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Antique and vintage glassware ranges from simple to fantastic, and affordable to outrageous - literally something for everyone. Use these online value guides to help you identify and value many different types of vintage glass. Learning about old glassware goes far beyond valuing it, however. In fact, oftentimes you have to figure out what type of glass you own before you can find the value. Take a look at these additional resources to learn more about your antique and collectible glass pieces. Some of the most beautiful and highly valued glass was made by a number of different companies in the s and early s. This type of glass made by a number of different companies is characterized by its "oil slick" coloring in varied hues.

Hard-paste porcelain should fluoresce a deep blue or purple color, while soft paste will glow white. But before buying or selling a nice piece of porcelainalways take it into a darkened room with either a handheld or keychain black light to test for repairs. A good repair job might not be readily visible without assistance but will become obvious under a black light since glue used in repairs will fluoresce. Modern paints will glow under the black light as well, so you can also detect touch-ups, repaints, and embellishments with ultraviolet light.

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Many valuable vintage banks, mechanical toysand doorstops from the early s were made from cast iron. These genuine articles with original paint are quite valuable to avid collectors, but reproductions of high-dollar pieces abound so it's wise to proceed with caution. Since most modern paints will fluoresce, you can use your black light to check for telltale signs of reproductions and painted repairs on cast-iron pieces prior to making an expensive mistake.

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Extremely valuable banks should also be evaluated by an expert in addition to doing your own inspection. Old Burmese glass fluoresces a similar yellow-green color. American colorless pressed glass made before is said to fluoresce yellow, while reproductions generally do not.

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Some people report that American brilliant cut glass also casts a yellow hue under ultraviolet light, others say it glows pale violet or blue. One of the most prolific of American glassware companies, Fenton made everything from cranberry glass to milk glass in a plethora of patterns.

An offshoot of Depression glass, many useful items were made in a variety of colors in the s and '30s. T his opaque white glass popular around the turn of the 20th century and again in the s and '50s.

Durand Glass - Learn about a company that made gorgeous colored glass in the early 20th century. Steuben Glass Works - Read about another glassware company with a following among collectors of art glass.

Carnival Glass Companies - Find out about some of the companies that made carnival glass at its peak of popularity. A Closer Look at Depression Glass - Get an overview of the origin of Depression glass along with lots of useful tips for collectors.

Pink Depression Glass - Information on another very popular Depression glass color. The picture to the left shows this color evident in the thick portion of a milk bottle underneath the line pointing out the valve mark that dates between and based on the makers mark for the Pacific Coast Glass Company Toulouse Click Cloverdale Dairy Co. This colorless "color" can be very diagnostic of a machine-made bottle made from about to typically no later than the s Giarde ; Lockhart b; empirical observations.

The straw tinted colorless glass in bottles does show up frequently in later mouth-blown bottles although such can be found occasionally in bottles from the midth century. Click French mustard bottle to view an s era bottle with a faint straw cast - evident at the heel - to the otherwise colorless glass.

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Selenium was the best decolorizer for glass made in open glass tanks versus the earlier closed pots which was used with most all automatic bottle machines. Such glass can also be irradiated to produce a medium yellowish brown color which looks abnormal for glass color empirical observations. One can be quite confident that if the fragment is colorless with a slight straw tint, it very likely is from a machine-made bottle, unlikely to date from much prior to World War 1 i.

Conversely, a colorless fragment with a slight amethyst tint is quite likely to date to or prior to World War 1 and is more likely than not to be from a mouth-blown bottle. Bottles with a grayish tint seem to date between an although numerous examples outside that range have been noted by the author Giarde ; empirical observations. Generally speaking, bottles of colorless glass were relatively uncommon prior to the s but became quite common after the wide spread use of automatic bottle machines in the mid to late s Kendrick ; Toulouse a; Fike ; U.

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Nothing is absolute in these date range estimates, but they are believed to have reasonably high reliability; other contextual information or evidence should be used also. Be aware that non-glass bottle products e. Keep this in mind if trying to identify glass fragments which may be from bottles or other non-container glassware. Bill Lockhart's Historical Archaeology journal article from is available on this website at the link below.

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This is by far the best reference on the subject! Lockhart, Bill.

