After “What pattern is this?” the most common question I get as a devotee of Early American Pattern Glass (EAPG) is this—“What books should I buy to help me identify EAPG patterns?” Sometimes the question comes from people trying to figure out which EAPG book they should buy as their first book. Sometimes, it’s from individuals who have some EAPG books and are now trying to decide what other books to add to their libraries.
The answer to that question depends on what you want or need in a book. Can you figure out patterns from a sketch or do you need photos to be able to identify a piece? Are values important, or do you just want to know what the pattern is and who made it? Do you mind flipping through alphabetical listings, or would you prefer a book organized by design motif?
A single book may not meet all your needs, so consider what combination of books may get you the information you seek. If I had to pick only one book to own from my Guide to EAPG Books (PDF—requires Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is free and available to download), I couldn’t do it. But, if I could pick two, it would be McCain’s Field Guide to Pattern Glass and either Jenks & Luna’s Early American Pattern Glass 1850 - 1910 or Reilly & Jenks’ Early American Pattern Glass Collector’s Identification & Price Guide. That’s because I look at design motif, so I generally look at McCain first. The sketches in her Field Guide are quite detailed and better than earlier versions. Since I sometimes have a hard time telling patterns from drawings, a book with good, clear photos to verify the pattern is a must for me. I usually go to Jenks & Luna second. I like the cross-referencing in both McCain and Jenks & Luna that allows me to easily find the patterns in other books I own. Last, those authors have excellent reputations for good research and reliable information.
Guide to EAPG Books Chart
Each of the books on my chart (requires PDF to view) has at least one excellent feature to make it worth owning. In many cases, there are downsides to the book as well. The Kamm books, One Hundred Pattern Glass Pitchers 1—8, are quite dated but they have very detailed descriptions—great for when you aren’t 100% certain if you have identified the right pattern. Heacock was an incredible researcher. His Encyclopedia of Victorian Colored Glass 1—7 and 9 (Volume #8 was not published) books created new interest in EAPG in the 70s and 80s and are still the standard today. I find myself reaching for Book 5 on U.S. Glass patterns on a regular basis. Lee’s books, Early American Pressed Glass Patterns, Sandwich Glass Handbook, and Victorian Glass Handbook, cover many of earliest patterns, often overlooked by other authors. I will admit, however, that I find the way her books are organized makes them difficult for me to use.
The photos in Mordock & Adams’ Pattern Glass Mugs and in the Metz books, Early American Pattern Glass and Much More Early American Pattern Glass, are much easier on the eyes than the sketches used by McCain, Lee and Kamm. Bob Batty’s A Complete Guide to Pressed Glass book is actually a continuation of Kamm’s work. Batty used Kamm’s notes for her never-completed Book 9 plus his own research to create this book. I have a fondness for the Batty book because I found a pattern in it that was driving me crazy forever! It was the only place I ever found it. (He doesn’t know who made it either, but it felt good just to find it somewhere. He calls it Crescent City. They won’t let me print what I was calling it until I found it in that book!)
The older the book, the higher the chances are that the information is incorrect or that new information has been found since the book was published. A notorious example is Goblets II, in which Millard calls the same intricate pattern by three different names in the same book! He called J. B. Higbee’s Alfa pattern Rexford in one place, Euclid in another and Boylan in a third. Admittedly, it does look different from different angles, but gee! However, the photos in his books are nice and clear and are good to check against other sources.
A book does not have to be old to have errors. The first edition of the Edwards & Carwile Standard Encyclopedia of Pressed Glass had so many errors, EAPG collectors actually published an on-line list of the mistakes and oversights. The 2003 edition has corrected the vast majority of these issues but it’s always good to double-check the pattern you’ve found with a second source. I like the photos in this book—large and clear enough to see details of the patterns.
I left out a few titles—mainly books that I don’t find as useful as the ones on my list. I am sure some readers will take me to task for leaving them out, particularly McKearin’s American Glass, which is a classic and chock full of information, but not one I reach for very often. Kyle Husfloen’s 1992 book on American Pressed Glass is a great overview with a good section on the “lacy period” and another on flint glass, but not as useful to identify patterns as the books on my list. There are some older Wallace-Homestead price guides that have sketches of most, but not all, of the patterns they list—which I find very frustrating. They list some of the more obscure patterns so you may want to pick them up if you see them at a bargain price.
Stout’s Complete Book of McKee Glass contains some of the only information available on the extensive Pres-Cut line. I didn’t include it because it focuses on one company rather than presenting patterns from a variety of companies. It’s a great book. Another very informative book is Identifying Pattern Glass Reproductions by Jenks, Luna and Reilly. Published in 1993, it doesn’t cover the most recent repros. However, earlier reproductions are covered in minute details with accompanying photos for 200 different EAPG patterns. Both of these titles are out of print, so expect to pay a premium price for either book.
EAPG is a huge field. New information about patterns is constantly being discovered. In my experience, no one book can cover it all. But some combination of the books on this list will help you find most of the patterns you are looking for and help you enjoy the fabulous array of designs in this wonderful old glass.
