Sunday, November 16, 2014

Venturing into the World of Antique Milk Glass

A few years back, I became interested in an opaque, milky looking glass, that was solid color on the body, but the edges were see-through, similar to Opalescent glass of a later date.  This beautiful glass is now called Milk Glass.  Below are three of my oil lamps in milk glass.  The one on the right is a very pretty light aqua blue with a very Victorian raised design.  The smaller one is hand painted with pink, blue & yellow flowers.

The first milk glass or what was referred to as "Opal Glass" at that time, was made in Venice in the 16th century.  Later on in the late 1880's, the glass became very popular with the rich and elite in the US.  This  milk glass was made in dinnerware, barber bottles, oil lamps, covered animal dishes, decorator plates with reticulated edges and many, many more pieces.  Below is a photo of an owl plate, several reticulated plates, a hand painted heart shaped dish & a single salt shaker.

This beautiful glass was made by several different companies in the early years, such as Vallerysthal, Ditheridge, Atterbury & Company, Gillinder and Sons, and Bryce.  Later during the depression years, Fenton, Fostoria & Westmoreland made several pieces of glass very similar to the old opal glass.  In the 1960's through the 80's, Indiana Glass, Colony, Imperial & others made a solid milk glass, that was much heavier, with no opal edges. 
Below are three hand painted barber bottles that were used to hold lotions & colognes in barber shops.

Milk glass was not only made in white opal, but was also made in blue, pink, yellow & black.  Some pieces were decorated with gold paint, and others were hand painted with floral designs.  The gold on these pieces is not the shiny gold that we know today, but more of a flat, brownish color.  Many of the pieces that you will find today, may be missing some or all of the original gold, and parts of the designs.  You will find many designs, like raised cartouches, lions heads, beads, & swirls.  Below is an example of three of the covered animal dishes that I have found in my hunts.  One is a dolphin, the front one is a dog, and the other is a chicken in a sleigh!  The middle is a hand painted syrup pitcher.

I became interested in collecting this beautiful glass, when I found a covered candy dish at a thrift store.  It was in perfect condition, and was a very reasonable price.  From that moment on, I became hooked.  Since then, I have put together a nice little collection, and am always on the lookout for more pieces to add.  Below is the very first piece I purchased.  This is a covered candy dish made by Vallerysthal.  It is in perfect condition!  I paid $5 for it at a thrift store.

So, keep your eyes open for this beautiful glass when you are out browsing thrift stores, or attending auctions.  Maybe you will get hooked on this beautiful glass, just like I did! :-)

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