Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG)
Simply put, Early American Pattern Glass, which is also known as EAPG and “pattern glass” is pressed glass that was made in America during the Victorian era (1850-1910).
Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG), also known as pressed glass, was produced from roughly 1850 to 1910. Cheaper to manufacture than blown glass, this glassware was made in cast-iron molds and marketed as an economic alternative to hand-cut crystal. Manufacturers made a wide range of patterns in order to compete with each other, usually patenting their work. Despite these steps, competitors routinely copied patterns by making minor changes to them and varying the names of the patterns just enough to keep from being sued.
One of the most famous of the early manufacturers was McKee, which established itself making windows and bottles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1836. By 1850, the company, which had numerous names in the 19th century, moved into flint glassware. By the 1860s, its patterns included Sprig, New Pressed Leaf, and Crystal. In 1889, the firm relocated to Jeannette, Pennsylvania.
Another famous Pittsburgh firm was Atterbury & Company, whose first patent came in 1874 for a pattern called Basket Weave. Others such as Lily (most collectors know it as Sunflower) followed, while one of Atterbury’s most famous designs, for a covered dish in the shape of a duck, was patented in 1887.
Ohio was also a center of EAPG. For example, Heisey was founded in 1895 in Newark, producing pressed glassware that was so precise it looked like cut glass. Early on, the company was known for its colorless pressed glass tableware. In the first two decades of the 20th century, designer Arthur J. Sanford produced much of tableware for Heisey, a lot of it in the Colonial style, although some of its most memorable pieces came later during the Depression.
Also from Ohio was Fostoria, which was established in 1887 and was known for its almost sculptural patterns such as Bedford, Frisco, and Heavy Drape. Some of its earliest products, though, were kerosene lamps.
By the 1890s, the industry was ready for consolidation. That occurred in earnest in 1891, when the United States Glass Company was created out of the merger of 18 glass factories. These included some of the biggest names in the business, including Adams & Company and Bryce Brothers of Pittsburgh; Columbia Glass and Bellaire Goblet of Findlay, Ohio; and Hobbs Glass and Central Glass of Wheeling, West Virginia. One company that did not join the group was Northwood, which, in 1902, moved into the factory that had been vacated by Hobbs.
After World War I, pattern-glass manufacturers struggled as the real thing fromWaterford and Baccarat, among other European manufacturers, became relatively inexpensive and plentiful in the United States. But when the Great Depression hit, Americans once again turned to pattern glass made by companies that today are associated with Depression glass, including Anchor Hocking, Cambridge, Jeannette,Imperial, Hazel-Atlas, Indiana Glass Company, and Macbeth-Evans.
- Collecting information
Some EAPG turns purple when it is exposed to bright light for extended periods of time. Whether or not the glass changes colour depends upon its chemical makeup – some items might tint slightly if stored near a sunny window. Sun-coloured glass may appear quite attractive to novice collectors, while dishonest salespeople may push the glass, suggesting it is somehow rarer or more covetable than standard glass. In fact, EAPG that has changed colour is merely regarded as “discoloured” by collectors – a factor that will impact any item’s value negatively. Purchasing a piece of “sun-purpled glass” is tantamount to purchasing a piece of damaged glass.
Occasionally, EAPG is purposefully turned artificially purple, presumably because it can then be advertised as a rare or previously unknown pattern.
“Sun-purpled” glass is always a bad investment.
- Beaded Tulip
- Cord Drapery
- Double Pinwheel
- Dugan's Fan
- Finecut and Block
- Fish and Seaweed
- Garfield Drape
- Log Cabin
- Panelled Forget-Me-Not
- Tree Stump
- Deer and Dog
- Oregon/Beaded Loop
- Valencia Waffle
Forms of pattern may include:
- The basic Four Piece Table Set: cov'd sugar, creamer, cov'd butter and spooner.
- The Berry set might include: master berry bowl and 4-6 sauce or berry dishes.
- The Water set could include: water pitcher, tumblers and/or goblets, and sometimes a water tray and/or a waste bowl.
More extensive patterns included: celery vases, milk pitchers, bowls, compotes (high and low footed bowls), wine & champagne goblets, cordials, salt dips, master salts &/or shakers, mustard or horseradish jars, sugar shakers, toothpick holders, egg cups, spillholders, celery or relish dishes, cup & saucer, mugs, cake stands, bread plates, waste bowls, dinner plate, bread plates, decanters, carafes or water bottles, syrup pitchers, cruets, and some even had lamps, whimsy pieces, child or toy sets, cologne & barber bottles and other dresser set items or even miscellaneous forms such as vases & nappies, calling card receivers and punch bowls. A very few included straw jars. Some patterns had a variety of sizes of the forms mentioned above even approaching 100.
As the product range available to collectors is considerable, many chose to specialise on a single item, such as relish dishes, or a single pattern.
Notable factories that produced EAPG:
- The Duncan Companies, including Geo. Duncan & Sons (1874 - 1892), Geo. Duncan's Sons & Co. (1893 - 1900), Duncan & Miller (1900 - 1955)
- The New England Glass Company (1818 - 1888)
- Greentown Glass by the Indiana Goblet & Tumbler Company
- The Findlay Glass Companies. Five factories produced tableware and novelties in Findlay, Ohio from 1886 - 1902. They were: Columbia Glass Company, Bellaire Goblet Company, Dalzell, Gilmore & Leighton Glass Company, Model Flint Glass Company, Findlay Flint Glass Company.
- Iowa City Glass Company
A dolphin base compote brought $5,500 at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in May 2010
An Argus punchbowl on a high stand brought $3,500 at Green Valley Auctions in September 2008
A 19th century EAPG horse, cat and rabbit goblet brought $725 at Jaremos in September 2012
An 8 piece Croesus EAPG water set, featuring a green and gold pitcher and tumblers sold for $300 at Tom Harris Auctions in September 2006.
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