When I was growing up, one of the fixtures of my grandparent’s house was a giant green bowl that sat on their coffee table filled with pecans or hard candy. Several years later, I learned that the bowl was depression glass, and they had a ton of it! The piece they had is very similar to the one below.
The history of depression glass is pretty simple. It was manufactured during the Great Depression in the United States and Canada and distributed for free or at a very low cost. In most cases, a piece of depression glass would cost the same as a loaf of bread. It is said to have come about to bring color and beauty to the tough times of the late 1920s and 30s.
You’ve heard the adage, “you get what you pay for,” right? Well, this was very true when it came to the quality of depression glass. Air bubbles and mold markings were just a few of the imperfections that could regularly be found in a piece of depression glass. I guess you couldn’t expect much when you’re only paying a few cents for it.
A lot of companies would give away pieces of this decorative glassware as a way to say thank you for purchasing their products. It wasn’t uncommon to find a piece of depression glass in your box of oatmeal or laundry detergent. Service stations and movie theaters were also early distributors. Imagine getting a free punch bowl set with a tank of gas or a movie ticket!
One of the coolest things about finding the treasure trove of depression glass at my grandparent’s house was just thinking about how things must have been back in those days. I think about how proud my great-grandmother would have been when she got a bowl or a serving platter and was able to show it off. I’m sure every piece had a story; I just wish I knew what it was.
One thing to keep in mind if you want to get into collecting is the fact that the pieces were produced to be used, not displayed. This makes finding depression glass that is in mint condition very difficult. Want to make it easier to identify original depression glass? The easiest way is to look for small bubbles, scratches, etc. This stuff was used by families daily and will show signs of wear if it’s original.
If you’ve been to an estate sale lately, chances are you have seen a piece of depression glass. Make sure to keep an eye on the EstateSales.NET Marketplace to find your own piece of history!