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Dating Antique GlassBy Jeannette Rice Caskey
( Orginally published March 1947 )
Glass of a late vintage is often thought to be much earlier than it really is. It is not uncommon to hear someone say a certain piece is well over a hundred years old, because it belonged to their grandmother. They reason that if their grandmother were still alive she would be well over a hundred and therefore her glass is too. They do not stop to think that it is much more probable that the piece of glass was bought the day she died rather than the day she was born?
To ascertain the correct age of an old piece, the judgment of a student of glass should be relied upon, in preference to family tradition. There are many factors to aid in determining its age, such as the constituents used in glass production during certain periods. Then there are patent dates pressed in some forms which of course definitely place the date of all glass of that time. Likewise throughout the years customs demanded certain forms: These forms which are found in different patterns naturally classify them as to the period when these customs were in vogue. Old trade catalogues which were published years ago offer an indisputable source as to age.
When we realize it is possible to identify Chinese porcelains as to the Dynasties in which they were made it is not hard to believe that nearly the exact date can be told of pressed glass which has been on the market scarcely more than a hundred years.
Collectors should not be disappointed when they learn their glass is not as venerable as believed. America is comparatively a new country so anything American cannot be too old!
The following list of patterns and approximate dates when they were produced will serve as a guide not only for those listed but also for similar ones.
1850 - 1860 - Ashburton, Excelsior, Diamond Thumbprint, Pillar.
Early 1860's - Cable, New England Pineapple, Thumbprint.
Late 1860's - Hamilton, Popcorn, Panelled Dewdrop.
Early 1870's - Beaded Grape, Merallion, Bleeding Heart, Three Face, Canadian.
Early 1870's - Wildflower, Primrose, Princess Feather, Egyptian. 1880-1890-Grape and Festoon, Dew and Raindrop, Roman Rosette, Two Panel.
1890 - Beaded Grape, Emerald Green Herringbone, Feather.