PLEASE NOTE: These photos can be printed for your own collection files, but are not to be used for any Internet auction listings, websites, or any other commercial purposes. The photos provided for this article are from the personal collection of the author or with permission from the owner.
by paddyandmax Max
Here is a fun site that I found quite some time ago but recently had cause to revisit. The site is for the hand decorated Ransburg pottery and kitchenware items. It has a little bit of history, a chat board that requires registration and a fun little product identifier. This link will take you to the site, then click on the blue link there for the Product Identifier. Be patient because it takes a little while to load, especially with a dial-up connection, but it is worth it. It identifies both metal household items and stoneware by Shape, Color and Pattern and “builds” the product in the display window so you can see the result. NIFTY!
Decorative cookie jars first appeared on the American scene during the Depression years of the early 1930s when housewives began baking more cookies at home instead of buying them at the local bakery. Once baked, cookies had to be stored in a container that kept them handy and fresh. Soon, attractive pottery or glass cookie jars quickly found favor over the make-do containers such as oatmeal boxes or coffee tins. Glass companies began marketing their covered pretzel or biscuit jars as cookie jars. Early pottery cookie jars were usually simple and made in either a cylinder or bean pot shape. Many were made of stoneware with painted decoration applied to the outside, either under the glaze or cold painted over the glaze. Figural cookie jars of people, animals, fruits, vegetables, and other objects began to be produced in the early 1940s. These figural cookie jars set the stage for collecting. The greatest output of American pottery cookie jars occurred from the 1940s to the mid 1970s.
My cookie jar collection is still in the beginning stage but continues to grow as I find more and more cookie jars at estate sales and garage sales. My first cookie jar was one that I made in a college art class in the 1960s. Years later, my mother gave me a Roseville cookie jar that was a wedding gift to her in 1945. That cookie jar is my most prized one, not only for its actual value, but also its personal value.
Two years ago, my husband found an unmarked red apple cookie jar that is believed to be made by Hull. Then, I found its yellow mate recently at an estate sale and inside it was a note that it had been given to its original owner in the 1940s. I have several McCoy cookie jars from the 1970s. McCoy produced many cookie jars so it is easy to find them at garage sales. I have a Fostoria American glassware cookie jar because I also collect this glassware. And since I am from Georgia, the home of Coca Cola, I must have a Coca Cola cookie jar. Then I have a variety of other cookie jars from various makers and bought just because I liked them and I found them at a bargain. Also, there are several Christmas cookie jars because Christmas and cookies go together.
Why am I collecting cookie jars? First, because I like them. Second, because they remind me of my own mother's cookie baking. Third, because I looked around one day and realized that I had a collection. Yes, I also bake cookies but I don't store cookies in my cookie jars. Displaying my cookie jars is becoming a challenge as I acquire more and more. Several are displayed as canisters on my kitchen countertops and others are displayed on shelves in the breakfast room. Then I rotate some of them according to the season. Like most other collectors, I need more display space.
Cookie jar collecting is fun as my husband and I find more and more of them. They can be found in antique stores, at auctions, and at estate and garage sales. Hundreds of them in all shapes, types, ages and by many makers can be found daily on eBay. Cookie jars just remind me of when I would come home from school to a glass of milk and a plate of fresh baked cookies at my mother's kitchen table.
These days, most of the high-priced activity in Depression era glass seems to be in the Elegant Glass category. We were pleasantly surprised to find this great item from one of the classic Depression Glass patterns. This rare blue nut bowl in the Royal Lace pattern by Hazel Atlas sold on eBay for $1,526.99. Our congratulations to eBay seller lwellsaa on this great sale!
It happens every day! You anticipate receiving an item you won at auction. It arrives, and you open the box to see...pottery shards or slivers of glass!
Have you noticed how some auction photos just seem to scream “BUY ME!” while others are so fuzzy and far away you’re not sure what is being offered?
We share a few practical tips on photo taking and packing to help you get that item safely to your buyer! Our GPSA website offers a more in-depth look at valuable packing and photo tips. Please visit and have a look around!
- Packing Peanuts - Highly Recommended. Packing peanuts are one of the best packaging materials available today for absorbing shock. These recycle beautifully and do not wear out. They may break to pieces as they absorb impact, but whole peanuts can be used again and again. Static, antistatic, or starch-based all seem to work equally well for glass and pottery items. Please, use caution with starch-based peanuts, these do dissolve in water.
- Air Pillows - Not highly recommended as a substitute for packing peanuts due to the risk of popping. Use with caution.
- wgpaul was having the darndest time trying to get a photo which showed that the face of this owl paperweight was a separate clear piece. He tried photos on white and royal blue backgrounds, he tried with and without flash and with every setting he could think of with no luck. Finally, he tried some mint green paper which provided just enough contrast without making it too contrasty. He used flash and it washed most of the color out, letting the details show.
No reserve clearance sales, less than ONE DOLLAR!
GPSA sellers are still listing clearance items. All items start at an opening bid of 99¢. Don’t miss this opportunity to pick up a bargain from one of our reliable GPSA sellers! All sellers abide by the GPSA guidelines found on our home page.
Find a bargain! Deals and Steals!
To see Shazaam listings at any time, click here. Check back often — sellers add items all the time!
We’re so happy to have you join us!!
The following eBay sellers became GPSA members in October 2004. As members of the GPSA, they have committed to upholding the standards of the Glass & Pottery Sellers’ Association.
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