The International Carnival Glass Association convention is just around the corner. It will be held Wednesday, July 10 thru Saturday July 13, 2019 at the Airport Holiday Inn, 6111 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, Iowa. For registration information visit the web site – http://www.internationalcarnivalglass.com/icga-convention. This is a great opportunity to see unique examples of carnival glass from the United States as well as other countries, learn from long time collectors and experts, shop an outstanding auction and get to know really great people.
If you don’t know what “Carnival Glass” is a brief simple explanation follows. Carnival glass is basically pressed glass that has been iridizsed. The hot glass is pressed into a mould where it takes the form of the mold. It is taken from the mold and sprayed with a coating of liquid metallic salts which gives it an iridescent lustre.
This method of creating glass dates back to Roman times. “Nothing new under the sun” as it says in Ecclesiastes. In 1907 Louis Comfort Tiffany revived the process and the popularity of the glass continued from there. However, Tiffany glass was expensive and his method of making the different colors a secret. Carnival glass however, could be made cheaper. Some referred to it as the “poor man’s Tiffany” and other names included Iridill, Imperial Art Glass, Taffeta, Lustre Glass, Aurora Glass, New Venetian Art Glass, Art Iridescent, Baking Powder Glass and Nancy Glass. It was most popular between 1905-1925 with “new carnival’ after 1930 and reissues of old patterns in the 1960’s. Becoming familiar with the colors and weight will help you identify whether it is old or new. Old is generally lighter.
America was not the only country producing carnival glass. It was made in Great Britain (I actually bought a piece there), Australia, Finland, Czechslovakia, Sweden, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, China, Peru and India and more recently Mexico.
This is a good time to buy carnival glass as well as other collectibles of that period as the market is soft and good buys can be found in antique malls, shops, and on line e-commerce websites. Facebook also has a carnival glass group where you can see some really fine examples of the glass and occasionally find some for sale.
What do I like most about carnival glass? It’s hard to say but it would have to be the delicacy of many of the patterns, the fact some pieces have one pattern on the front and another on the back and the various colors including rare ones which go for high prices.
On Saturday of the convention, Seeck Auction will be auctioning a collection of carnival glass. Visit their website for more details.
I wanted to include photos of some of my favorite pieces, but cannot get photos to upload. Some days it is called “technically” challenged.
The historical information in this article was collected from various carnival glass books including The Standard Encyclopedia of Carnival Glass and publications over the years from ICGA.