DEPRESSION GLASS: AMERICA’S CHEAPEST DINNERWARE
Depression glass is one of the more easily found and popular antiques to collect. You’ll find it all over the place once you start to look, in antique stores, grandma’s house, Pinterest and Etsy. People like it because it's colorful and has a fancy flair.
But the real reason why it can be easy to find is because it was rapidly produced and distributed between 1920 and 1940, almost every American family had some. It came in a charming range of colors and patterns.
The glass was usually clear but a few of the more popular styles were done in an opaque milky color, which is where Milk Glass got its name. Although the Milk Glass you might know isn’t technically the same, it is a bit thicker, making it more valuable.
Depression Glass was cheap, manufacturing had developed to a point where mass quantities of a product could be produced for a low price. So low, that Depression Glass was often given away for FREE as an incentive to shop!
Movie theaters and gas stations would give away butter dishes and coffee cups if you supported their business.
Dining sets were given away as carnival prizes or as gifts when purchasing appliances. Pieces could also be bought at the five and dime store for as little as 5 cents. These days, collectors pay anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars for apiece.
The more common colors are the Sweetheart Pink, Ritz Blue, Golden Glo. There was also a large variety of styles with different pressed motifs. These styles mimicked finer cut crystal, that were used by the wealthy.
The designs were similar to the more expensive glassware that was being produced the decade before it, often very elegant with floral motifs. The sets would all have different names like Aurora, Block Optic, and Colonial.
There were about 20 different glass manufacturers during this time. The most notable being Anchor Hawking, Federal Glass Company, Indiana Glass Company, and Jeannette Glass Company. The manufacturers names are usually embossed into the bottom of the piece, which helps when identifying a collectable worthy piece.
A lot of Depression Glass was poorly made, it was being produced so quickly and for such a cheap price, refining the final product wasn’t a concern. When you look closely at a piece there are often small air bubbles or rough seams along the edges. Pieces with manufacturing blemishes are less attractive to collectors.
Today Depression Glass is becoming less widely available, but it can often be found in our shop! Our vendors come across a lot of Depression Glass and usually of good quality.
Pieces usually range between $5-$50 depending on the color, style, and function. Butter dishes happen to be one of the more coveted pieces. Jadeite, Canary, Delphite and Monax are more desirable colors. Come find a beautiful piece!
We wanted to take a moment and thank all of our wonderful customers for supporting us through this difficult time. While we remained closed during the COVID shut down we worried about the future of our small shop and the health of our community.
With small businesses closing one after another, we knew that our future success was in limbo. But over the past two months of being open you have shown us so much support by shopping with us. We have been able to slowly increase our hours and bring back our full staff, and that is because of you!
So, we wanted to say a deep heartfelt Thank You!
We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and happy!
Drinking sophisticated beer in a fancy glass is a normal thing these days. You can get a dry hopped lager in a thistle, or florally double IPA in a tulip pint, at most bars. Drinking beer has come a long way from its start in the 5th millennium BC in Iran, where it was being passed around in a bowl, sipped out of reed straws.
That style of drinking beer won’t be having a comeback anytime soon. There is one ancient style of beer drinking that could use a comeback, especially with the COVID-19 virus taking hold, the Stein!
The Stein is an iconic German beer mug that has been around for centuries. In German, the word “Stein” does not mean beer mug, like most of us figured it would; it actually means stone. It has this name because the original mug was made from stoneware, which is a type of ceramic that has been baked at high temperatures.
Steins can also be found made of pewter, porcelain, silver, glass and sometimes wood. The ones you’ll find today are usually some kind of ceramic stoneware. These mugs are topped with a hinged, metal (usually pewter) lid with a thumb lever. The lids usually have a conical shape and are sometimes engraved or designed. The Steins usually come in half liter or full liter.
They can be decorated, historically they might have a coat of arms, or a specific design to indicate a family or beer hall. Today they are mostly just decorative without any deeper meaning, although some beer halls and bars have ones made specific to their brand.
The lid of the stein is what sets this beer drinking vessel apart, and for a good reason. The historical significance of the lid dates back to the 14th century, in Germany where the Black Plague had been wreaking havoc all over Europe, killing tens of millions of people. After the plague had taken its course, Germany and most of Europe was infested with flies and deadly swarms of mosquitoes.
As a way to try and keep illness at bay, many laws and decrees were implemented in Germany to help with basic hygiene. One of them was that all food containers had to be covered, to keep flies and other bacteria out. This was when the iconic beer Stein mug was created.
This covered mug grew in popularity due to its necessity. Variations of the mug were made, the rich had ones made to show off their wealth, while the poor people had to get creative with the materials at hand.
For a while felt was being used as both a lid and a coaster. This was a terrible idea, the felt retained moisture becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
As necessity waned the lid stuck around because drinkers noticed that the lid kept their beer cold, preserving its freshness and flavor. These days the only place you’ll find people drinking out of steins will be at a German style bar hall.