A glass or antiques expert can verify the age of the glass. Valuable antique glass is characterized by signs of wear, defects and rough mold edges. Antique glass typically shows signs of wear on its base and in any gilded decorations. Different types of small scratches at varying depths indicate the glass was used over a long period of time. Diagnostic/Dating Utility: Aqua is a very common color in all types of American made bottles that date prior to the s back at least to for U.S. made bottles; even earlier for European made bottles though even there, aqua glass bottles were not common .

Historical Archaeology 40 2 Aqua Aquamarine. This color - like all the colors that follow - had many subtle variations and shades. The "gothic" or "cathedral" style pickle bottle ca. Shades of aqua are the most common color for these utilitarian food bottles which were a common stylistic design particularly between the s and s though some examples date before or after that period.

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The term aqua is a preferred by this website shorthand version of the term aquamarine. Use of modifying terminology is frequently employed to make more precise the color shape, intensity, or hue. For example, the fruit jar pictured below right would be considered deep blue aqua. Aqua glass is a "natural" result of the iron impurities found in most sands.

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It is very rare maybe unknown that sand does not contain some traces of iron. Sand deposits with very low iron content were - and probably still are - a highly valued commodity.

Although good quality sand was plentiful in the Eastern United States, some was still being imported from Belgium for Western American glass factories as late as the s. Aqua glass is the result of sand which is relatively low in the amount of iron which was not off-set by de-colorizing agents as noted in the colorless glass discussion above.

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Higher levels of iron produce darker greens, black glass, and even amber. Natural aqua glass was often called "green glass," "bottle glass," or "bottle glass green" by glass makers Kendrick ; White Different shades of aqua and the related blue-green colors which are often observed in the same bottles blown in the same mold may be explained - at least in part - by the following information quoted from Dr.

This excerpt is making reference to some of the effects - desired or not - that occur when mixing and melting glass. It also points out one of the many complexities inherent in producing desired glass colors:.

Little was known about the influence of the flame. A "reducing" flame, or one with less oxygen supplied for burning, might produce a bluish-green because the iron in the sand might then be reduced to one of the bluer iron oxides - an excess of air might make the oxidized green iron oxides predominate.

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Early glassmakers knew little about this. Thus a fire banked for the night and with the air intake flues closed down, could produce quite blue glass for the morning's start, and change slowly during the day when the air vents were opened wide for a hotter flame.

Click 1st or 2nd century Roman aqua "unguentarium bottle" to see such a bottle in aqua glass, though it is so patinated that it is hard to see the actual glass color.

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One significant exception to this dating is soda bottles, e. Another notable exception is that many fruit jars were also made well into the the s in aqua though colorless glass probably became the majority color by that time. For example Ball fruit jars were made in a distinct "Ball blue" from at least until at least the late s and even later for some specialty items Creswick The picture to the above left shows two sizes quart and pint of Ball's very popular Perfect Mason fruit jar.

This color is light but a more intense blue than blue aqua but does not quite fit the other color groups described below; thus its coverage here. Inthe Ball Company was making This market domination during the first half of the 20th century explains the commonness of these fruit jars today and in historical sites from the early s through the Great Depression.

Opaque White or Milk Glass. Opaque white glass - commonly called milk glass but sometimes called opal or white glass - was typically produced by the addition of tin or zinc oxide, fluorides fluorsparand phosphates Illinois Glass Co. In a sense, milk glass the preferred term on this website is like colorless glass in that it is defined by the absence of color, except in this case the bottle is truly not "clear".

An interesting feature of most milk glass is that very thin milk glass i.

Many antique lovers use long wave black lights to date objects and test for authenticity. Some clues to age or telltale signs of repair aren't easily visible to the naked eye but will be thanks to fluorescence under ultraviolet light. While it's not the end-all answer in antique authentication and dating. Determining the age of antiques is half the fun! Learn 10 specific steps to establishing an accurate age for your antique furniture. A single piece of antique furniture is more than a collection of nails, boards, and wood stain. Antique furnishings can tell a story one that may only exist in the imagination of the lucky person acquiring the piece. Guide to Assist in the Identification of Antique Spectacles. - Early 20th Century. During most of this period, eyeglass frames were individually handmade and newer models appeared in quick succession. The guidelines below represent the period of common use of these design elements, however they are not all-inclusive. Much remains.

