Although the great depression of the 1930s was a hardship for many, it caused American glassware manufacturers to be innovative and develop many different colors and patterns of glassware to attract customers. This depression-era glass was inexpensive when originally sold, but rare pieces now sell for hundreds of dollars. Seeing the patterns and pieces is the best way to distinguish between the rare items and the common pieces.
Collectors, decorators and everyone who appreciates the past will have the opportunity to see and learn about 20th century American-made glassware at the 13th Annual Elegant and Depression Glass Show and Sale on Saturday and Sunday, July 21 and 22, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds in Nashville. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 per person. Fairgrounds management may charge a separate parking fee.
More than 20 national dealers are scheduled to display both common and rare pieces of depression and elegant glass at the show. These dealers have many years of experience and are always willing to share their knowledge with others. Although the glass at the show is often of museum quality, all of the glassware that dealers show will be for sale.
While depression and elegant glass will be the main feature of the show, dealers will also have Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG), Fiesta ware, Aladdin lamps, and pottery from American manufacturers such as McCoy, Hall, Roseville, Shawnee and Weller.
Three seminars will provide attendees with additional opportunities to learn about glassware that is no longer manufactured and only available at glass shows and antique shops.
Distinct and sometimes unusual names have been given to depression glass to identify the patterns. Examples include American Sweetheart manufactured by MacBeth-Evans Glass Company, Holiday by Jeannette Glass Company, Miss America by Hocking Glass Company, and Sharon by Federal Glass Company.
Depression glass can be mixed or matched to make an attractive table setting for everyday use or for special occasions, and decorators often use pieces for purposes that are different from their original intent. For example, a spoon holder may be used as a vase, or a small rose bowl may be used as a desktop pencil holder.
Elegant glassware refers to American-made glassware that is generally of higher quality than depression glass, and it is often etched or cut with intricate designs. Rare pieces can sell for thousands of dollars. At a recent Sotheby’s auction, a group of nine mid-century modern vases designed by George Sakier and manufactured by Fostoria Glass Company sold for more than forty thousand dollars. Many different companies, including Cambridge, Heisey, Imperial, Morgantown and Westmoreland, made elegant glassware in a wide variety of colors.
Seminars dealing with glass patterns and topics have become a popular feature at the show in recent years. Three topics that have not been presented previously are scheduled for this year’s show.
On Saturday at 1 p.m., Jack Peacock will discuss glassware manufactured by Tiffin Glass Company and U. S. Glass Company. Jack is a North Carolina dealer who sets up at numerous glass shows throughout the United States.
Another seminar at 3 p.m. on Saturday will feature some of the patterns and pieces made by Fostoria Glass Company prior to the production of elegant glass. These patterns are known more widely among EAPG collectors than among most Fostoria glass collectors, and many of the pieces are unique to the time period when they were manufactured. Harold Roth, a member of the Fostoria Glass Society of Tennessee, will present this seminar.
On Sunday at 1 p.m., Sandra Bridwell-Walker will discuss Glass Fiction and Old Wives Tales. She is from Texas and has been a dealer at the show for many years. She is currently the editor of the National Depression Glass Association News and Views.
The Fostoria Glass Society of Tennessee hosts the show and proceeds are used to support the Fostoria Glass Museum in Moundsville, W.Va., and other organizations that preserve the history and artistry of American glassmaking. For more information about the society and the show, visit www.fostoria-tennessee.com, www.facebook.com/fostoriaglass.tn or phone (615) 856-4259.