Elegant Glass Glossary: Decorations and Companies
Etched Glass. Glass is etched by acid treatment and some etchings are elaborate and beautiful! The glass company craftsman coats the glass with wax, then applies a stencil to the wax and cuts through the wax, then dips the glass in acid. The acid dissolves the glass where the wax was cut through, leaving the design. All etched pieces will have the design inset into the glass surface.
Cut Glass. There are several techniques to cut glass, but all involve a cutting device like a wheel that is used to remove glass. Craftsmen might cut many small parallel lines or cut angles. You can tell cuttings from etchings because cuts will be shallower at the sides than in the center.
Blank. The blank is the plain piece of glass before any decoration. Companies like Fostoria used a few blanks, like Fairfax, for many etchings and sold the glass undecorated. Fostoria blanks that are particularly collectible are Fairfax, Lafayette, Century, Baroque, Coronet. Many people enjoy Cambridge’s Decagon.
Line Number. Most companies did not name all designs and referred to them by pattern or line number. Later collectors and glass authors coined nicknames for some of the most desireable patterns. Cambridge Glass line number 732 is a gorgeous etch called Majestic.
Plate Etching. Plate etchings are made by applying a stencil and using a stylus to cut through the design. Fostoria’s Navarre, Chintz, Trojan, Versailles, Cambridge’s Cleo, Rose Point are examples.
Needle Etching. Needle etchings are among the first etching techniques used commercially. Needle etchings are just what the name implies, a needle was used to cut through the wax coating. Needle etches often are continuous lines with spirals, loops, zig zags. A good example is Fostoria Glass' Eilene needle etch.
Deep Plate Etching. Deep plate etchings are a type of plate etching.
Prescut or Pres Cut. Technique to enhance a pressed pattern by cutting parts of the design. Several companies had trademarks with similar names to pres cut.
Gold Trim, Silver Trim, Platinum Trim. Glass was decorated with precious metals, often around the rims and handles. Sometimes the etched design was picked out in gold.
Gold Encrusted Gold trimmed, usually the design is gold, not only the rim.
Elegant Glass Companies
Cambridge Glass was active from 1901 to 1960, located in Ohio. Cambridge made some of the most beautiful glass in a rainbow of colors. Many of their etchings and colors were superb, making wondeful elegant glass patterns to collect. Look for Cambridge Rose Point, Diane, Elaine, Chantilly, Roselyn, Roslie etches and Caprice and Decagon pressed patterns. Cambridge did not name all their patterns and some of the most beautiful are line numbers 704 and 732, nicknamed Windows Border and Majestic, respectively
Central Glass had some unique, head turning patterns such as Harding, Morgan, Balda and made glass in art deco shapes and colors. Central’s etches were among the highest quality, intricate, well-designed and beautiful and their colors are terrific. Central went out of business in 1939 and Imperial bought many molds.
Duncan Miller had the slogan “the lovliest glassware in America” and one of their prettiest patterns was Canterbury where the crystal was unadorned but far from plain. Duncan Miller made Early American Sandwich and lovely cut and etched designs like First Love before they ceased operations in 1959.
Fostoria Glass was located in Moundsville, West Virginia, and was one of the longest running American elegant glass companies, closing in 1986. Fostoria produced gorgeous crystal and colored elegant glass. Today Fostoria Trojan, Versailles, Meadow Rose, Navarre, Chintz, Vesper etches and the wondeful Baroque blank are especially popular.
Fry Glass made lines of extremely elegant and beautiful crystal plus kitchen glass, all collectible today. They closed in 1933, leaving behind some exceptional glass.
Heisey Glass is well known for their fine quality glass, including stemware. They went out of business in 1958 and Imperial Glass took over many of their molds. Empress and Twist are among their best-known patterns. Heisey’s etchings are among the most elaborate and beautiful.
Imperial Glass; made both depression glass and elegant glass. The beautifully simple Candlewick glass pattern has a simple row of glass beads on the edge and is their best known pattern.
Lancaster decorated their glass with cuttings, etches, mold etching and painted designs. Their pieces have graceful shapes with scallops and interesting pressed textures.
Monongah Glass was taken over by Hocking Glass early in the depression. Before their demise Monongah did some outstanding etches like Secretaries Primrose or the striking art deco etched design Roseland.
Morgantown Glass made etched and interesting pressed glass. If you are interested in crinkle glass then consider getting familiar with Morgantown.
New Martinsville Glass became Viking Glassafter World War 2. New Martinsville made glass that straddles the boundary between elegant and depression glass, such as Radiance. New Martinsville made some etched patterns as did Viking, with Prelude being the best known.
Paden City is another company whose glass is considered both elegant and depression glass. Crow’s Foot is a neat blank you can find etched or plain in many colors. They are well known for Peacock & Rose and Cupid etchings.
Tiffin Glass was in business later than the other companies listed here and made an amazing variety of glassware. They took over molds from Duncan Miller. One of their most beautiful etches is Classic, which shows a dancer with a long scarf surrounded by swags.