Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Got Milk-Glass?

A collection of milk glass at a flea market—waiting for a good home.

In the mid 1800’s milk glass was used as an inexpensive alternative to porcelain, and by the early 1900’s it was used to make everything from jars to candlelabras. In addition to white, factories began to produce shades of milky blues, shell pinks, soft greens and other non white variations. Martha Stewart helped revive the interest of milk glass in the 1990's, especially the shades of green. Almost everyone's grandmother had at least one piece of Westmoreland or Fenton milk glass somewhere in their homes. Fenton is one of the few art glass factories still in production. Mr. Peacock toured the Fenton glass factory as a child, during a summer road trip. Milk glass production has waned significantly in the past few decades, with a very small amount still in production.

Here’s a few of Mr. Peacock’s favorite milk glass pieces:

Mr. Peacock frequently uses these very inexpensive vintage Ivy Vases by Westmoreland. You can find some of your own here.

The Westmoreland Ivy Vases could have inspired these amazing Klein Reid porcelain vases, which are at the top of Mr. Peacock's wishlist.

I like to fill the Ivy Vases with arrangements of flowers and feathers. I think they look like “flat-topped” stylized pineapples when they're flipped upside down. I’ll use them like this as candlestick holders. My mom would always mail me boxes of these square black tapered candles.

I like the sculptural "ziggurat" quality of this hobnail ashtray set. You can browse for your own set here.

When I make Indian food, I fill the “ashtrays” with condiments and place a porcelain spoon on each dish. You can buy similar spoons here or here.

Mr. Peacock's milk glass owl toothpick holder could be another worthy candidate for my neighborhood Owl Shrine. There's actually one on eBay right now, click here.

You can find interesting milk glass pieces at surprisingly inexpensive prices at flea markets, rummage sales and eBay. Hardcore collectors can still find Victorian pieces priced anywhere from $200-$2000+. I especially like the milk glass hob nail pieces (a pattern of raised knobs like hobnail studs) and the unusual pieces of stylized milk glass animals. When you’re shopping for milk glass be sure to carefully check for hairline cracks, messy seams (from the mold used), and any other peculiar fissures on the glass. I always hand wash my pieces too. Happy hunting!

6 comments:

Paul Pincus said...

i've always found milk glass to be very beautiful.

btw ... derek jarman (brilliant post!) and milk glass! i love it : )

-p.p.

xstatikgrrl said...

My grandparents had a set of ashtrays like yours. When I was little, i turned them upside-down and stacked them to make a wedding cake.

Scott Fazzini said...

I've said it before, but it bares saying again. You, Mr. P, have style in spades! Thanks for another great post!

tula said...

oh no! i just clicked over to bid on the owl toothpick holder and it appears the bidding has ended. sigh!

Mr. Peacock said...

Thanks everyone!
Keep your eyes peeled
for milk glass treasures!

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