I recently had a young client who indicated that she is starting a collection of white milk glass! I was delighted, as I fondly remember that my mother had several pieces in our home in the 50’s. So I thought you might enjoy a bit of an introduction to antique and collectible milk glass.
Milk glass was first made in Venice in the 16th century, and produced in a variety of colors including blue, pink, yellow, brown, black, and white. 19th century glass makers called milky white opaque glass “opal glass”. The name milk glass is relatively recent. The white color is achieved through the addition of an opacifier, tin dioxide or bone ash. During the 20th century, also known as the American Gilded Age, milk glass was synonymous with the cultural prosperity of the wealthy American culture. Milk glass made in the gilded Age still remains some of the best ever made. Today, milk glass remains a popular collectable for collectors of all ages. Milk glass was manufactured by several prestigious glass companies including Fenton, Westmoreland, and Atterbury Glass Companies. The peak of popularity was probably between 1895-1910, but the 1940’s and 50’s experienced a big milk glass revival. As in every aspect of collecting, educating yourself on your collecting passions is most important.
Take care when learning to distinguish new milk glass from old! Look at documented pieces of older glass in reference books and catalogs. Look at as many pieces as possible at antique shows and ask questions of the dealers. Note details about older patterns in comparison with the new. I recommend that you might want to have a look at the following books on collecting milk glass. They will be valuable references!
The Milk Glass Book by James Slater and Frank Chiareuza, Milk Glass:Imperial Glass Corporation by Myrna and Bob Garrison, and Collectors Encyclopedia of Milk Glass by Betty and Bob Newbound
Hopefully these lovely pieces of white milk glass might inspire you to start such a collection!
Hobnail patterned milk glass is my absolute favorite!
These small individual vases are a great alternative to large centerpieces!
I also love these ‘lace’ pieces!