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Pattern Glass

Pattern glass, another name for pressed glass, reached its peak years of popularity during the second half of the 19th century. Conceived as a lower-cost compliment to finer cut-glass creations, pattern glass proved remarkably successful among consumers and continues to compel collectors today.

First appearing on the market around 1850, pattern glass was produced predominantly in the United States, Canada, and England, yet is was the American producers that proved the most successful. The success lay in the ease of replication: once a design was created, a cast iron mold was made. This was then used to mold new pieces of molten glass, which were then fused together at high temperatures.

While the aim was to create a more cost effective alternative to crystal, pattern glass also captured some of the innovation of the era. From patterns featuring various flora and fauna to elegant motifs that rivaled some of the best cut glass of the day, pattern glass proved an enduring presence on American tables throughout the early decades of the 20th century and even on some well-set tables today.

Quick Facts

  • Pressed or pattern is universally identifiable by the presence of seams between molded pieces of glass. The higher the quality, the less perceptible the seam
  • Pattern glass became particularly popular during the Great Depression, as it offered affordable elegance for the cash-strapped family
  • There are more than 3,000 documented patterns of pressed glass, many of which are still accessible to collectors today

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Bamfords Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd

Bamfords Auctioneers and Valuers Ltd