What is elegant glass, you ask? In the unfolding of our nation’s history, the glass manufacturing companies, usually called “glass houses”, have played a large part in the scheme of everyday living.
Many of these glass houses began back in the late 1800’s or around the turn of the century, and
although they were numerous and high-producing then, only a few are left in existence today. These
glass houses produced almost all of the necessary holders for food, plants, and lighting in this pre-
plastic era. During the bleak years of our country’s Depression, many glass houses mass-produced
inexpensive, brightly colored sets of dishes for everyday use. These are known today by collectors as
However, also very important in the history of glass were many fine “hand-work” glass houses. The A.H.
Heisey Company of Newark, Ohio; the Fostoria Glass Company of Moundsville, West Virginia; the
Cambridge Glass Company of Cambridge, Ohio; The Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, Ohio; and the
New Martinsville Glass Company of New Martinsville, West Virginia were among the leaders of fine,
handmade glass for the home.
The glass products of these companies were made individually; handcrafted by skilled glassmen. Items
available were many from fine, delicate stemware and matching dinner sets to fancy accessories for the
elegant table such as graceful candlestick and console bowl sets, ornate vases, and handsome ashtrays
and smoking accessories. After the repeal of Prohibition, many decanters, ice buckets, and cocktail
shakers were very popular.
Although the majority of these hand produced glass items were colorless, colored pieces were
introduced in the late 1920’s. But, whether a stemmed goblet or a candlestick, a crystal bowl or colored
from the Heisey Company of the Cambridge Company, these glass items all had one thing in common:
Made in the era before, during, and slightly after the Depression, this fine glassware is today known by
collectors as “Depression-Era” Glass.