Milk glass production was also reputedly hard on the longevity of glass melting tanks and pots so was avoided by some glass factories. A typical cosmetic bottle example is the Owl Drug Company lotion and likely other cosmetic products bottle above which dates from the around Jensen ; Fike Many of the milk glass druggist style or type bottles like discussed next were most likely for that particular druggist's cosmetic products as milk glass was well linked with cosmetics in customers minds Fike ; Cannon Another often encountered milk glass bottle is pictured to the right.

It is embossed with PROF. It is faintly embossed on the base with W. Millville, NJ. The noted base marking orientation dates the bottle between about and Lockhart et al.

The concept is that the higher the side mold seam on the bottle the later it was made - at least in the era from the early to mid 19th century until the first few decades of the 20th century. This dating tool was apparently devised by Grace Kendrick in her book "The Antique Bottle Collector. Dating antique bottles requires knowledge of the evolution of bottle technology and the ability to research manufacturers and bottling companies. Although glass bottles have been made for a few thousand years, it was not until the 19th century that bottle use became common, coinciding with the industrial revolution. The earliest known use of glass vessels was by the Ancient Egyptians dating back to 1, BCE. Archaeological evidence collected from this era contains many glass coated artifacts. Are those allegedly antique apothecary bottles you bought at the flea market at a .

Click more information on Hubert's Malvina Lotion to view the discussion on the "Household Bottles" typology page. Milk glass was infrequently used for ink bottles, bitters, non-cosmetic medicinals, liquor, and sometimes even fruit and food jars primarily during the late 19th and early 20th century. It was rarely used for bottles prior to abouti.

An interesting ct of some milk glass is that it was made with manganese dioxide in the glass batch. This interesting milk glass will react to sunlight - as described in the colorless glass section above - producing a milky lavender color. This has primarily been observed in cold cream and other cosmetic jars from the first couple decades of the 20th century, though it is seen in occasional bottles.

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It sometimes appears that the lavender color was produced purposefully with a UV light or radiation so it is not always possible to differentiate between sun colored and intentionally colored lavender milk glass.

There are probably more different shades of green to be found in bottles than any other color. It rivals the multitude of amber glass variations which, as noted next below, can grade into various greens. Iron, chromium, and copper all produce different green glass. Chromium oxide will produce yellowish green under oxidizing conditions and emerald green under reducing conditions in the glass furnace Dillon Reducing and oxidizing furnace conditions was briefly discussed earlier in the under aqua glass section.

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Combinations such as cobalt blue mixed with chromium green will, not surprisingly, produce blue-green glass Kendrick ; Munsey Just as there were many ways to produce different green glasses, there are endless naming variations for the green colors, e. As in describing all bottle colors, modifiers are useful in clarifying the specific greens.

For example, the flask to the left would be considered a medium blue-green with a slight slant towards the green end. This early American New England flask has an eagle motif on one side, a Masonic emblem on the reverse, and was produced ca.

The mineral water to the right could be described as medium to dark emerald green. This color is distinctive to mineral water bottles blown at the Congressville NY Glassworks and it and some subtle variations are known to collectors as "Congressville" green. This distinctive style of bottle is often referred to as a "Saratoga" style Tucker Compare this color to the medium blue-green with a slant towards green flask in the upper left corner of this box.

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This bottle was produced during the era when applied finishes dominated, though it has an usual - for the time - tooled finish. The flask below left has a color that could be described as clear yellow-green or possibly light to medium emerald green.

The bottle just to the left is an example of what some call citron after the color of the fruit of that name. This color is generally a " brilliant greenish yellow " like the pictured bottle though citron is sometimes described as a " brilliant Another description would be " pale yellowish green with a slight golden cast " Spurgeon The most commonly accepted definition of citron would be the first description above and more or less the color of this bottle.

It is embossed with Clement's Tonic American or Australian and likely dates between and Citron is somewhat of a color bridge between the greens described here and the olive greens described next. A set of three sizes of these late mouth-blown era druggist bottles are shown to the right; click to enlarge. It is a color that was little if any used in the 20th century and only occasionally shows up in other types non mineral water of bottles, and then primarily 19th century items.

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