EAPG (EARLY AMERICAN PATTERN GLASS)
The term “EAPG” (Early American Pattern Glass) is applied to pressed glass tableware (occasionally including some blown glassware), made in sets, made within the United States primarily in the period 1850-1915, and carrying some type of recognizable pattern (motif, theme or design raised in the glass) that was repeated, often with some slight variations, from piece to piece. Some EAPG “sets” may have consisted of only a very few pieces, such as the “basic four” or “table set”: sugar bowl, creamer, spooner (spoonholder) and butter dish.
Other glass pieces that are classed together with “EAPG” were made in only one form, such as certain ornamental toothpick holders, match safes, mugs, and other “whimseys” and “novelty ware”.
Most of this type of tableware was (originally) relatively inexpensive, and was commonly purchased and used primarily by the “middle class” segment of society.
The heyday of “Early American Pattern Glass” (sometimes called “Early American Pressed Glass”), would be the 1875-1900 period, although a very few patterns were introduced as early as the 1830s or 1840s.
EAPG began to fall out of favor in the 1910s. In the late 1920s, a “new” type of pattern glass, now collectively termed “Depression Glass” came into wide favor with the buying public.
The majority of EAPG is found in clear glass, but many other colors are found. During the height of popularity of colored EAPG ( the 1880s), many pieces were made in blue, amber, yellow (“canary” or “vaseline glass”), and some in a light to medium “apple green”, as well as in clear. The colors varied somewhat in hue or intensity from manufacturer to manufacturer.
An increasing amount of EAPG (along with bottles, insulators, fruit jars and other types of collectible antique glass) has been artificially altered by irradiation in recent years, turning the clear glass to some shade of medium to very dark purple. (A very tiny percentage of EAPG patterns may have been made originally in some shade of amethyst glass, but most of the glass now commonly encountered in this color has been altered). Artificially color-altered glass is considered “damaged” by most serious collectors or students of EAPG who are especially interested in the provenance, history and original as-made colors found in EAPG. Please check out this page with more information on altered glass: Artifically Purpled Glass.
It is estimated that anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 individually discernable EAPG patterns may exist, although many of them are only known by one or two pieces, and alot of the lesser-known patterns do not have names that are universally agreed upon by collectors.
EAPG was made by hundreds of glass manufacturers in the US. Many of them were located in the Pittsburgh, PA area, which had the reputation of being the “glass center” of the US during the 1870s and 1880s.
Very large quantities of this pressed glass were churned out during it’s heyday, although a large percentage of it is now no longer available, due to the ravages of time, including typical breakage and sometimes intentional discarding during the many years since its production.
Some of the more commonly-seen patterns would be Daisy & Button, Two Panel, Three Panel, Wildflower, Thousand Eye, Hobnail, Willow Oak, and many, many others. Daisy & Button is probably the best known (or most easily recognized) pattern dating from the EAPG era, but it, like many others, has been VERY heavily reproduced for many years .
A great website with tons of good in-depth information on EAPG would be Elaine Henderson’s site here: http://Patternglass.com .
Another wonderful site, written by EAPG collector/historian Phyllis Petcoff, is here, and heartily recommended:
And yet another website with great information, and LOTS of beautiful photos, by Pattern Glass editor Dori Miles: EAPGPatterns.com.
Grace Guido’s website on EAPG, with lots of nice glassware for sale: AmericanPatternGlass.com.
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