Pink Depression Glass

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

Pink is one of the most collectible shades of Depression glass, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enchant one’s beloved – or oneself – with a piece in this rosy tone.

 

Depression glass is known for its gorgeous range of colors – including yellow, green, amber, red, blue, black, and white. The pink shades vary greatly, from a pale blush pink to a more vibrant ruby.

 

During the Great Depression, this machine-made pressed glass was used as promotional marketing. It was given away in boxes of food or household products, such as oatmeal or soap flakes, and was intended for kitchen use and tableware. It was also sold in five-and-dime stores. Complete dinner sets were available in certain patterns.

 

Pink was the most popular color of glassware then, and has remained popular among collectors to the present day.

 

Over twenty manufacturers put out more than one hundred patterns. Glass companies that made the wares included Anchor Hocking, Bartlett-Collins, Cambridge, Federal, Fostoria, Hazel-Atlas, Imperial, and Westmoreland, among others. The Indiana Glass Company was responsible for the dramatic Art Deco pattern, Pyramid, seen, above right, in a pink relish dish ($35; Showcase S-534). It was made from 1926 to 1932, and as an entertainment set, had only 13 pieces. It has no plates, cups or saucers.

 

Tea Room was another Art Deco pattern made by The Indiana Glass Company, from 1926 to1931. It was a large tableware set with many pieces, originally made for tea rooms and ice cream parlors (tumbler, left, $35; Showcase S-534). This is why this motif has more fountain items than other patterns (with both small and large tumblers for ice cream sundaes).

 

The Depression was obviously a time of great want. Women looked forward to getting a pretty glass item when they bought groceries, got gasoline, or went to the movies. It might amaze us today to think that something so beautiful and dainty – such as the ribbed wine goblets in the photo, below right – could ever come in a box of cereal or laundry soap ($75; Showcase B-512).

 

Another feature of Depression glass is that, while inexpensive, it had beautiful details, such as the etched vines and flowers in these bud vases, below left ($19 each; Booth B-106). While some of the Depression glass comes in a vibrant pink, these vases are in the faint blush that is so well known.

 

It’s fabulous to use the ingenuity of the generation from which Depression glass derives when adding this glass one’s décor. A collector of pink Depression glass can get a chic look for the table by combining pink and clear of the same pattern. When storing, display these pieces under a light so that the color is shown off. And for Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t it be lovely to look forward to more bright days by opening up a box of pink Depression glass from GasLamp? 

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