Ruby Stained Glass
A Popular Souvenir Item
Ruby stained glass is clear, colorless pressed glass which has been painted, or stained, with a thin layer of red material. Production of this glass began about 1875, but most of the dated pieces now found are from the 1890 to 1910 period.
It was a popular souvenir item and pieces were often etched with the name of a person, place, date or event. The demand for souvenir pieces increased after it was bought by thousands at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
It was all the rage by 1898 when the Omaha Exposition was held. Many pieces are also found from the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904; and the Lewis and Clark Centennial in Portland in 1905.
It continued to be an exceedingly popular souvenir at carnivals, fairs and resorts as late as the 1940s.
Several glass companies were producing the pressed glass used for ruby staining, including, Greensburg Glass, Gill?ander & Sons, McKee and Brothers, Heisey, Northwood, Tarentum, the U.S. Glass Co., Duncan and Miller, and Westmoreland.
Several thousand clear glass patterns were distributed by these factories. Most of it was of heavy, excellent quality. These blanks were then sold to other factories that specialized in decorating them.
Button Arches is considered by many to be the most popular of the ruby-stained patterns, but Daisy and Button, Ruby Thumbprint, Plume, Roman Rosette and Red Block are also very well known.
Table settings in these patterns were highly prized by housewives during the heyday of ruby-stained glass. Some of the items collectors can expect to find include plates, cups and saucers, tumblers, goblets, syrup pitchers, cake stands, lemonade sets, vinegar cruets and many more.
The souvenir items are usually smaller and often carry inscriptions. Their selling price is usually less than that of tableware pieces.
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