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Carnival glass was an American invention. It was first produced about 1905 and ended in 1930. It was popular in America, as well as abroad. It is colored pressed glass which has a fired-on iridescent finish.
Carnival glass contains a base color, which is the color before the iridescence is fired on. The base color can usually be seen on the bottom underside of the piece.
Initially, it was not called "carnival glass". It borrowed its name from Tiffany's Favrile and Steuben's Aurene. Later, names such as New Venetian Art, Parisian Art, Aurora, and Art Iridescent were added.
There were two major groups of colored Carnival Glass. The bright colors consisted of red, blue green, purple, amethyst, amber, and marigold. The pastel colors consisted of clear, white, ice green, ice blue,
clambroth, lavender, aqua opalescent, peach opalescent, and smoke. The pastel colors are more rare and can be quite valuable. Red is the rarest and was the most expensive to make since gold oxides were
needed to produce it. Red is the most valuable today and demands the higher prices. Marigold is the most abundant and the least expensive.
Most of the 1000 patterns of carnival glass were produced by Dugan, Fenton, Imperial, Millersburg, and Northwood. Other companies that produced Carnival Glass in limited amounts were Cambridge,
Jenkins, Heisey, Indiana, Federal, Fostoria, McKee-Jeannette, Westmoreland, and U.S. Glass.
Carnival Glass was exported to England and parts of Europe and Australia. Several countries began producing it; England, Australia, and Sweden. However, it was shortlived.
By the mid to late 1920's, the demand for Carnival glass had ended. The manufacturers had huge inventories and began selling it to fairs, bazaars, and carnivals. That was the beginning of it being referred to
as "Carnival Glass".
Fenton and Imperial made iridescent glass in the 1950's and 1960's. Fenton's older versions can be easily distinquished from the newer versions. Fenton is still producing today. Imperial began producing the
newer glass in the early 1960's using some of its original molds. The new carnival glass is marked "IG" either on the base or bottom. Imperial was closed in 1982.
Color is the most important factor in pricing. Holding the piece to the light and looking through it will determine the color. Prices can vary anywhere from just a few dollars to several hundred, depending on the
piece and color.
Northwood patterns are usually found with the "N" trademark. Dugan's trademark used a diamond on several patterns.
For some examples of Carnival Glass:
Carnival Glass Examples
To educate yourself on the difference between the original Carnival Glass and the reproductions, attend antique shows, your better antique shops, or talk to a reputable dealer in your area. There are also many
books on the subject.
David Doty's Carnival Glass
Official Price Guide To Glassware-First Edition
Warman's Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide-32nd Edition
Schroeder's Antiques Price Guide-Eighteenth Edition
Garage Sale & Flea Market Annual-Third Edition
The Next Monthly Newsletter will feature Abingdon Pottery.
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