Once placed in boxes of laundry detergent or given away at movies, milk glass today is a popular collector's item. Opaque white or tinted blue, light green or pale pink, many pieces of milk glass do not have distinguishing markings. Produced in both Europe and the United States, items with the same design may be made by different makers. For collectors, it is essential to identify hallmarks, distinguish reproductions from replicas and opt for quality originals. Familiarize yourself with the terminology and makers of milk glass.
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Founded in , the Westmoreland Glass Company produced glass for almost a century, with the majority of production in Grapeville, Pennsylvania between and By the time the company closed in , Westmoreland produced approximately 90 percent of milk glass in white and other colors. According to art glass author Gene Florence, the best-known Westmoreland milk glass patterns include English hobnail and paneled grape. New collectors will learn a lot in their quest for Westmoreland milk glass. Learn to recognize milk glass by pattern. Gene Florence notes that Westmoreland made more than different pieces of the paneled grape pattern. This pattern has heavily decorated pieces with prominent raised clusters of grapes and leaves.
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One of the most iconic pieces of farmhouse styled decor has to be vintage blue glass mason jars, and particularly, the ones made by the Ball Corporation. Their distinct color of teal blue glass is also very trendy these days, making these treasures more valuable than ever. I started collecting Ball mason jars in , well before they were as hotly pursued as they are today. Back then, I could often find them at thrift stores, garage sales, and on Craigslist. Today, however, it's increasingly a rare surprise to find them outside of an antique store.
It is very easy to confuse the two. To help you tell them apart, milk glass is more translucent than platonite, and platonite is usually marked "HA" on the bottom. Hazel Atlas platonite is also a collectible, so even if you make this mistake, it's not a bad one to make. This milk glass political plate features the profile of President William McKinley.