Depression Glass Roadshow Coming To Coats History Museum

Framed original painting to be given away

There’s a roadshow coming to town and it’s time to go digging in the attic to find treasures for identification — glass treasure that is.

Myrtle Bridges of the Barclaysville community will bring her “Depression Glass Roadshow” to the Coats History Museum on Saturday. The event will start at 1 p.m. and last until the last piece of glass is identified.

Also on Saturday, Mrs. Bridges, who is a painter and has some pieces displayed at the museum, will raffle off a framed piece of artwork she recently painted and was named “Reflections” by museum volunteers.

Antique Depression glass is machine-pressed, tinted glassware that was mass produced in the United States from the late 1920s through the 1930s. This was during the world’s economic depression, hence the glassware’s name.

Depression glass comes in various patterns and in different colors, including pink, green, light blue, Ritz blue (or cobalt), pale yellow and crystal. There are numerous patterns with such names as American Sweetheart, Homespun, Cherry Blossom, Bubble Pattern, Georgian, Cameo, Holiday, Mayfair, Iris, Horseshoe and Aurora.

Myrtle Bridges of the Barclaysville community holds a cereal box label which is among the items displayed in her Depression glass collection at the Coats History Museum. These pieces were often given away in cereal and laundry detergent boxes.

“I got into this in probably 1971,” Mrs. Bridges said. “I picked up a piece at my grandfather’s estate sale. It was just a little pink vase with handles — I just thought it was pretty. I started seeing it around at different places and started buying it, so I have plenty of it. The pink is what I zeroed in on so I have more of the pink.”

Mrs. Bridges now has a large collection and has provided some pieces to the Coats History Museum which are arranged in a display case.

“I have four cabinets full plus what’s down here,” Mrs. Bridges said. “Plus, my husband built shelves over the windows. I’ve got a museum.”

Depression glass was given away for free back in the 1930s or was affordable so that everyone could get some.

“They were just freebies,” Mrs. Bridges said. “They put it in detergent and in oatmeal.”

Mrs. Bridges will be there Saturday to look at Depression glass brought in by museum visitors and she will have close to 50 books for people to look through to find their glass pieces.

She will show visitors how they may tell the difference between an authentic piece of Depression glass and a reproduction.

The real pieces have four seams going down the glass versus two seams on a reproduction, Mrs. Bridges said.

“A reproduction is a whole ounce heavier,” she said.

Which is real Depression glass and which is the reproduction? Can you guess? The one on the right is the authentic piece. It has four seams going down the glass, versus two seams on the reproduction. The reproduction is also quite a bit heavier. Also, since this piece is uranium green, it glows when you shine a light up to the piece.

Also, some pieces of Depression glass, mainly the green pieces, contain uranium, and will glow under a black light or if you shine a flashlight on them.

“There’s a blue, a powder blue, a beautiful shade, that will turn too,” Mrs. Bridges said.

“It [uranium] was added to a glass mix before melting for coloration,” Mrs. Bridges said. “Uranium glass fluoresces bright green under ultraviolet light. Most pieces of uranium glass are considered to be harmless.”

The Coats History Museum is located at 109 S. McKinley St., Coats. For more information, call 910-897-2525.

If you are unable to go by on Saturday at 1 p.m., you can see Mrs. Bridges’ displayed collection at the museum on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sundays from 2 until 5 p.m. and by appointment. Story and photos courtesy The Daily Record