Back when I was a teenager in the 80’s, I was exploring an abandoned home in Indiana with my boyfriend (ugh, yes it was a long time ago and my parents were ok with it). Who knows when this house had been last inhabited, yet we thought this was quite the adventure. I found the most exciting, amazing, and beautiful bowl that was Carnival Glass. (I didn’t know at the time.) This bowl changed my life. kept this bowl for years, traveling from Illinois to California (many changes of addresses), and finally to Oklahoma. I always kept this bowl in a safe place.
Many years after obtaining this bowl, I realized my Mom had a beautiful bowl that had the same beautiful iridescent colors. This bowl was full of color, patterns, and character. Mom knew my love of the bowl that she gave me her carnival glass bowl. So here comes the history that makes it so special …….
I never thought about how “Carnival” glass had something to do with actual carnivals but the name reflected the true history. In the 50’s, the beautiful glassware was given as prizes at carnivals, and at the fairgrounds. The plan was to provide product through the Carnival with hope of future orders. Carnival glass has been known by many other names such as aurora, dope, rainbow, and taffeta glass. The Tiffany Company made fine, blown glass that was copied by makers to emulate their style calling it the ‘poor man’s Tiffany’ which included Carnival Glass.
As time went on, the carnival glass became a collectible item. In the early days, the pieces may have markings or not. The Fenton company was a modern producer of Carnival glass which is marked. The newer generations of Carnival Glass has markings and signatures while the old versions do no always have any marking. Because of the lack of markings, it leads to confusion as to the date and maker of the piece. When considering the color of carnival glass, there was over fifty different colors that were classified.
In the 20th century, Carnival glass was being produced in many country and obtaining success. The height of production was in the 20’s but continued to grow and change with the times.
Carnival glass will always have it’s special place for collector’s and regardless of the value, it’s beautiful colors make it a favorite. I know my pieces will stay with me and passed down to my daughter’s to enjoy. Cheers!!