early american pattern glass

Information and Tips on Early American Pattern Glass




Pattern Glass collectors tend to collect in specific ways.

Collecting by Shape

The most popular shape collected is goblets. That may not be for you. Whole collections can be made of wines, covered compotes, table sets, celeries, cruets, syrups, lamps. Some prefer more esoteric shapes such as cordials and champagnes. If space is a problem, consider the smaller items such as salts, toothpicks , mugs or cup plates. The shape that fascinates you is the shape you should collect.

Collecting by Pattern

Numerous people collect a specific pattern. Collecting strategies include securing an example of every shape made in that pattern, others want to acquire enough for serving dinner to a dozen people. Some like simple early flint geometric patterns such as Thumbprint and Horn of Plenty. Others prefer the more complicated, extravagantly molded later soda lime patterns such as Minerva, Good Luck and Classic. In between these design extremes are hundreds of choices with flowers, leaves, birds, animals, fruit, stripes, dots, stars, etc – the variety is almost endless.

Collecting by Color

Some collectors decide that color is what makes antique glass special. Common colors are amber, blue, canary/vaseline. Less common colors are amethyst, cobalt blue, emerald green, apple green and opalescent. Many collect ruby stained pieces, or gilt (gold) flashed pieces. Milk glass is a popular collectible. Some search for slag glass and chocolate glass pieces. The possibilities for collecting by color are vast.

Collecting by Manufacturer

Devotees of pattern glass often collect by company or manufacturer. They may have chosen this collecting method because they live or used to live near that manufacturing town. In some cases a relative was affiliated with the American glass industry.

Popular collecting examples of this are:

Duncan ~ also known as George Duncan & Sons or Duncan Miller, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Steimer Glass Company in Buckhannon, West Virginia; Sandwich Glass Company ~ also referred to as Boston & Sandwich, in Sandwich, Massachusetts; Portland Glass Company in Portland, Maine; Fostoria Glass Company in Fostoria and Moundsville, Ohio; Iowa City Glass in Iowa City, Iowa; Gillinder & Sons, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Company ~ known commonly as Greentown ~ in Greentown, Indiana.

Collecting by Category

This category overlaps color, shape and company. There are collectors of American Historical Glass, American Political Glass, Toy or Victorian Children’s Glass, Lacy Glass, Flint Glass, Covered Animal Dishes, Novelties such as shoes, match safes, and advertising pieces. Think of a category that intrigues you.

Collecting by What You Like

People drawn to Early American Pattern Glass may love the look, or love the history of American and its Industrial Revolution. Whatever the reason, it is about what is in your head, what pulls you to it, and why it makes you smile. Some look for special pieces to decorate their home or office, some look for gifts, some look to treat themselves to something special. Just go for it!


How to Use and Display Early American Pattern Glass

Decoration and Display

In the Victorian household, one of the more popular uses of pattern glass was to make flower arrangements. In the 21st century we can take a hint from our forefathers and select not only vases, but also baskets, rose bowls, celeries, spooners and even novelty shoes to decorate a table or an entire room.

Flint glass candlesticks may adorn mantels, kerosene lamps rest on tables, matching compotes sit on sideboards, and groupings of small items such as match safes or pattern glass mugs add interest and conversation pieces to your home or workplace.

American pattern glass was made to be used. Matching goblets and wines look elegant on a table. Sauce dishes are great for serving fruit, condiments and puddings. Relish dishes, bowls and compotes hold whatever your heart desires. Pedestal cake stands make a sparkling party centerpiece. Let your imagination run wild.


Is your friend into American history? Consider buying a piece of American Historical or Political glass. You will find pieces featuring Abe Lincoln, George Washington, Grover Cleveland, Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley, James Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Admiral Dewey and more. Civil War buffs find a nice selection of flint tumblers commemorating that period.

Gifts for showers, and weddings might be a set of goblets or a piece of glass with a heart theme, such as Heart with Thumbprint. The US Glass Company manufactured in the 1890’s a series of about 35 patterns with the names of states. Some of the more popular patterns are Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, Wyoming, California, Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. Surely a gift of a platter or plate bearing the pattern name of the state in which you live is a gift that would not be duplicated.


As collections of Early American Pattern Glass grow, collectors may notice differences in goblet stems, or finials, or etchings, or specific pattern variations. They may find a new piece or shape that does not appear in any written material, including original catalogs. And herein lies the beginning of new research in the field of Early American Pattern Glass. Pieces become catalogued, measured, photographed, and hopefully followed up by articles in glass journals and publications such as those of the Early American Pattern Glass Society, Victoria Views (a publication of the Fostoria, Ohio Glass Association) and Tiny Times, the quarterly newsletter of Treasures for Little Children (featuring many photographs and articles about toy glass as well as other collectible children’s miniatures.) All of us benefit from their interest and work.

How to Clean Pattern Glass


The best method of cleaning Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) is to use warm soapy water and rinse with clear water. An old toothbrush works well as a tool for getting out imbedded grime in and around raised surfaces with heavy geometric patterns such as Horn of Plenty or Cable, fine lines such as Ribbed Ivy and Bellflower and pieces with finials, such as Deer and Dog, and Lion or Frosted Lion. This toothbrush technique also proves useful for cleaning around handles on pattern glass creamers , pitchers and cruets.

To remove stuck price stickers and/or their residue, several options are available. You can use a window cleaner spray, allowing it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate the paper or glue, then try scraping it off with your fingernail and spray again. This works best on flat surfaces such as EAPG plates and cake stands. For rounded surfaces such as pattern glass goblets, wines, bowls, and compotes and really nasty stickers or their remnants, try “Goo Gone” or a similar product. Products of this type will leave a slightly greasy residue you will want to remove with either a window spray or warm water. For the worst sticker residue you may want to try “Nevr-Dull”, a kind of wadding that comes in a tightly sealed can and will last a lifetime. Just pull off a small piece of wadding (an inch is a lot) and rub it with some vigor over the surface. Warning, this product will also remove gilding and staining so beware of using it on these areas unless you want to remove it.

Just as we were not made to be cleaned in a dishwasher, the same applies to Early American Pattern Glass. You can enjoy the beauty of each piece as you wash them by hand and remember where you were when you bought it.































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