Welcome to the site of American Pattern Glass.com. You may have heard Early American Pattern Glass called by its acronymn, EAPG, or perhaps pattern molded, pressed glass or just pattern glass. It’s all the same. It reflects a period of American glass history between 1850 and 1910. It is the period of mass producing glass during America’s Industrial Revolution, giving jobs to workers and craftsmen and giving affordable glass to our people.
Most of the pattern glass on this site falls into two periods of American glassmaking, the flint period, and the non-flint period. The flint period ranged from 1850 – 1862 or the start of the Civil War when lead was needed to make munitions. The lead in the glass caused the glass to have some weight, brilliance, and resonance. If you give a party, men like the flint glass goblets – they have substance to them.
The non-flint period ranged from the mid 1860’s to 1910. Lime was used to replace the lead in the glass resulting in a lighter weight, less sparkling glass and no resonance. On the plus side, it enabled craftsmen and designers to come up with complicated, fantastic themes ranging from Roman and Greek gods and goddesses, to scenes of detailed trees, cabins, buffalo, dogs, children, presidents – you name it, they produced it. There has been absolutely nothing as complex in design to this day. These are not only wonderful to look at, they were made to be used.
There is a third, earlier period of American glass making that falls between 1830 – 1850 called the Lacy Period. This was flint glass characterized by finely spaced stippling (little dots) surrounded by designs ranging from simple hearts to people, places and things important to Americans at the time such as sailing ships and plows. Cup plates are a fine example of this early period.
Thousands of patterns were made during the flint and non-flint periods, all of them had factory numbers or names, and over the years those patterns that the public found most favorable have come to be collected – some with name changes along the way. It is not a maze, but every new collector needs to begin with a book – whether it be a general price guide, a book on a specific factory and its patterns – or a book on a specific category of collecting, such as children’s glass or historical glass.
You will find that this site has glass from the lacy, flint and non-flint periods and also categories of historical and political glass as well as children’s Victorian glass dishes. The latter two collecting categories are my personal favorites. Why? They remind me of a time that was – when children amused themselves with pretend or real tea parties using miniature dishes, and let their imaginations run wild. The historical - political glass shows a respect and reverence for great people and places of that era – from opera singers, to presidents and presidential candidates, to Independence Hall and Civil War soldiers.
Pattern glass is caught in our history in ways most people never bother to think about. At the height of the manufacture of Early American Pattern Glass, came the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. What better way to advertise glass than for Gillinder & Sons to set up its own 60 x 90 glass factory in Fairmount Park. Spectators could watch workers frosting, engraving, and lettering objects as well as producing statuettes of Grant, Washington, Lincoln, Ruth the Gleaner and more. Many, many other glass companies exhibited and sold their wares- to name just a few- Boston & Sandwich, Hobbs Brockunier, Atterbury, Bakewell Pears, Adams, Duncan and LaBelle. Just a few years later the Columbian World’s Fair in Chicago (1892-93) provided glass articles for its patrons, some of the most popular being paperweights and cups and saucers by the Libbey Glass Company.
At the close of the 19th century, pattern glass companies were being absorbed by the US Glass Company by the armfuls, and by 1910, it was the end of an era. That’s why we collect – to remember the beauty, the culture, the sheer genius of craftsmanship.
Pattern glass goblets were used and marketed as water goblets in the Victorian era. Certainly they can be used as water goblets today, but their use has expanded with the times and they now serve as elegant wine glasses for both red and white wine. Instead of upmarket new goblets at your dinner party consider using stemware that is 150 years old, unique in design, deceptively sturdy, and crafted in America.
The average size of a goblet is 6 ½" wide and 3" in diameter. This varies depending on the pattern. Having never given much thought to any parts of a goblet except the bowl, which usually has the pattern crafted on it, I started looking more closely at the other parts of the goblet, the stem and the foot or base … and this is what I found of interest.
Stems are usually, round, paneled or tapered. Some may have a part of the pattern on them, many have a bulb, knob or ball at the base, others have rings at the top, middle or base. An interesting assortment of stems might be your next field of study.
|Double Knob Stem||Tapered Stem||Panelled Stem|
|Ribbon Candy Stem||Pavonia Stem|
Bases average 3" in diameter. Most are plain or rayed (spokes radiating from the center) although a few Early American Glass patterns feature a design on the base. A well known example is Beaded Grape Medallion. On earlier flint goblets there may be a polished or rough pontil mark on the underside, signifying the area where glass was cut off the pontil rod.
|Banded Portland Base||Tree of Life Base|
|Beaded Grape Medallion Base||Fancy Flute Base|
|Hummingbird Goblet Base||Sunbeam Goblet Base|
All of these features make Early American Pattern glass goblets desirable, useful, collectible and perfect for gifts.