Patrons can purchase a stein that will be kept at the bar for their own personal use. Many people like collecting steins from their travels, you can find many souvenir steins that are specific to certain bars or places.
You can also find steins at Nostalgia! They might come in handy as this virus carries on! Come get yours today!
Dear Nostalgia Customers,
From the owners, vendors, and shop clerks we want to offer our most humble thanks to everyone who shopped with us in 2019. We work hard year-round to bring our shoppers an ever-revolving selection of unique, precious, strange and curious items. Many of us are passionate about the hunt and truly enjoy what we do, it means so much to us when you shop at Nostalgia. There are over 200 different vendors that sell in the store, most of us are local Rhode Islanders who live in your community. Supporting us helps us support other small local shops and businesses, it is a beautiful cycle of exchange.
In 2019, together we have saved 42,000 items from ending up in a landfill. That’s amazing, thank you! That’s also 42,000 wonderful gifts, pieces of nostalgia, and keepsakes that are being shared, loved and used. Another beautiful cycle of exchange. When you step back and look at your personal impact on the community and the environment, shopping at Nostalgia, (and other small businesses) you can see the sustainable cycle of a community coming together and supporting each other.
Nostalgia is heading into its seventh year in business and we’ve grown so much since then. Mike and Ren first opened Nostalgia in 2013 with only a few vendors. Over the years many vendors have come and gone. But one decided to stick around, Jim, who took over the store two years ago has continued to improve on the space. Nostalgia is now filled to brim with delightful curiosities. Check out these before and after photos to see how much we’ve grown.
We are looking forward to 2020 being another great year! We will be doing updates throughout the store to make the shopping experience more enjoyable. Here are our most recent updates to our gallery area.
We made more space for more vendors! We’ve added more clothing racks, which means more great vintage clothing finds.
We were recognized in 2018 by Better Homes & Gardens as the best thrift shop in Rhode Island and we hope to continue to live up to that honor! Thank you for your continuous support, the wonderful reviews, check-ins, social media shares and the good old fashion word of mouth recommendations!
Flannel shirts are part of the iconic image of the American lumberjack and have been an American fashion staple since the mid-century. The plaid flannel shirts place in American culture is only a small part of its long history. The flannel shirt, as we know it, became popular in Scotland and England in the early 1800s.
But the flannel, the fabric, has been around since the 17th century. It was woven by the wives of Welsh farmers, who had been spinning wool yarn for centuries and eventually found that if you brush the wool on both sides it becomes much sturdier. This created a thicker more industrious fabric. It was durable and insulating, while still being soft and comfortable. Perfect for wet, cold, and windy climates.
The addition of the horizontal and crisscrossed bands done in multiple colors were originally added to represent the weaver’s region, and these patterns were call Tartans. Tartans have ancient origins, the oldest being from the 6th century B.C. found in Austria, belonging to a Celtic culture. Tartan pants were also found on ancient Chinese mummies from a similar period during the Iron Age. These textiles were simple checked patterns using light and dark wool, but very distinctive and usually worn by higher-society.
The more intricate spacing and patterns of the bands and the defined color choices first popped up in 16th century Scotland. Tartans became so popular they were once outlawed and only used for military uniforms and royalty. The tradition of associating a tartan pattern to a family or clan became popular in the 17th century.
The High Society of London wanted the heads of each clan to be honorably represented by a specific tartan pattern. These tartans would then be authenticated and recorded. This tradition carried on and became very popular, almost all Scottish clans now have several tartans attributed to their names. Now it’s possible for anyone to register a tartan to their name through The Scottish Register of Tartans.
So how did the tartan/plaid flannel shirt become this American symbol of resilience, strength and masculinity? Well the same way the country kind of did, through the Industrial Revolution. The country was growing at a rapid pace, forests were being cleared for cities, train tracks were being run to connect the coasts and the men working these grim jobs needed clothing that would hold up.
Everything from coats, shirts, pants and underwear were made from flannel. Flannel clothing would hold up against harsh weather and arduous work. The gritty images of railroad workers and lumberjacks in plaid flannel shirts working on these massive projects were popularized through the media and became synonymous with the American prospector.
In the mid twentieth century, the popular folk lore character Paul Bunyan brought the flannel shirt back into fashion. He is the symbol of the great American frontiersman, the American dream of the previous generation. Paul Bunyan was extremely popular with kids, but also adults, so this made the flannel shirt well-liked by everyone.
The flannel shirt remained a wholesome fashion choice for much of the century. It was in the 1990s with bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam that the representation of the plaid shirt got completely flipped around. Grunge culture took the flannel shirt ripped it up, burned it and tied it around their waist. The cultures rejection of the previous generations American ideal was clear in the way they treated the flannel shirt.
Now you’ll find a plaid flannel shirts everywhere, it has sort of shed its culturally distinctive nature. It doesn’t belong to one specific group or represent certain ideals, it is almost as common and universal as a white t-shirt, anyone can wear it and feel comfortable.
We always have a rotating variety of vintage flannel shirts in the shop, come find one that speaks to you!