 1850 and 1910 was the hay day of the pressed glass or early American pattern glass manufacturing.   There were hundreds of factories producing thousands of different patterns in every imaginable type of object.  Some patterns included up to fifty different pieces, including table sets, goblets, pitchers, compotes, vases, centerpieces and novelty items.  The homemaker could not only choose a pretty pattern but also a wide variety of colors from clear crystal glass to beautiful blues, greens, yellow, or amber to give her dining room a special elegance. 

Pressed Glass Goblet

Pressed Glass Table Set
Pressed Glass Vase
Pressed Glass Tumbler
Pressed Glass Compote
Today pressed glass or early American pattern glass is collected by glass connoisseurs around the world for its beautiful colors, unique designs, historical significance or its nostalgic connection to an ancestor. Glassware worldwide is still being manufactured by the machine pressed process making ordinary utilitarian products and reproductions of early American pattern glass. Check out Reuzeit     Emporium for a wide variety of great antique pressed glass and cut glass pieces.

Blogging tips