Down from the Attic, Up from the
Discovering the Colors of Depression
By Deborah M.
Depression Glass is
inexpensive, machine-made glass from the 1920s and 1930s. It was
packaged as a premium with various products or given away by
theaters and stores. If you have glass pieces from your mother or
grandmother, you may own some Depression Glass (D.G.). Look around;
open those packed-away boxes; you may have a treasure.
Depression Glass was made
in pink, green, yellow, blue, amber, white, red, black, amethyst and
clear. That's an extensive list, but it doesn't begin to describe
the variations available in some colors. For example, blue
Depression Glass can be ice blue, cobalt, ultramarine, opaque,
peacock, or opalescent, depending on the pattern. Some patterns only
come in two or three colors. Others are available in
Color consistency can be a
problem with Depression Glass. A red piece may have some
yellow/orange in it. An ultramarine bowl may be more green than the
blue it's supposed to be. Know the correct color for the pattern you
choose to collect and decide whether or not variations are
acceptable to you.
In the collecting world,
the patterns of Depression Glass are known as "Adam to Windsor" from
the alphabetical list of the 115 "classic" D.G. patterns. "Aunt
Polly" has a molded-in diamond design, while white "Chinex Classic"
has decals of a castle or of a floral bouquet. "Della Robbia" is
clear with applied colors on its raised fruit design. "English
Hobnail" has an attractive texture and sparkle. "Pyramid" is a
striking, angular shape that's very art deco. "Orchid" has a
delicate floral etching. The inventiveness and variety of D.G.
patterns make them very alluring.
This multitude of patterns
can be a great help in decorating for holidays by tying your table
settings to your general theme. Heart-shaped cookies on a "Cupid"
plate or tray add to a romantic Valentine's Day. For St. Patrick's
Day, what could be more appropriate than "Cloverleaf"? The glorious
colors of the United States flag can be brought easily to your table
for the Fourth of July by D.G. "Crow's Foot" or "Lincoln Inn" could
provide the red; "American Sweetheart" or "Dogwood" will furnish the
white; for the blue, consider "Aurora" or "Radiance."
The harvest theme at
Thanksgiving can be reinforced by "Della Robbia" with its bounty of
fruits. The traditional colors of red and green for Christmas open
up your pattern choices. "Royal Ruby" and "Moondrops" in dark green
will give you both colors, and there are other options. There is
even a pattern called "Poinsettia." Using different patterns to
achieve your holiday colors offers great scope for imagination and
With so many patterns,
where should a beginning collector start? If you have a family
piece, a trip to the library could identify it for you. Many
libraries have books on Depression Glass, and research will give you
an idea of prices and of what pieces are available. You could decide
to collect your "family" pattern. If you don't have an heirloom
piece to start you off, research will show you all the patterns. You
could decide to collect a pink cup and saucer from each pattern made
in that color. Then you can look in antique malls and shops for your
The largest grouping of
Depression Glass patterns and colors, though, is at a D.G. show and
sale. The Peach State Depression Glass Club puts on a sale every
July at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, GA. This year,
it's July 27 (Saturday) and 28 (Sunday) and will feature 28 dealers.
Admission is $4, which is good for both days, and parking is free.
In addition to D.G., there will be Fostoria, Cambridge, Heisey,
pottery, china, kitchenware, dinnerware and glassware from the '40s,
'50s, '60s and Fenton through the '80s. No reproductions are
allowed. There will be a glass identification booth so you can find
out which company made your family heirloom.
Such a profusion of sparkle
and color can be overwhelming, but your eye will be drawn to your
favorite (or even additional ones), and you'll wonder how you lived
this long without this glass! For more information about the Peach
State Depression Glass Show and Sale, contact Bettye Millsaps at
770-926-0631 or Deborah M. Allen at 770-926-0291.
pink Depression Glass cake plate with 3 legs, 12" diameter, Miss
America style, $55 on eBay.
Deviled egg platter, $5.99 on
green Depression Glass pitcher, 10" high, $46 on
this style of Depression Glass be called "Ross