Carnival glass

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Carnival Glass from
The Glass Encyclopedia

A short explanation of Carnival Glass:

Carnival Glass is pressed glass which has an iridized surface treatment. It is made by exposing the newly formed hot pressed glass to sprays, fumes and vapours from heated metallic oxides. These form a lustrous coating at the surface of the glass. It looks as if it has rainbows on it, like the coloured patterns sometimes seen when petrol floats on water; like the rainbow colours on the surface of a soap bubble. What you are actually seeing are light intereference patterns produced by constantly shifting wavelengths.

The name "Carnival Glass" was not used originally by the manufacturers, who had all kinds of names for it like "Iridill" and "Rainbow Lustre". When the market for carnival glass slumped in the twenties, second-quality carnival glass was given away as prizes at carnivals, hence the name.

It was first produced on a large scale by the newly-established Fenton Art Glass Company, of Williamstown, West Virginia, in 1908. Carnival Glass was also made by several US companies, including Fenton Art Glass, The Northwood Glass Company in Wheeling, West Virginia, Imperial Glass in Ohio; Westmoreland from Pennsylvania; Dugan(later Diamond) in Indiana, Pennsylvania; and Millersburg, in Ohio.

The rage for Carnival Glass in the US continued for ten years (1908 to about 1918), and the last of the original US producers, Dugan/Diamond Glass Company of Indiana, Pennsylvania, continued production until1931. But the market for this type of glass had already moved overseas, and US companies were exporting Carnival glass to Europe, Canada, Australia, and other countries during the 1920's. Carnival Glass was not, so far as we know, produced in the USA between 1931 and the 1950's

It continued to be made in Europe through the 1920's and 1930's; it was made in Australia in the 1930's; and in South America (Argentina) in the 1930's. Very little was made anywhere in the 1930's and 1940's.

During the 1950's collectors became interested in Carnival Glass, so much so that it became economically worthwhile for glass manufacturers to start making it again, specifically for collectors.

If you are looking for carnival glass, you can usually find items on offer on ebay Click here to see Carnival Glass on eBay




For more information on our selection of books below, click on the book cover or title.


Non-American Carnival Glass 2006 Carwile Carnival Glass Collect Carnival Glass Art of carnival glass book Thistlewood Carnival Glass Thistlewood Carnival Glass book Carnival Glass book Best Carnival Glass Carnival Companion Northwood book Collecting Carnival glass Carnival Glass book Dugan glass book Doty Field Guide to Carnival Glass Pocket Guide to Carnival Glass Stretch glass book Warmans Carnival Glass book Imperial carnival glass book collect carnival book



Standard Companion to Non-American Carnival Glass (Jan 2006) by Bill Edwards and Mike Carwile. Covers carnival glass from Europe, Australia, Scandinavia and India.
Collector's Companion To Carnival Glass: Identification & Values (Feb 2005) by Bill Edwards & Mike Carwile.
Carnival Glass : The Magic and the Mystery (Revised version Jan 2007)(Schiffer Book for Collectors) by Glen and Steven Thistlewood
Dugan & Diamond Carnival Glass 1909-1931 : Identification & Value Guide (Dec 1998) by Carl and Carol Burns. Dugan and Diamond were major producers of Carnival Glass.
A Field Guide to Carnival Glass (Oct 98) by Dave Doty. A really excellent, easy-to-use aid to identifying carnival glass patterns.
Fenton Glass: the first 25 years (Dec 1990 with a 1998 price guide) by William Heacock. 144 pages about the people, the company, and the glass they made between 1905 and 1930. Fenton were one of the major producers of Carnival Glass in those early years. The book has numerous coloured pages showing hundreds of glass items.
Westmoreland Glass: Identification and value guide (Jun 96) by Chares West Wilson. the Westmoreland Glass company also made some carnival glass, although it was not a major part of their production.
Standard Encyclopedia of Carnival Glass 9th edition (June 2004) by Bill Edwards and Mike Carwile, an essential book with over 2000 patterns photographed in colour. There is a price guide, if a bit dated now.
Collecting Carnival glass (March 2002) by Marion Quentin-Baxendale. Revised edition, covers patterns identified by shape, colour and makers.
The Big Book of Fenton Glass: 1940-1970 (ept 1999) by John Walk. Covers the output from Fenton Art Glass Company, one of the most prolific producers of Carnival Glass over a long period.
American Iridescent Stretch Glass: Identification and Value Guide (July 98) by John Madeley and Dave Shetlar(new). Iridescent Stretch Glass is not strictly Carnival Glass, but it is very close!



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