What is Carnival glass?

If you read my recent blog about sales of carnival glass, you may not know what carnival glass is or why it’s called carnival glass.  Carnival glass is a pressed and iridized glass manufactured between 1905-1930.  It was initially called “New Venetian Art”, “Aurora”, or “Art Iridescent”.  It was also known as the poor man’s Tiffany glass! The strongest period for carnival glass was 1908 to 1919. After the stock market crashed and there was little market for glass.  Therefore, in order to liquidate their stock, manufacturers sold the glass to companies for use as promotional merchandise.  It was given away in cereal boxes, at gas stations and as prizes at carnivals.  Carnival glass was produced in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Finland, Czechslovakia, Sweden, Argentine and Mexico.  The primary manufacturers in the US were Dugan/Diamond Glass Company, Fenton, Imperial, Millersburg, and Northwood. Other companies who produced small amounts of carnival glass included Cambridge, Jenkins Glass, Westmoreland, Fostoria, Heisey, McKee-Jeanette Glass Co., L. E. Smith and U. S. Glass.    Today the rarer colors sell for the thousands of dollars.  Red is rare.  Marigold, blue, amethyst, and green are the most common colors.  To identify the true color of the glass hold it up to the light and look from the inside of the piece.  The true color will be what is inside the bottom of the piece.  Some pieces have two patterns, one on the inside and another on the outside! The “electric” iridescence is more scarce than the satin, radium, pastel and opalescent.  Electric iridescence has three elements–it is brilliant, shiny and has a mirror finish.  Not all carnival glass is marked. Newer carnival glass made by Imperial is marked.   Northwood marked much of its glass with an initial “N” in a circle.  For more information on carnival glass visit the International Carnival Glass Association website.

About askbeverly

Who am I? I am an individual who values the contents of people's homes for a variety of reasons. I'm called a "personal property appraiser" and certified by the International Society of Appraisers which requires educational courses, examinations, keeping up with current tax laws and every two years taking a course called the Uniform Standards of Personal Property Appraisals. Every five years, I am required to keep up my ISA certification by proving I have a minimum of 100 personal property development credits - that's course hours and actual research time spend on appraisal work. As a long time collector I have turned a hobby into a profession and for the last 22 years worked as an independent appraiser. My specialties include china, pottery, sterling silver, crystal and glassware, costume jewelry, Carnival Glass, Belleek Irish porcelain, collectibles and furniture. Why do you need an appraisal? The purpose of an appraisal may be for obtaining insurance, probate of an estate, equitable division of an estate or divorce, or a damage claim. I also give lectures on several different topics to antique clubs, provide consultations in person, by phone and through email. No my service is not free! But I will also advise you if I believe it is in your best interest to do research on your own if you just want an idea of what something is worth rather than pay for an appraisal.

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