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Article: Depression Glass

by Helen Allen


The following promotional information was written in 1978 in advance of the National Depression Glass Association's 4th Annual Convention, Show, and Sale
It is the pretty colored glassware that was made during the Depression years, the 1920s and 1930s, by American glass companies, large and small.  Many of these companies are no longer in existence.
It was an inexpensive machine-made glass that was turned out in quantity.  It added brightness to the table and kitchen at a time when the American housewife needed the morale boost.  The glassware sold for a few cents a piece at such stores as Montgomery Wards, Sears & Roebuck, and dime stores—or you could purchase a nice set for under $3.00.  It was also given away as premiums by Jewel Tea Company, by magazines for selling subscriptions, by cereal companies who packed it in the oatmeal, and countless others wishing to entice the housewife to buy their product.  Movie theaters, too, gave a piece of glassware to each of the customers on dish night.
Depression Glass lost its popularity when times became better in the 1940s, and soon the housewife replaced the cheap colored glass with nice china or better crystal.  The colored glass was thrown away, given to charities, boxed and stored in the attic or basement, or simply retired to an upper shelf.  Years later women started collecting colored glass—the younger ones who hadn’t lived through the depression and the older ones for nostalgia reasons, to enjoy and preserve it.  Many were given a piece or partial set by a relative and they wished to finish the set.  By 1969 enough people were collecting the colored glass and trying to match patterns that a book was published by Hazel Marie Weatherman in Springfield, Missouri, giving collectors much-needed pattern names and guidelines.  Other books soon followed.
There are hundreds of patterns; they were made in complete dinner sets (many of them including wine goblets), luncheon sets, bridge sets, children’s sets, novelties, occasional pieces, and kitchen items.  The main colors were green, pink, yellow, amber, red, light and dark blue.  Other colors used were black, teal blue, amethyst, iridescent amber, and opaque colors in blue, green, white, and ivory.
Today there are all-glass shows, periodicals devoted to Depression Glass, as well as shops and Flea Markets, in which to purchase the glass.
A club was founded one year ago for the purpose of studying and enjoying together, Depression Era Glassware.  The club is hosting the 4th Annual Convention, Show, and Sale for the National Depression Glass Association on July 7, 8, & 9, 1978.